Split-testing in Google Ads is a very powerful evaluation method to determine which ad campaigns have the most potential to convert the audience and deliver the maximum ROI (return on investment).
We have helped various Australian businesses in their Google Ads campaign in our 12 years of history and based on our experience, implementing proper split-testing is one of the most important keys to success in Google Ads.
In this guide, we will discuss all you need to know about split testing on Google Ads and how to implement it in your Google Ads campaign.
What Actually is Split Testing
In a nutshell, (A/B) split testing is about displaying two different versions of ads to the same audience: one ad is shown half the time, and a different ad the other time. This way, we can determine which ad variant performs better with a higher CTR (click-through rate).
In Google Ads, an ad campaign can contain one or more adgroups, and each of these can target one or more keywords. When one of the keywords in this particular ad group is triggered by a user’s search query, then Google will show one of the ads from this ad group.
When we have two or more ads in the ad group, we can set up our campaign so it can alternate between these ads so they are displayed roughly similar number of times to the same audience.
When we do this for a while (for instance, a month or three months), we can collect enough data to compare the CTR (click-through rate) of the two different (or more) advertising campaigns and compare their performances. In specifically an eCommerce setting, we can also test which ad can contribute better to sales conversions on the eCommerce site.
The main idea is so that we can keep the better ad running and then revise or eliminate the “losing” one. While we can’t ever get a perfect ad design and copy, continuously performing split-testing can allow us to get closer and closer.
Best Practices of Google Ads Split Testing
Based on our experience, here are the five best practices in implementing split testing in Google Ads:
- Test one factor/aspect/element at a time. For example, test only the ads’ copywriting and not test both the design and copy. This way you can properly determine which factor has driven changes in results.
- Focus on a metric you want to improve: If you want to improve CTR, for example, then your test should be based on CTR.
- Test over and over again until you get a satisfactory result: That is until you’ve reached a level of statistical significance that is (almost) conclusive.
- Test at the most granular account level possible. Make sure you can manage your account properly with all the campaigns and tests.
- Always be testing. You’ll never get a perfect ad copy and design. Your market is dynamic and always evolving, and so you should always split-test all the possible elements.
Implementing Google Ads Split-Testing in eCommerce
Below, we will discuss some specific techniques you can use in implementing split-testing for eCommerce.
Focus on Search Intent Instead of Solely Demographics and Psychographics
It’s a very common mistake for PPC marketers (including Google Ads marketers) to put too much attention in targeting the audience based on demographics and psychographic data. Yes, targeting via demographics is very important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing to emphasize when performing your split-testing.
Instead, focus your split-testing to figure out why a prospect is typing the search query in the first place: their search intent. For example, there are various kinds of people who might search for “Apple iPhone”. It can be someone who is getting their first iPhone, it can be someone just looking for information (and don’t have the budget to buy it), and it can be a long-time Apple user.
You can, for example, create different types of ads to target these different intents and figure out which of these groups actually click on your ad and make the purchase.
Experiment With Various CTA Copy Via Split Testing
Words that can trigger the audience’s emotion tend to be the most effective in driving prospects to purchase, especially in a B2C environment. If you can communicate these trigger words to inspire your prospect to take immediate action, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your CTA campaign.
In practice, using trigger words like “get”, “now”, “save” and “results” instead of just “buy now” in your CTA copy tends to be much more effective. The idea of using split testing here is to test which trigger words can perform better in your ad campaign for your target audience.
Don’t Underestimate The Smallest Changes, Test Everything
Yes, you should start split-testing by testing two significantly different ad copy or ad design. This can provide a bird’s eye view into the type of content that can better appeal to your target audience. However, as you get more comfortable with the split testing implementations, you should test smaller and smaller differences.
For example, you can test two Google Ads copy with the same heading and design but change only a few words in the second alternative. There is actually a possibility that one will perform much better than the other. Figure out what changes you can make to your existing ad copy/design, and test these small changes.
In short, don’t be afraid to test all the different elements of your ad, even the smallest and seemingly unimportant ones. Split testing is fairly affordable, and if you can increase even a fraction of your conversion rates with it, it’s going to be a big win in the long-run.
Google Ads and PPC advertising in general, remains one of the most effective digital marketing campaigns for eCommerce businesses, but that is if you can target the right people with the right message with your Google Ads.
Split-testing your Google Ads campaign can ensure that your ad campaigns have the best possible content to attract and convert your target audience, and is a very powerful way to gain customer insights.
Here at, Altitude Media, we have 12 years of experience in helping many Australian eCommerce businesses to achieve success with Google ads and PPC campaigns.
Want your ROI with Gads to head north? Get in touch today.