Running an AdWords campaign – or a PPC campaign on any other advertising platform – involves more than simply creating your ads and letting the conversions rack up. Rather, it involves constant maintenance, analysis and testing in order to increase the amount of conversions you can generate and improve your ROI.
PPC specialists have a number of PPC conversion testing tools at their disposal to assist them with running successful PPC campaigns for their clients. Here are a few of the most important tools they use when running AdWords campaigns.
AdWords Campaign Experiments
AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) is one of the main PPC conversion testing tools available in AdWords. It allows you to make changes to various aspects of your PPC campaign and then designate a percentage that you want this change to apply to in order to produce two splits: the experimental split and the control split.
Using these two splits you can compare statistics for both the experimental and control traffic, allowing you to see how the changes that you are applying to your keywords, ad groups, placements and bids affect the performance of your campaign.
ACE allows you to test various features depending on whether your ads appear in the search network or the display network. Following are a few of the features you can experiment with in each.
In the search network, two of the most important aspects that you will want to test are your keywords and bids.
ACE allows you to add or delete specific keywords to your campaign so that you can see how this affects its performance, which is ideal for finding the most profitable keywords and dropping those that aren’t as profitable.
You can also experiment with the CPC bids of your keywords by increasing or decreasing their maximum CPCs and split testing the changes to see if this affects the conversion rate for particular keyword bids.
On the search network, you can also change aspects of the ads themselves, including headlines, display URLs, images and calls to action. ACE is a useful PPC conversion testing tool because it gives you accurate statistics on how specific changes to your ads directly affect their performance.
Other factors that you can experiment with in the search network include new ad groups, keyword match types where you can test the performance of various match types within an ad group, ad group default bids and keyword insertion.
In the display network, one of the most useful experiments is to alter your bids on managed placements, whether CPC or CPM bids, in order to see whether these changes improve the performance of your ads. You can also experiment with additional placements where you can specify different websites for your ads to appear and then get rid of placements which are performing badly.
On top of these, you can also experiment with: additional keywords for your groups; new text ads, display ads or ad groups; ad group default bids where you can alter the maximum CPC, CPM or CPA bids; remarketing to increase your brand exposure; and site exclusions where you specify sites where you do not want your ads to appear which helps you control your targeting.
Google Website Optimiser
Whereas ACE is used to make changes to your actual ads to increase conversions, Google Website Optimiser plays an important role in the PPC conversion testing process by allowing you to optimise the traffic that arrives on your site to maximise conversions.
A conversion can come in the form of buying a product, signing up to a newsletter or filling out a contact form – essentially, any action that is of value to the company. A conversion’s worth varies from company to company, so it’s up to you to decide upon an appropriate cost per conversion and use this as your goal by which you can measure the success of your campaign.
Different features on your website will affect the amount of conversions you get from your traffic. Google Website Optimiser allows you to test variations of different features such as the headline, large images and the call to action, through two different types of test: A/B split testing and multivariate testing.
A/B split testing is where you compare the performance of completely different versions of a page, and is good to use when you want to change the whole look of a page to diagnose what’s going wrong and work out how you can improve it.
Multivariate testing is used to compare the performance of different content and design features in various locations on the page. This is a better option when you want to experiment with changes to different parts of the page at the same time. For example, you could try out three different headlines and then see how each of these performs and which leads to the most conversions.
This makes Google Website Optimiser an excellent tool for increasing conversion rates and ROI, as well as retaining more customers.
Google Analytics is a set of tools that allows you to use the statistics that AdWords and other advertising platforms provide in order to optimise your campaign to increase conversions. As such, it plays a very important role in the PPC conversion testing process.
One of the factors involved in maximising your conversions is knowing where different conversions are coming from, whether AdWords or other PPC platforms as well as search engines, affiliates or social media platforms, and Analytics provides you with detailed statistics on this.
It can also provide you with detailed information on how your PPC campaigns are performing, as well as details of separate keywords and ad groups, helping you to make informed decisions when buying your keywords.
Part of the aim when using Analytics is to improve the content optimisation of your website, and the reports that it generates can be used to create better landing pages through integrating the correct keywords and ads.
You can also optimise the steps that a visitor can take on the way to making a conversion through funnel and navigation reports. These allow you to see what percentage of visitors who start the checkout proces asctually finish each step, as well as where visitors who drop out of the funnel process actually go. You can then use this information to change various factors that get in the way of conversions.
Use the PPC Conversion Testing Tools Available
All of these PPC conversion testing tools can be used to optimise your PPC campaigns and increase your conversion rates. But with all of these various testing methods, it is essential that you utilise them on a regular basis. Doing a one-off test once in a while will not help you very much at all with your campaign. But if you turn this into a regular practice, you will constantly be able to change and improve upon the success of your PPC campaign.