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The Benefits of PPC A/B Testing and How it Works

The Benefits of PPC A/B Testing and How it Works | Ready Ads

You’ve been told you need to start running split tests or A/B testing on your PPC campaigns. Sounds…technical.

So what is A/B testing and how does it work? 

Here is a brief overview: 

The History of A/B Testing

If you think A/B testing is some new fancy Google PPC-specific technology – you would be wrong. 

The history of A/B testing goes WAY back to the 1920s when statistician and biologist Ronald Fisher discovered and established the most important principles and mechanics of A/B testing. 

Fisher used the unique experimentation method to run agricultural experiments and answer questions like, “What happens if I put more fertilizer on this land vs less?” 

Though A/B testing at its core did pre-date Fisher, through his methods, he was the first to standardize it, turning it from a loosely followed practice into a measurable science.

Already big supporters of focus groups and other testing methods, by the 1960s and 1970s, advertisers adapted A/B testing so they could better evaluate the success of direct mail campaigns. (e.g. Would a letter or a postcard be more effective in getting client results?) As advertising methods continued to expand, so did the use of A/B testing. 

Now, A/B testing has made its way into digital advertising, with Google Ads and other PPC platforms integrating the unique testing method into their technology. 

So What is A/B Testing Exactly?

The Benefits of PPC A/B Testing and How it Works | Ready Ads

A/B testing (or split testing) is the comparison of multiple variables of an advertisement to figure out the more effective version. 

For instance, do more people respond to an ad if your call to action says, “Call Now,” or do you get more clicks when you say, “Start a Free Trial”? 

Or does your target audience respond better when the ad says you are local, or when you emphasize the quality of your products? 

A/B testing is how you find out. 

A/B Testing Improves Long-term Results

By utilizing A/B testing to constantly improve your PPC campaigns, you can decrease your overall cost-per-lead and cost-per-clicks and increase your conversion volume and ROI. 

It is the best way to identify and locate pain points within a campaign and identify opportunities for growth. 

So What Are You Testing With A/B Testing?

With A/B testing, you can test several aspects of your campaigns, including (but not limited to): 

  • Creative – Which headlines, body copy, and imagery are most effective? 
  • Keywords – What keywords are getting the attention of the audiences you are trying to attract – and which keywords are getting the best ROI?
  • Call-to-Action – Which CTA wording works better? (E.g. Are better results achieved when we offer free estimates or when you give a demo?)  
  • Promotions – Do certain promotions work better than others? (E.g. Is a 20% discount a good way to attract audiences? Or does free shipping get more results?) 
  • Credibility Elements – Which credibility elements resonate with your target audience? (E.g. Is it more persuasive to emphasize your certifications or is it better to emphasize customer reviews?) 
  • Landing Pages – Which landing page elements are most effective in converting? 
  • Target Audiences – If you are converting, are you converting the right audiences? Does changing certain elements attract the demographic you want to target better? 
  • Extensions and Callouts – Which extensions and callouts improve performance? 
  • Overall Strategy – A/B tests are also a good opportunity to test out bidding strategies and other more strategic PPC elements. 

A/B Testing Tactics and Best Practices 

Now that you know WHAT you are testing, another important question is HOW are you testing it? And what exactly are you looking for? 

  • Watching & Measuring Important Metrics – In split tests, you can keep an eye on valuable data like engagement rates, link clicks, exit rates, form completions, clicks, total engagements, demographics, locations, etc. and use these elements to optimize your campaigns. 
  • Testing One Element at a Time – It’s important to remember that you can’t test all these elements at once. Only one element should be tested per split test so you can home in on what is working – and what isn’t. 
  • Testing Over Time – Just as testing too many elements at once is detrimental, so is reaching conclusions too early. A/B tests have to run their course so you can make more informed decisions.
  • Continuously Testing – Audience motivations change, as do Google’s algorithms and tactics. Because of this, it’s important to continuously test and optimize to ensure you are getting the best ROI and not missing out on potential business. 

How Is Success vs. Failure Determined? 

The Benefits of PPC A/B Testing and How it Works | Ready Ads

The strongest factors in determining whether one test is a success and the other is a failure depends on the goals of the campaign, impression volume, qualified leads, cost-per-lead, and which elements lead to the strongest value for each specific client. 

By methodically A/B testing all of your PPC ad components, your company will gain a considerable advantage over competitors who lack the budget, patience, expertise, and time. 

Ready Ads Uses A/B Testing to Help You Grow  

At Ready Ads, we implement A/B testing into every brand’s PPC strategy, utilizing it to improve lead quality and maximize ROI with 100% trackable results – no annual contract required. 

Give us a try and see why enterprise level clients have been coming to us for over 20 years. 

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