20 Mar 2012

Optimizing and Testing PPC Ad Copy

March 20, 2012PPC Advertising

If you ask the average AdWords user how often they are testing their campaigns, “not enough” is likely the answer that you’ll receive. Running frequent performance tests is necessary in order to build successful campaigns, however it can be difficult to find the time and focus needed to administer them correctly. By following some simple rules, you can save yourself time and money in the optimization process, and also set yourself up to obtain valuable feedback for future campaigns.
First of all, even though it may seem daunting, you should be running tests often. The number will vary depending on the amount of campaigns that you’re running simultaneously, but some successful companies boast that they administer tests around 30 times per month. Although this may not be the ideal target number for you, it should be comforting to know that there happen to be other business owners who manage to prepare and run a new test for every day of the month.
Chances are, you have several other responsibilities to your business in addition to working on ad optimization, but this should never fall to the wayside. Develop a plan to test ads regularly and effectively in order to achieve the ad optimization that you deserve. For starters, make sure that you are testing ads that will provide enough feedback to draw valid conclusions. It may seem silly to point this out, but testing on high traffic ads will save you time and effort. You’ll be able to obtain a large and varied test sample much more quickly than if you are working from an ad group that has a lower traffic volume. From here, you can decipher the things about these ads that are and are not working, and you can make changes accordingly across this and other similar campaigns.
Once you have determined your test sample there are several key factors to examine. For one, make sure that you are presenting an enticing headline. The message should be eye-catching and relevant. This is your first opportunity to grab the audience’s attention, so make it snappy. If you feel that your headlines are not working at the highest level possible try simply rearranging the order or words to increase clickthrough rates. An ad for a site that offers special offers on restaurants in your area may benefit more from a headline like “Free Restaurant Deals” rather than “50% Off Restaurants”. Test different headlines to see which message snags the most new customers.
Try highlighting different offers. “Free Shipping” may be more interesting than “Buy One Get One Shoes” during certain sales cycles. By switching it up you are giving yourself the opportunity to present to different customers, as well as see which offers are most effective overall.
In most industries it is more exciting for customers to see the effects of a product in the ad rather than a description of the actual product. For example “Lose Weight Now” is probably more effective than “Weight Loss Shake” because the headline is outlining the benefits of the product for the customer rather than just physically describing it. They immediately know what your product can provide, which then increases its appeal. Try using a variety of these kinds of headlines to attract people who already have a strong desire for your product or service. They have a need and you present your position to fulfill that need. It’s the foundation of sales, and it’s how you will acquire new business.
Including a powerful call to action naturally goes hand in hand with the aforementioned rule. You should always find opportunities to create a sense of urgency so people feel compelled to visit your site immediately upon reading your ad. Phrases like “limited time” or “today only” can definitely assist in gaining new conversions.
You can test keywords during your quest for optimization as well, but you’ll need to be cautious. In order to secure the validity of your test results make sure that the keywords in your ad text match the keywords on the actual landing pages to which the customer is redirected. If you are running tests using any of the other facts that we have touched on above, than you will also need to be aware of how these could potentially conflict with the keyword portion of your results. The last thing you want to do is run an in-depth series of tests only to realize that the keyword is no longer relevant, and your information is therefore inconclusive.
Getting started is always the hardest part of starting a new testing phase. Once you get the ball rolling, the rest can be a breeze. You’ll quickly get an idea of what works without having to spend too much time and money completely revising your campaign down the road. Just remember to be aware of any changes you make along the way and be sure to revise your process accordingly.