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6 Simple Steps to Boost PPC Results with A/B Testing

Enhancing Your AdWords Campaign With These Tips and Tricks


It happens time and time again: a company thinks they have a solid PPC campaign that has been providing conversions thanks to the perfect combination of audience targeting, click price, and engaging content. Then all of a sudden, you begin to see a drop in conversion and an increase in price with no fluctuation in traffic. So what to do next? Instead of scrapping the entire campaign and starting from scratch, try an A/B test first.

What is an A/B Test?

A/B testing is a term that can be used to describe a tried and true method of comparison. This process is also known as split testing and essentially allows you to compare your current site’s success to a variation of the site to test the rate of improvement, if any. In some cases, you can change something as minor as a headline or link, where in other cases you can test a whole redesign of your page.

The test works by showing half of the traffic that visits your site the original version, aka the control site. The other half is shown the modified site, aka the variation. Essentially, it allows you to research the potential changes you want to make to your site to determine whether it will increase traffic and boost your PPC campaign.

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Running an A/B Test for PPC Campaigns

Performing this test is highly recommended before making changes to your PPC management. It allows you to not only research how successful your proposed changes will be, but also to get a better understanding of how your content works. Pay attention to what you really want to achieve and set out to find it. Don’t be afraid to run the test with different changes to really find what gets you the results you are looking for.

1. Pick Your Metrics

Before you can run the actual tests, you need to take the time to do some research and planning to determine what you want to measure, what your ultimate goal is, and what changes you want to make to achieve that. You can measure the success rate of your campaign using a number of metrics. Because each client’s immediate needs may vary, there is no right or wrong way to test your site. Instead, focus on what you wish to see boosted for your company’s benefit. Here are some of the things you can test:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Cost-per-conversion
  • Conversion rate
  • Cost-per-action (CPA)
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)

2. Declare The Changes You Are Testing

Whenever you are performing an experiment or research project of any kind, you should begin with a hypothesis that you will be testing. In this case, you will be asking the question of whether the changes made will positively benefit your site. CEO and Founder of WiderFunnel and Author of “You Should Test That”, Chris Goward, created a structure that many people find is simple and easy to follow:

Changing [the thing you want to change] into [what you would change it into] will lift the conversion rate for [your conversion goal].”

For example, changing the wording from “connect” to “contact” in my call-to-action will life the conversion rate for my CPC. Experiment with different changes in wording and even images. Naturally, you will probably have multiple ideas of what can be tested. In order to really make the most out of your A/B tests, you should prioritize what has the greatest possibility of giving your campaign the highest performance increase.

3. Decide the Sample Size to Be Tested

Before you can run your A/B test, you will need to decide upon the number of samples that will be ran before the results can be generated. Typically, you will base this on the current numbers you are already receiving. There are many resources available to help you generate the ideal sample size, such as this one.

To achieve the best results, you always should let the A/B test run until it reaches the amount of pre-set conversions or traffic before you analyze your results. It is also recommended that you run the test for up to 2 business cycles (typically 5 per cycle) so it can record all the factors that need to be considered to make a proper judgment. You can also increase your statistical probability to 90% or 95%. The standard is usually 80% but increasing it helps you to refine the results.

4. Create the Variations

Whether you are in charge of making the backend changes to your site or you are working with a third-party company, you will need to make the appropriate changes to your site in order to be measured. You can do this using an A/B testing software or through the help of a third-party web development agency, such as Clicc Media Inc.

5. Run the Test

Once you have developed your ideas and drafted your variation, it is time to put them to the test. In order to have analytics to base it against, you will need to pull information from the same statistics you will be testing from your site as it is currently. From there, you can implement A/B testing which will run the original page and the variations simultaneously. This allows you to get unbiased results in the event of a random influx of traffic due to a high-traffic day, event, or time.

Remember not to stop the test until your test subject reaches the sample size you decided for it. Once it reaches that number, you can pause the test. However, this does not necessarily mean you are done.

6. Analyze Your Results

Once you have gone through and run your A/B test, it is time for the decisive moment: evaluating the results. Before you terminate your test completely, be sure that the statistic level is where you want. It correlates to the amount of confidence level towards the results. Finally, you’ll want to compare your results to how your site was doing before you ran the test. If you are satisfied with the improvement, you have just successfully run an A/B testing campaign.

Trust Your Testing to the Experts

Sound like a lot of work? Don’t be scared! Even if you can’t take on running an A/B test, it doesn’t mean your website should suffer. Instead, turn to a team like ours who can offer your business SEO, content marketing, and web design services to help you stay ahead of the competition. Put your energy into the areas of your company that need it the most and leave the campaign management to us.

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