Why You Should A/B Test Your Google Ads

February 3, 2024

Why You Should A/B Test Your Google Ads | AIA Book in a free 30 minute strategy session

Google Ads is a great way to increase your sales, brand awareness or to boost a campaign, but it might take a bit of time before you get used to all the secrets of this tool.

A/B testing is one of the principles you should learn about from the very beginning, as it will allow you to spend your money wisely and find the right formula for your Google Ads in a reasonable amount of time, instead of having to deal with costly mistakes.


Why Do You Need A/B Testing for Your Google Ads?

Google Ads is a valuable feature from the giant’s suite, and Google has delivered another adaptable tool for beginners, as well as digital marketing experts alike. You don’t have to invest large sums of money into Google Ads to make a profit, especially if you’re a small business. That way, you can afford to experiment with it and gather more knowledge with each ad campaign.

We will go through different ways of A/B testing and the details to control it, depending on what you want to find out, your skill levels using Google Ads and what your budget is for your PPC campaigns.
The Difference Between Split Testing and A/B Testing

In many articles explaining how to use Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), the terms “split testing” and “A/B testing” are often used interchangeably, but there is an important distinction between them.

Split testing means creating two variants of a landing page for your Google Ads, hosting them on different URLs. One of the rules is having the same conversion rates for your landing pages. You then run a Google Ads campaign, redirecting a portion of your sample towards one variant, and the rest of the sample toward the other. Therefore, a particular user will only see one of the variants. The results of a split test will give you a clear idea of what’s your winning landing page variant, which you can use further in your A/B testing.

A/B testing your Google Ads involves changing the ad copy to create two or several ad variations, then run them simultaneously and leave them active until you achieve statistical significance, using the same sample to see what elements are the winners. Testing ad variations can be as simple as changing one single word in your copy, or it can be a complex analysis using multiple variables.

Let’s find out more about how to A/B test your Google Ads.
What Are You Testing For?
Before you run your first split test or go directly to A/B testing your ads, it’s important to establish what parameter you’re going to target. In other words, ask yourself what you want to achieve with your ad campaign.

Some of the reasons you are creating an ad campaign in the first place might be:

● Getting more newsletter subscribers;
● Increasing your sales;
● Increasing click-through rates for brand awareness;
● Exploring the best bidding strategy for your campaign.

Overall, it’s all about testing your search ads performance in a controlled environment where you can monitor how each parameter influences your conversion rates. You can start with very simple testing done on text ads, for instance, and gradually move on to ad groups and multileveled testing once you are confident in your know-how.
What Part of the Ad Will You Test?
So, you have established your purpose behind A/B testing your ad. Now what? Well, depending on that, you will experiment with certain variations to see which one will best increase conversions, improve your Quality Scores and essentially get you the closest to your goal.

Here are some insights related to the part of the ad you want to test. We have included some tips & tricks to give you an idea of how accessible A/B testing really is when knowing the basics.

Parts of the ad you can test:

1. Headline

When only about 20% of users click on a link after seeing the headline of content, you can bet it is worth testing. It also applies to Google ads, since the headline is one of the first things their eyes land on, especially with text ads.

When creating your headline variations, choose a similar structure (simple and strong works best with ads) and change the most impactful elements, like the keywords you can include from a previously researched shortlist.

2. Call to Action

A Google Ad can be very short, so you will face the challenge of saying as much as you can in as little words as possible. You start by telling users what you are offering and where they can find you, then you will try to convince them to click on the ad.

A perfect call to action phrase can be tough to choose since it has to entice, yet be very frank about what the user will actually get by clicking through.

3. Offer

When your ad includes an offer, it will be the central piece of information you will use. Your offers should not be established solely on your ability to give discounts or additional benefits to some of your users, but they should be actually considered attractive by them. Testing different offers, or the wording of the same offer, can identify major differences in how your ad is perceived.

4. Display URL

Since the URL of the landing page will show up in your ad’s copy, it’s also an important factor to consider when creating your ad’s variations. Changing something as small as the capitalisation inside your display URL can have an impact on your ad’s performance.

5. Description

This might be seen as the most important part of an ad copy, so a lot of business owners choose it as the variable element. Don’t overthink it, though: a Google ad is meant to be concise and short, so your description should meet the same requirements. Choosing the most impactful words can be made easier with A/B testing.

The variables above all have to do with the ad’s copy, but there are many other elements that can influence your ad’s performance: the landing page, ad extensions, keywords, and even device targeting. Learning more about how Google Ads work and what you can experiment within the platform is an invaluable resource when creating an ad campaign.

A/B testing your Google Ads follows simple principles and is easy to do with the built-in tools of the Google suite. Investing a reasonable amount of time in A/B testing will not only save you precious time, but it actually helps you pay your dividends and avoid spending your money on less effective ad variations.

You have the luxury of easily collecting all sorts of data about your audience, but this won’t suddenly make you a mind-reader. Launching an online ad campaign would be like shooting blanks without planning out some tests before it: you don’t have a way of knowing what words and images will bring you more users: theoretically, all variants sound good, right?

This is what A/B testing is for, and it’s simply profitable to use it. We at Australian Internet Advertising are running A/B tests as a part of every search ads campaigns we do, either for us or our clients, and we are more than delighted to share our know-how with those of you who are interested in increasing your conversion rates.

Billy P.

About The Author

William Polson founded Australian Internet Advertising in 2013 and has over 12 years of experience immersed in Digital Marketing.

With an in-depth level of digital marketing knowledge, William has been sort after by and worked for, many large national brands including Subaru, Blooms The Chemist, and Nova 96.9.

Book in a free 30 minute strategy session
Google Reviews Icon