Testing in Paid Search Campaigns

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In paid search, some campaigns deliver desirable results right off the bat. Others need a little more work. Here, we look at the benefits of testing PPC campaigns, and the variables advertisers commonly choose to focus their tests on.

Some paid search campaigns work efficiently from the outset – attracting plenty of clicks and conversions from day one, and providing a cost-effective marketing method for advertisers.

However, no two campaigns are the same. There are those that require a little more work to yield the desired results. They require greater scrutiny to ensure that they’re performing at the maximum efficiency level, and providing the results you want to achieve from the budget you’ve allocated.

Testing is one of the most effective ways to optimise campaigns.

Through a set of tests it’s possible to assess the various merits of the variables concerned. The results could significantly inform other digital marketing activities, as well as PPC marketing.

Many PPC services – like Google AdWords, for example – make it relatively straightforward for advertisers to undertake some degree of testing.

By allowing advertisers to upload their ads with different texts and having them served on a rotational basis, they can work out which of their ads perform best, and whether clicks or conversions are considered to be the main goals of campaigns.

Because of the sheer volume and depth of information that is collected and stored about the way that searchers interact with campaigns, it is possible to mine the data and test almost any aspect of an account's performance.

A/B testing, for example, is usually a simple way to ascertain which of a number of variables produces the best results.

It can be best to start with the most noticeable elements of a campaign, such as landing pages, which can be easily interchanged with one another and can yield some of the most dramatic results.

Whilst some businesses direct all traffic to their homepage, more targeted campaigns take visitors to individual product or category pages that help them find exactly what they want in the fewest clicks.

Specially created landing pages can also prove effective, collecting products which might otherwise not appear together on a page and using criteria which advertisers know their customers will search for – i.e. price, availability or colour.

It’s even possible to use search engine marketing to introduce and test new elements of your website if you’re looking to implement a new site-wide strategy.

For example, if you are considering a redesign of your homepage, you can send half your visitors to a new design and half to your existing homepage to see whether your changes yield better results.

Via this method it’s possible to test as many different variables as you like - from smaller, subtler changes, such as font size or number of images, to larger, more drastically noticeable changes, such as a complete redesign or even the inclusion of new product lines or links to other sites.

Because you can drive visitors who come via your PPC campaigns to whichever pages you want to test, you can ensure that the changes you make are viewed.

Using analytics in conjunction with PPC can help you gain some real insight into the way your visitors interact with your site too.

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