Pay-per-click advertising provides excellent value for your money when it comes to marketing your brand and products. A restaurant, for instance, can increase its Yelp page views by more than 25% when it advertises on the site, according to a 2016 paper from the Harvard Business School.
The researchers, who analysed over 7,000 restaurants on the platform, found that ads increased the number of purchase intentions. Businesses with paid ads enjoyed an 18% increase in direction requests and a 13% uptick in calls from customers. And to prove that the favourable results did come from advertising, the paper showed that the effects of the ads dropped to zero immediately after the campaign stopped.
However, you can’t just put up ads of your business randomly on listing sites and search engines and expect favourable results. Just like any marketing method, a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign needs thorough research for it to be successful.
The Importance of Research in PPC
PPC management service providers study your company, its industry and audience to know which demographic to target, and create ad copies based on their personality and interests. These providers also do keyword research to find out which search terms your customers use to find your business and products, and they implement these on the ad copies.
The information they get from these efforts may be enough to increase site traffic and conversions. But if your PPC management specialists believe you can gain more conversions and traffic for a certain keyword, they may run an A/B test to prove their claim.
What is A/B Testing?
Also known as split testing, is a method that compares two versions of the same thing to find out which one gives the best results. Analytics professor Kaiser Fung stated in an interview with Harvard Business Review that this method is over a century old. It was perfected in the 1920s, and marketers started using it in the 1960s to test out their campaigns.
The only significant change that happened between A/B testing then and now was the scale. Back then, it took them a while to set up and run the tests for a large sample size because you had to do it all manually. Now, you can deploy a split test to a large number of people and get results in real-time.
How to Do Split Testing for PPC
A/B testing for PPC involves testing two versions of the same advertisement to see which one has the better clickthrough and conversion rates. But with so many different factors to consider, like the headline, copy, landing page and more, it may be overwhelming to decide which to test. Here’s how you can efficiently do split testing.
1. Set Your Goals
There are a lot of metrics that go into your pay-per-click ads. The first thing you need to do is to figure out which of those metrics you want to increase. Generally, you want to improve your click-through rate and conversion rate. They show how many customers click on your ads and how many of them are doing what you need them to do, like download your ebook, subscribe to your newsletter or take your products to checkout. On your first try, go with a single solid goal.
2. Identify What You Need to Change
Now that you have a set goal in mind, it’s time to choose which variable in your PPC ad to alter. This could be the headline, landing page, the copy itself, your call-to-action, targeting and URL. For social media PPC, you should also consider changing the image on your display ad. Like your goal, you should only choose one variable to change. Altering two or more of them will confuse you as to what exactly increases or decreases your conversion or click-through rate.
3. Think of Improvements
Now that you have a chosen variable to change, it’s time to think of ways to improve it. Let’s say you want to alter the copy itself. Maybe you want to use another value proposition for your ad. Instead of free shipping, you might want to highlight the buy-one-get-one deal you have for first purchases. You may also show how much customers will save on your products compared to competitors instead of solely talking about your items’ qualities.
It should only be one change, but it should also be significant enough to create different reactions from your customers. This way, you can truly find out if one ad performs better than the other.
4. Determine Your Minimum Amount
You want to get a lot of conversions and traffic to see any significance between your two advertisements truly. However, you don’t want to end up wasting your time and money on a test you dragged on for too long.
You should determine a minimum amount so you can stop your test when your worse-performing ad reaches that value. There’s no concrete way to figure this out yet, as it depends on how many A/B tests you’ve done. If it’s your first time, try setting it to 10 times your usual traffic amount. You’ll be able to see if it’s statistically significant or not when you deploy your ads.
5. Run Your Ads
Run the first ad like before and create and run a second ad with the changes. Deploy them as close together as possible so you can get accurate results. Wait until your worse-performing ad hits the minimum amount. Use an A/B testing calculator like the one Neil Patel provides to determine your conversion rate for each ad.
The tool will also show if your test was statistically significant. If it is, you can stop the test completely and review the results. If it isn’t, run it for another week or two. If it’s still not statistically significant after this, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and make broader changes to your copy.
Once you have a statistically significant result, you’ll be able to see which ad performs better. Not only should you continue using it, but you should also note the changes you made to apply it to your other ads as well. Write down the traffic that you got from the ad to use it as the minimum amount for your next A/B tests to see if it always provides a statistically significant outcome.
Digital marketing, especially pay-per-click advertising, walks the fine line between art and science. In A/B testing, your PPC management specialists pin your two creative ad ideas against each other to see which performs objectively better. When you do this regularly, you’ll have a definite idea of what makes your audience tick and create ads that are sure to get massive conversions.
Get Tried and Tested PPC Management Services
Paid ads are a surefire way to attract customers with high purchasing intent — when done correctly. Make sure to show the best of your brand with optimised landing pages. Opt to go for web services that will ensure that the traffic directed into your site through your PPC campaign will convert. Make sure to find a digital marketing agency where PPC specialists do extensive testing to make the most conversions out of your paid ads budget. PPC services include PPC ads optimisation, paid ads management and performance marketing. But, if you’re wondering about choosing between SEO and PPC, the general consensus is that both strategies complement each other and brings about a holistic digital marketing campaign. It will definitely help to ask advise from a professional digital marketing agency so that you can form a strategy that suits your business.
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