- by Rob
PPC testing – survival of the fittest
It’s a new year, you are feeling refreshed after a holiday break and you are (hopefully!) filled with enthusiasm for optimising your paid advertising accounts to get 2017 off to a great start. No doubt you will spend a lot of time in your Google and Bing interfaces optimising keywords, bids, and ad copy, but like a new fitness training resolution, you are more likely to stick with your goals long term (and see better results) if you create a plan and track your progress against goals.
The testing lifecycle
The bedrock of any successful PPC campaign. A paid search campaign should be continually in a cycle of testing, whether that is for bids, ad copy or landing pages. Test, determine a winner and then test that successful version against a new contender. The cycle will continue until you hopefully have the one version to rule them all and beat all newcomers.
However testing can easily peter out after a few cycles without a proper plan. It is easy for other business needs and stresses to limit your available time and it is common for tests to slow down or stop entirely after a few tests have been run. It can be a struggle to think of new test ideas under pressure and if you haven’t been recording results, it is hard to determine whether the current ad is better than your previous controls.
Testing road map
By creating a thorough testing plan at the beginning of a project (just like a fitness training plan), you can harness the enthusiasm you have at this stage and ensure you have a clear road map of how you want to carry out your testing in the long term.
Determine at the beginning which metrics you will be testing, how long you will let each test run for and build a list of the iterations you will be testing along the way, e.g. description lines for ad text. By laying out all your different testing options, you will be eliminating hard work later down the road when you are pressed for time. Your future self will thank you for the effort.
The easiest way to go about this is to build out your PPC testing plan in Excel. Tailor this example to increase your own possibilities of success and you will soon be on your way to achieving meaner, leaner results.
In short, set a plan, run your tests, record your results, choose a winner and then run a new set of tests based on your plan & results.