PPC Ad Testing Tips
From Our Top 10 Experts

Cynthia Meyer
Cynthia Meyer
Content Marketing Manager

PPC ad testing can be quite the exhaustive task, especially when you’re trying to follow all the How To’s, Guides and Tutorials out there.
Ever wonder how the real pros do it?
Do the pros test like this?

Get it? Pro… test – image source

Or do they do something more secretive with their PPC ad testing?
However whacky or standard the PPC ad testing process may be, there’s something to be said about a veteran pro who’s seen the trends come and go within the PPC world… and still succeeds.
We’ve gathered valuable insights from our list of Top 10 PPC Experts in the field, so you can glean something worthwhile from these PPC campaign MVPs.
We bring you feedback from 10 top talented PPC experts who gift us with their favorite PPC ad testing tip ?.

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #1 from: Bryant Garvin

bryant garvin

“When doing ads, landing page variations, etc., I like to follow the 70/20/10 rule. What do I mean by this?
This is the ratio of ads that you are testing:

  • 70% is the tried and true, with maybe minor variations or tweaks.
  • 20% are cousins of the tried and true. They may follow a similar theme, pain point, or emotional messaging.
  • The last 10% is honestly my favorite. They are what I like to affectionately call BSC (bat-shit-crazy). These are either going to perform amazingly or completely flop and “fail.” This is where real “innovation” happens and where you can let your creative team really stretch.

It may not be normal, but it can be a lot of fun and very productive in terms of growth if you build a culture that allows for it.”

– Bryant Garvin, Director of Marketing, Purple

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #2 from: Julie Bacchini

julie bacchini

“Don’t be afraid to do something a little crazy. Sometimes testing completely different ads from your historically best performers can yield great results!
Iterating “proven winners” is definitely a very sound practice, but stretching beyond that can be a risk worth taking… Just be sure that the client is ok with the messaging and monitor the results closely. You just might be surprised at what you find.
Bonus Tip: You can try a new winning formula in other accounts.”

– Julie Bacchini, President, Neptune Moon LLC

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #3 from: Frederick Vallaeys

frederick vallaeys

“We believe optimization is all about continuous improvement and that goes for ad testing, too.
One lesson we learned that helped us improve results was to avoid over-testing. Sometimes you run 5 experiments in a row and every time, the control wins.
When that happens, scale back the experimentation for a bit so you don’t lose opportunities by constantly trying new things that perform worse than what you already had.”

– Frederick Vallaeys, CEO, Optymzr

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #4 from: Kirk Williams

kirk williams

“Make your ad Variation B completely different than the Variation A. Don’t primarily focus on little text tweaks (i.e. Should I capitalize this one word or not??).
Instead, try a completely different ad. In this way, you are more rapidly identifying the winners vs losers and the difference is nearly always more pronounced.
If you find a winner that clearly increases your click-through-rate (CTR) and conversion rate, then turn that into your new Variation A and try again.”

– Kirk Williams, Owner, ZATO

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #5 from: Mark Irvine

mark irvine

“People come to Google with questions and search for answers, so make sure your ads and landing pages are set up to answer their questions and concerns! Focus your ad copy to highlight benefits for the end user, rather than details of your products feature (i.e. “Lose 10 lbs by Summer” will always outperform “Complete Diet Plans”).
After answering your prospect’s questions on the SERP, be sure to include a call-to-action at the end of your ad to have them look to you for more answers on your landing page or with your sales team.
As you think about answering clients questions on the SERP, consider including ad customizers to cater your answer to more specific questions. Ad customizers can add details relevant to your customer’s location, device, keyword, or relevant factors dynamically into your ad.
Finally, consider your audience. Different demographics and audiences may be looking for entirely different things when searching for the same keywords and should be served different ads to answer their questions. A 21-year-old and 60-year-old may use the same keywords to search for “401k management” but likely have widely different needs and your ads should speak to those needs different and direct traffic accordingly.”

– Mark Irvine, Sr Data Scientist, Wordstream

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #6 from: James Svoboda

james svoboda

“Ad Placement can have a dramatic impact on results.  For paid search ad tests I always use the Top vs Other report for helping to determine winning and losing ads.
I’ve seen thousands of ad tests where the “winning” ad received an elevated volume of clicks and conversions for a low portion of impressions that tipped the scale unnaturally in it’s favor.
Whereas comparing, say Top results vs Top results, was a more true measure that more accurately determined the winner.”

– James Svoboda, CEO, WebRanking

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #7 from: Aaron Levy

aaron levy

“Iterate iterate iterate! When you’re doing an A/B or multivariate test and find a winner, find out what made that winner win and repeat.
If Aaron’s Official Site is the best performing H1, you better keep it there when you add a new test into rotation. Picking and choosing tiny elements of testing will help performance tick up over time.”

– Aaron Levy, Manager of Client Strategy, Elite SEM

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #8 from: Amy Bishop

“My favorite tip is to look at conversions per impression, versus relying solely on click through rate or conversion rate.
If conversions are your main goal, this is a good way to ensure that your ad copy is not only generating the best possible CTR but also teeing up prospects for the conversion action on the landing page.
Advertisers do themselves a disservice when they optimize based upon CTR alone because it’s easy to put yourself into a position where you are generating a lot of clicks based upon ad copy that either over-promises, is too vague, or misuses dynamic keyword insertion (DKI) – only to then have those prospects bounce.
Sometimes a lower CTR is okay if it means you’re more likely to generate leads – qualified leads at that.”

– Amy Bishop, Director: Digital Marketing & Marketing Technology, ZirMed

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #9 from: Brad Geddes

brad geddes

“Don’t just test 2+ ads within an ad group. Testing ads within an ad group tells you the best ad for a single targeting method (such as keywords, remarketing lists, etc).
Instead, also test across ad groups with multi-ad group testing techniques. This type of pattern testing can give you great consumer insights across entire segments of your account that you can use within PPC or many other aspects of your marketing.
This is also a great way to test when you are managing a large number of ads since you can combine the data at pattern levels and then make bulk changes across those patterns.
Single ad group testing = Find the best ad for a target.
Multi-ad group testing = Find true insights.”

– Brad Geddes, Cofounder, AdAlysis

PPC Ad Testing Pro Tip #10 from: Johnathan Dane

What would our expert list be without adding our own squad leader? So here’s our boss man’s favorite PPC ad testing tip:
johnathan dane

“Ad group testing at scale with single keyword ad groups.
Similar to multi ad group testing, this type of PPC ad testing allows you to isolate one variable within an ad across multiple ad groups where the search term and keyword discrepancy is low (more aligned with a true scientific experiment), so that you can learn about your audience at a quicker rate and see what turns into higher CTRs and lower cost per acquisitions (CPAs).”

– Johnathan Dane, Founder & CEO, KlientBoost
Looking for more tips on PPC ad testing?

Now it’s your turn…

Which ad testing techniques are your favorite?
If you’re looking to beef up your PPC ad testing skills, add these 10 pro tips into the mix. It’s nice to take into consideration some hands-on experience from our industry leaders.
Share some PPC ad testing wins that didn’t make the list.