Posted by Lance DeGroot, Senior Media Manager To effectively drive optimal performance for a paid search program, continuous testing is the name of the game. While paid search best practices constantly advance and evolve, so do best practices for testing. One popular form of testing here at Performics is A/B landing page testing, also referred to as split testing. A/B landing page tests are used to determine which landing page achieves a particular goal more effectively; more often than not this goal is conversions. Paid search is an ideal environment for A/B landing page testing due to the large traffic potential from the search engine results pages (SERPs). Testing in an environment with a sufficiently large amount of traffic enables advertisers to achieve statistical significant results in a relatively short period of time. A/B landing page tests are also easy to set up and manage for advertisers. Implementing an A/B landing page test accurately is critical so advertisers don’t waste time or money getting insignificant results. With continuous testing, advertisers have the potential to see dramatic improvements in performance. BENEFITS OF A/B TESTING
- Understand a better user experience
- Increase number of conversions
- Leverage learnings and apply to other channels
SET UP and IMPLEMENTATION of BEST PRACTICES The initial set up and implementation of an A/B landing page test is simple. Following the best practices outlined below will help advertisers deploy successful A/B landing page tests:
- Identify landing pages: Identify a champion landing page (Page A) and a challenger landing page (Page B). The champion landing page (Page A) is often times the landing page where traffic is currently being driven, while the challenger landing page (Page B) is the landing page that the advertiser predicts will increase conversions.
- Construct a road map: A/B landing page tests should always be carefully planned and communicated. The advertiser should clearly outline the ad groups that will be included in the test, the amount of time that the test will take to achieve statistically significant results and the landing pages that will be used. The test length will vary depending on the level of statistical significance the advertiser hopes to achieve. Seasonality and cross-channel efforts should also be considered when planning the test.
- Build the test: A best practice for flawless execution of an A/B landing page test is to set up the campaigns, ad groups and ad copy as though you were only driving to one landing page. In this particular scenario, the advertiser would create a bulk sheet in Microsoft Excel containing the campaigns, ad groups and ad copy that will be included in the test. The ad copy should all be driving to the champion landing page (Page A). The advertiser can now copy and paste all of this data either directly below, or in a new tab in the same workbook. The URL for the landing page can be cleared out of the cells from the section that was just copied and pasted. The advertiser can now enter the URL for the challenger landing page (Page B) into the cells that were just cleared out. The test is now built and the advertiser can upload this bulk sheet into its bid management platform or directly into the search engine.
- Monitor the test: Once the A/B landing page test has been launched, the advertiser should actively monitor the test. The advertiser will want to check that the test was uploaded properly and that the ads in the test are receiving traffic.
- Rotate evenly: The advertiser will want to make sure that the ad copy included in the test is set to rotate evenly in the engine. If the ad copy is not set to rotate evenly in the engine, it will skew the results of the test.
- Determine the winning page: Prior to launching this test, the advertiser should have determined a length of time that the test will take to achieve statistically significant results. At the end of the test, the advertiser should conduct either a z-test or a t-test to determine if the difference is statistically significant. If the difference is statistically significant, the advertiser can pause the ad copy that is currently driving to the lower performing landing page, effectively ending the test. The advertiser now has a new champion landing page to do further testing against.
All paid search advertisers should continually test and learn via A/B testing. By following these best practices, advertisers can ensure that conversions (or other paid search KPIs) never plateau.