Best Practices for Paid Search Copy Testing

Posted by Paul Mason, Account Manager

Your goal in testing copy is to discover the ad text that is most effective in engaging and/or converting your target market.  Copy testing is one of the most important strategies in determining how to best speak to your potential customers on the SERP.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when rolling out a copy testing strategy:

  • Develop a detailed test plan– You’ll have to decide what copy to use as a control and what copy to test.  Perhaps you want to test keyword-driven copy against new promotional-driven copy.  For benchmarking purposes, test new copy against a control piece of copy that you know performs well.
  • Set realistic expectations– As your copy becomes better refined through testing overtime, the lift you’ll see in performance may become smaller.
  • Test to certainty– Whenever possible, keep testing until you’re statistically sure that you have the best performing copy.  Don’t pin yourself into a specific time period for testing.  In some situations, you’ll find the best performing copy quickly, while other tests may take longer.  Seasonality and other factors may affect the performance of your copy; consumers respond better to different messages at different times.  This speaks to the need to always be testing and refining your copy.

  • Test consumer insights-driven copy– Your main goal in testing copy is to figure out how to raise click-through rates and conversions.  This involves creating a connection with searchers.  Consumer-insights driven copy is copy developed from research into the target personas of your potential customers.  For instance, if one of your company’s target personas is the “stay-at-home mom,” develop consumer insights-driven copy that is likely to catch her attention.  Test the consumer insights-driven copy in different ad groups targeting the different personas to see if it outperforms control ad copy.
  • Test one copy variable at a time– For example, test different titles and then test different descriptions.  Testing titles and descriptions at the same time makes it very difficult to analyze your results.
  • Use a separate testing campaign– Implement your test in a separate testing campaign to make data collection and analysis easier.  Before testing, also be sure to deactivate copy optimization done by the engines.
  • Watch carefully  Hold keyword positions as constant as possible throughout the test.  Closely monitor click-through and conversion rates for the first few days of the test to ensure you’re not negatively affecting a program. 
  • Never stop testing Paid search copy testing should be an ongoing optimization process.  Use what you learned from the previous copy test for your next test.

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