Ad Copy Testing: The Basics

A lot of Digital Marketers are continually talking about split testing, and the importance of it to the success of a paid campaign. This blog outlines what all the fuss is about and how to conduct an ad copy test effectively.

You may think you know what works creatively with consumers, but you never really know what works until you test it! On Adwords this is easy to do with ad copy and the benefits are significant.


  • The main benefit of testing ad copy on a regular basis is that it will lead to an increase in click-through-rate. By testing ad copy you can continually test what type of messaging is most engaging with your audience, allowing you to write more effective ad copy & create higher quality ads.
  • This in turn will lead to improved quality score and reduced cost-per-click!

What to Test

There are multiple elements of an ad that you can test, from the description to the display URL. We would recommend starting with the headline. Consumers tend to have short attention spans, meaning the headline is often the only element of the ad that they actually read. This makes it crucial to the success of an ad and shows how important it is to test!However it is also important to test other elements of an advert, including:

  • Description Line
  • Display URL
  • Landing Page
  • Call-To-Action

When testing different ad copy you can try various strategies, such as:

  • Capitalizing each word
  • Adding in price qualifiers
  • Using dynamic words
  • Change the wording of your competitive advantage

How to Do it

Firstly decide which element you would like to test and write two variations of your ad within an ad group.

Label the ads so you can keep track of which ads your testing.

Change the settings of the campaign to rotate evenly/ rotate indefinitely, allowing each ad to have a fair chance of being shown.

  • Do this within the campaign settings > advanced settings >  ad delivery: ad rotation, frequency capping

adcopyRun the ads simultaneously for a certain time. The time a test takes to reach statistical significance can depend on how much traffic you’re getting.

Test the ads using a split test tool to see whether the test has reached statistical significance and which advert has ‘won’. We would recommend using Cardinal path.

  • CTR & percentage served will likely be the most telling measurements but you can decide which statistic is most important to you.
  • It is important to use a PPC ad calculator tool to conduct a split test so you don’t randomly select a winner. You may think that one ad is clearly out performing another, but the statistics may show something different.

When your ads reach statistical significance there are two options

  1. Pause the ad that hasn’t done as well and create a new one with new ad copy to test against the winner.
  2. Or if you’re not sure whether the results are clear, you can leave the test running for a while longer so you can more accurately decipher which ad is better.

In conclusion ad copy testing is crucial, and will help the success of your account. Try to continually test your ads so that you’re constantly improving them. Start with the basics and go from there, you will soon start to see the benefits!

If you need any help in doing "digital" better don't hesitate to contact us.

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