Creating, Testing & Optimizing Paid Search Ads – SMX West 2014

By Tad Miller | Mar 12, 2014
More Articles by Tad

This PPC session stars the lovely Lisa Sanner from Point It, Dusty Haws from Yahoo and Brad Geddes from Certified Knowledge.  Andrew Goodman is moderating.  This one is packed with “memes” in the presentations.

The agenda says:

“This session focuses on the process of designing, implementing and measuring the results of paid search tests. Key topics will include what can and cannot be tested, how to design robust tests and identify all the biases and underlying problems of testing PPC campaigns.”

Creating, Testing And Optimizing Paid Search Ads

Lisa Sanner

Lisa is covering Ad Extensions for Paid Search.  Her emphasis is on being relevant.

There are a lot of ad extensions right now. Ad Extensions increase the real estate you have on the page and they impact your Ad Rank now.  Which can influence your quality score.

Google says they can handle the optimization for us on where and what ad extensions show.  It’s up to advertisers to make those extensions available for them to show. Relevancy is the key to what ad extensions Google will show.

You should do a content audit to decide what Extensions you should use.  Ask the client audit questions with extensions in mind.  Business Differentiators, Site Features, Special Offers or Promotions and target audiences are things to ask about.

AdWords Extension Options Right Now:

  • Ad Site Links (keep them short for best results – 3 line site links give the best lift)
  • Ad Site Links with Additional Detail.  They really only show on Brand terms.
  • Location Extensions.
  • Call Extensions.
  • Review Extensions (need to be fresh – not more than 12 months old.  Need to be from a 3rd party)
  • Image Extensions (In Beta) – They only show on image-seeking queries
  • Rich Ads in Search are available on Bing.  They are images that open up into videos.
  • Bing also has form extensions (including zip code entry)
  • Seller ratings – star ratings (have to have at least a 3.5 out of 5 rating)
  • Social Extensions – Google +1 votes
  • Consumer rating annotations

Use Search Query Reports and Keyword tools to help you with your Ad Extension creative.

There is a lacking of testing and control with extensions.  Create before and after snap shots for comparison purposes.

Dusty Haws

Dusty is a creative lead at Yahoo. The bulk of his presentation is on the benefits of using Long Ad Titles:

Optimizing for long ad titles has its advantages for boosting Click Through Rate.  You simply need to finish the first line of your description with a period, question mark or exclamation.  You can lift CTR up to 40% by using long ad titles.

Using deals and offers is a best practice with long ad titles.  Adding a sense of urgency works as well.

Match Type Delivery and Ads:

Making the Ad keyword specific is a winning formula.  You need to utilize Search Query Reports to improve specificity.  Reducing Broad Matching is the key to this.  It improves relevance, rank and CTR.  Ad Serving Algorithms love Exact Match Keywords.  Higher CTR and Lower CPC is the result.

The landing page is just as important as the ad copy (editorial note by me – it’s more important).  Getting more clicks with long ad copy won’t get more conversions if the landing page experience isn’t as optimal as an inferior ad.

There are over 600 signals used by Bing Ads to evaluate ads (landing page relevance is one of those factors).

Dusty says “The goal of the ad is to get clicks and win trust from the searcher.”

Brad Geddes

Brad is the founder of Certified Knowledge and is talking about ad testing data.  Advertisers need to evaluate winners and losers better.  Averages can hide true winners.  You need to separate mobile device results from desktop because they aren’t the same.  Testing of mobile ads isn’t being done accurately on a massive scale.

It’s important to have both a mobile ad and a desktop ad in each AdGroup.

To test ad performance properly you have to look at the right metrics.

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CPC
  • Conversions

Conversion rate isn’t really a best ad testing metric.  Cost per acquisition doesn’t care about volume of users or clicks.  ROAS or ROI can be skewed by one conversion result (with no volume).

Always start with impressions for ad evaluation.  You should evaluate Cost Per Click and costs.  Conversion Per Impression is a good evaluation metric for ads.  Especially for lead generation.  Profit per Impression is a good metric for measuring ad performance for online sales.

Lifetime visitor values is something most don’t do but it’s a fine metric for ad testing.  Using about 6 months of data is a way to do this.

You need minimum data to do your ad testing.  Too little data leads to bad decisions.  Using ad rotation for testing is the way to go.  Don’t let the search engines make the decisions on ad testing.  They start favoring one ad versus the other too soon.  Take at least a week to do testing.  A month is better.  You need at least 300 clicks per ad at a minimum.  Ideally 1,000 clicks per ad is a good testing period.

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