Getting Started with PPC Testing

Joshua Hartford

Testing and learning is important to both increase account performance and develop valuable business insights. It is therefore important to continually test elements of your campaigns in a way that delivers results you can rely on.

In this blog we will cover four core aspects of testing that are essential to generate actionable results for your startup.

1. Test Design

Designing an effective test is the starting point. Here we will decide what will be tested and how. In most cases you will be testing one or more of the following elements through a variety of channels:

  • Ad content
  • Targeting
  • Landing pages

Ad content is the creative or text-based elements that form an ad. On social & display channels this will include video or image-based creatives and the associated copy that makes the ad. On Search ad content this refers to the copy that is active.

Targeting is what controls how an ad is served and appears online. On social & display this will primarily be through platform-specific audience targeting, i.e using data on the platform to target the relevant users. On Search keywords determine how ads are served, as such testing different keywords will form the basis of targeting on Search.

Social ad
Search ad

Lastly, you can use our PPC campaigns and ads to test the effectiveness of landing pages. Elements such as calls to action (CTAs), lead forms, and page layouts are worth testing and iterating on.

With astute PPC testing in place, you can run effective tests with actionable results on these elements. To do this it is important that you isolate those elements, without making too many changes to the surrounding elements.

This allows for clearer results, noting that changes made to the test elements resulted in an impact in performance. This takes the guesswork out of testing and optimisation and allows you to feed statistically significant results to your startup.

2. Objectives

Somewhat part of the test design, it is critical that there is an understanding of the testing objective before embarking on a new test. The objective sets the rules of a test and is the point that determines results.

As startups and scaleups your priority should always be to look at lower-funnel objectives as a success metric. These would often take the form of a Sales qualified lead for a B2B objective or a new customer sale for a B2C objective.

It is important to note that testing CTRs or engagements can be illuminating metrics however they don’t always translate to lower-funnel actions, and be misleading in understanding what is driving revenue & purchases.

For example, we have regularly seen that a lower CTR can counterintuitively increase ROI.

3. Result Analysis

Once a test has been active in driving traffic and conversions, you can begin the analysis of the results. At this point you will be wanting to measure the amount of lower funnel conversions coming from the number of clicks of each testing variable.

Running a few calculations on this data you will be able to determine which variations have the highest CVRs (conversion rates). This in turn will determine which is the most effective and will be declared the winner.

Where volume allows, it’s important to look for statistical significance in your results so you can be certain in the winner.

4. Actioning Results

Often overlooked is the post-test process. At this point, it is important to take action based on the test results. The variant deemed to be successful will be kept active in the account, whether creative, copy, targeting, or landing page elements.

For additional value, make sure to communicate these test results to the wider business team. For instance sales, teams can oftentimes leverage ad copy insights to better positions when engaging with new leads.

PPC testing is a critical part of any startup’s PPC strategy. To achieve complete visibility and have increased control over interactions with your target audience continuously learning and optimising will improve your strategy and be more engaging for your leads.

We’re experts in getting startups the exposure they deserve. Get in touch if you’d like us to scale up your PPC.