Changes to Experiments in Ads

Advertisers no longer have to create a separate campaign draft in the new Experiments pages. Now, you will find everything you need under the “All Experiments” tab, accessed from the campaign level.

changes to experiments in Google ads

Custom experiments have long been used to optimise the performance of Google Ads campaigns. Testing some aspects of ads, campaign type/settings, and bidding strategies can have a significant impact in helping you to achieve your goals faster. After all, the building blocks of successful digital marketing are (to paraphrase Fatboy Slim); test, learn, iterate, repeat. Without robust testing in place, you may as well spend your time eating, sleeping, raving and repeating – not a bad compromise, some might say, but it’s not going to deliver results!

An actual A/B test is when one element is tested against another in the experiment. For example, you may test campaigns going to different landing pages or how an alternative heading impacts click-through rate. However, Google ads allow us the freedom to create vastly different campaigns to test against each other – this is a great way to run “game-changing tests”, that is, tests that lead to significantly different outcomes. However, it can make it harder, if not impossible, to pinpoint exactly what it was that contributed to the difference in performance. 

Google lets you run experiments on both search and display campaigns. There is a tonne of things that you can test in Google. Some examples are:

  • Campaign performance based on smart bidding strategies is suitable for your Ad Grant accounts, where bids can be severely limited if you get the bidding strategy wrong.
  • Test varying the ad copy in search ads – does adding specific information make your ad more appealing and/or impact the conversion rate of those who do it?
  • There’s a vast range of audiences that you could test as part of your display campaigns. 
  • If you’re not using Google Optimise (or another similar landing page testing tool), you could test different landing pages by using Google Ads experiments.

It used to be a little tricky, but Google has made it very easy now for us to set up and run ad experiments. The hardest bit is making sure you test the correct elements at the right time. If you are new to Google Ads, we’d recommend checking out this handy guide to setting up your first campaign. For those of you who have done Google Ads experiments before, this is something that will freshen your mind!

So, What’s New?

The old way of creating experiments was as clunky as a pair of clogs. Until now, whenever we created an experiment, we needed first to develop a draft of the base campaign we were looking to use. The draft allowed us to mirror the campaign’s settings and make changes without impacting the original campaign directly. We then needed to test this draft separately in an experiment. Quite a hassle, right?

What’s Changed?

Advertisers no longer have to create a separate campaign draft in the new Experiments pages. Now, you will find everything you need under the “All Experiments” tab, accessed from the campaign level. 

You can now create experiments from one central place. You’ll have the same options of ad variance, video experiment and custom experiment. Instead of creating a draft, the setup launches straight into creating an experiment using your selected base campaign. 

From here, the process is mostly the same, create the experiment and make changes before setting it live. There is, however, a very welcome difference, if you opt into automatic sync, Google Ads will automatically sync any changes from the original campaign into the experiment whilst you are testing.  

Image: Google

Performance summaries are now a whole lot better as well. If you’ve ever been frustrated with viewing experiment results and accidentally selected the incorrect date range to view your results, you’re not alone. The date range of the experiment is now clearly displayed, and a date filter is added right above the results – this way, you can be sure you’re viewing actual results from when the experiment was running.

Do the changes to experiments save time?

The new format will definitely help save everybody some time. You no longer need to go through extra steps of draft creation and manually copy changes from the original campaigns, which can be even more time-consuming when running multiple experiments simultaneously.

Where should I start when it comes to experiments?

The hardest part about getting your first test up and running is knowing just where to start. There are so many options! If you’d like to talk about experiments, then get in touch with a Ninja today, and we can help you decide where to look first. We’d definitely be aiming to run those tests which we know are more likely to generate the most significant impact first!

    Jon Dawson, CEO of Digital Ninjas
    Jonathan will get back to you soon