Updated November 16, 2023
Split testing, or A/B testing, is the process of isolating a variable and running different versions of it across some sort of experience. In marketing, it’s most commonly associated with PPC campaigns.
A/B testing can help determine which variation is most successful based on a single key performance indicator (KPI). The overall purpose of doing A/B tests in pay-per-click marketing is to allow data to decide what the best possible version of an ad is and to have it running so that you can achieve the highest conversions.
Understanding the Components
Each PPC campaign has a control variable and an experimental variable that will always be present. The control variable represents the unchanged variable or unaltered factors in the current strategy or practice. On the other hand, experimental variables are changed to test against the controlled variable.
Companies use A/B tests in PPC marketing in order to continuously release the best and most efficient campaigns for clients. In A/B testing, the results are compared side by side to better understand which variable is preferred. Not only do they bring clarity to PPC teams, but they also bring new opportunities for the client to explore.
Factors to Change in A/B Testing
Since PPC landing pages are so dynamic, there are a variety of factors to change between pages so that you can achieve the ideal outcome for your audience. From ad copy itself to the path in which they take to get to the CTA, different pages will often lead to different results.
Page Factors to Consider
Below is a list of things that we consider changing while we focus on split testing:
- Display URL
- And just about anything else!
External Factors to Consider
- Demographics – Seek to understand your demographic and make sure that they are the ones seeing it will contribute to its overall success.
- Geographic location – Geotargeting can lead to over-localizing. From our experience, it doesn’t hurt to test wide search areas to see if it has any impact on your conversions.
- Mobile vs. desktop – While we always optimize PPC landing pages for mobile and desktop views, it doesn’t hurt to know where your traffic is coming from. This can impact the way in which copy is presented to your audience.
- Time – Testing different hours of the day or week can have an impact on your audience. Additionally, the time zones of your target audience should be considered.
- Seasons – Especially if you offer seasonal discounts, the time of year can impact the way that people interact with your ad.
Recommended Guide to Successful A/B Testing
At Sixth City Marketing, we love and have used Unbounce for years to create and maintain our collection of client PPC landing pages. Below are a few extra details that they encourage users to keep in mind as they conduct A/B testing on PPC landing pages:
- A harmonious channel, CTA, and intent will produce meaningful results in your A/B test
- Understand the main pain points your visitors have and provide a CTA that solves it
- In A/B split testing, don’t forget to change the order of the fields
- Try a form that uses the breadcrumb technique, which separates forms into progressive stages
- Don’t feel like the thank you page needs to be the final step of your PPC landing page
- Know your audience and your goals before starting A/B testing
Common Mistakes Made When A/B Testing
When done correctly, A/B testing can uncover a wide array of insights about your PPC campaign. However, it can result in a waste of time and resources if not conducted correctly. Common pitfalls of A/B testing can include:
- Too many variables – Evaluating more than one variable at a time invites doubt into the validity of the test and overall scheme.
- Not running campaigns for enough time – The amount of time it takes to achieve statistical significance differs in each project. However, it is essential to be aware of this threshold because campaigns that are ended too soon will not provide meaningful results. Patience is key here!
- Neglecting to form specific goals – If you don’t set out with specific measures of success or failure, the test results will often be meaningless and result in a loss of resources.
- Poor insights – by failing to have strong reasoning for starting the A/B testing, your experiment could end up having uninformed hypotheses about what to test.
If you want to read more about split testing in landing pages, be sure to use this resource by the PPC Expo. To avoid these pitfalls and successfully conduct A/B testing, be sure to reach out to the professionals at Sixth City Marketing for additional assistance.
Contact the Sixth City Marketing to Learn More About Our Capabilities in A/B Testing
If you are struggling with getting started and wondering how to get everything in order or would like advice, our team is happy to help! We have over a decade of experience producing quality marketing campaigns.
Contact us today for more information!