How often do you test your ad text? If you haven’t tested your ad messages for the past three months, then you’re missing out on clicks and conversions. The secret behind successful adwords campaigns is to test everything on a consistent basis. What you’re looking for is gradual improvements over time…and that can only be achieved by testing all the time.
Your Ads are an important part of your ad campaigns, but it’s easy to forget about them when you’re poring over keywords, landing pages, quality scores and everything else you’ve got to think about to keep your campaigns profitable. But just as your keywords’ effectiveness changes over time as user behaviour evolves, so does that of your ad text. You can’t set them up and leave them to run indefinitely.

Steps you can take

Here’s a few things you can do to keep your ads fresh and improve their effectiveness;

  • As a basic rule of thumb, you should always be running 3-4 different ads within each AdGroup (no more than four ads at a time, though). Once they’re all live, Google will automatically serve up each ad in turn and ‘learn’ which one is most effective for you and then serve up the winning ad more often than the others. I’ve got one word of warning for you on this, though. Google will base its decision on CTR, rather than your Conversion Rate, Cost Per Registration or Sales. Therefore keep an eye on these other elements as well as the CTR, as you may need to override Google’s decision now and again.
  • When creating ad variations for the first time, you’re going to want to play around with different messages – what’s the best call to action, what’s the USP you want to get across, which text works best for your site? Usually, the most consistently successful copywriting tactic here is to write more ads, make them more personalised, and make sure that more of your ad titles and/or body copy match (or come close to matching) the keywords the user types in.
  • Beyond writing varied ads, you’re going to focus on more subtle changes…they can make the world of difference to your campaigns’ effectiveness over time). When thinking through your ad variations, bear the following ideas in mind:
  • Call to action – Think about what you want your visitor to do once they’ve clicked on your ad. Is that action reflected in your copy? For example “Join Free”, “Meet…Today”. Then, you need to test which Call to Action works best for each AdGroup.
  • Unique Selling Proposition – there are so many dating sites now, why should people join yours over anybody else’s? If you haven’t got a USP, maybe you’re in the wrong market! Or maybe you just need to think things through a bit more and decide on one. Then build that usp into your ads as well as your site (so you have “continuity of story”)and test how effectively that story comes across to your visitors.
  • Dynamic Keyword insertion –  this is a neat bit of functionality that enables your ad titles to match closely the search terms entered by the user. See my previous article on how to use the KeyWord insertion functionality.
  • Capitalisation – try capiltalising the first letter of each word in your ad. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve found it to work quite well for me.
  • Display url with no www. – Rather than having your display url showing as, just show it as This is something that works quite well for some sites but not for others, so again it’s worth testing.


The key points of this article are to demonstrate that there’s a range of things you can do to test the effectiveness of your ads (I’ve just touched on a few of the main ones here), and to emphasise that it’s crucial for you to keep on testing. Add it to your list of monthly tasks (which is growing all the time, I know!), and you’ll gradually see improvements in CTR, Quality Scores and those all-too-expensive registrations!
Good luck & happy testing.