Testing Your Ads For Better Click Rates


Not long ago we started looking at A/B testing as a means to improve the performance of your PPC campaigns. We ran through the basics of what to test for ads and landing pages, but over the next few posts we want to look at the individual elements of your ads in more detail.

Luckily, there are only four key things to test with Google PPC ads: the headline, links, your ad copy and keywords – and today we’re going to start at the top with headlines and how to improve them for a better click through rate.


Why should I test my headlines?

Your ad headlines work in a very similar way to those for news articles or blog posts – it’s their job to grab people’s attention and make them want to click. If your headline works properly it will stop users in their tracks, force them to read your ad copy and maybe even bag that click in one fell swoop.

Sounds great, right? Expect nothing is that easy when it comes to PPC and if your headline doesn’t generate clicks, your ad will get penalised with a low Quality Score and missed impressions. Ouch.


Where do I start with headlines?

Once you sit down and actually try to create a snappy, compelling headline you start to realise the size of the task at hand. It can be pretty overwhelming when you first try to turn that 25 character limit into something compelling – so let’s take a look at some best practices to get you started.


  • Focus on user intent: There is a big difference between someone looking for a web design agency in London and a graduate looking for web design jobs in the capital – but both could trigger from similar or the same query. You nee to anticipate user intent and combine this with killer keywords (which we’ll come to in a later post).
  • research your competition: Type in your keyword to see what headlines come up and take note of the good and bad from your competition.
  • Include your keyword in the headline
  • Communicate your value: Whatever it is that sets you apart from your competitors (a sale, free shipping, worldwide shipping, etc.) you need to communicate this in your headline.
  • Keep it under 5 words


What do I test?

Okay, so with your first headline live and running it’s time to start thinking about how to approach A/B testing. You’ll only be changing one thing at a time but you want to test regularly so you can maintain performance – just make sure you run them long enough to get definitive results. As for what to test, here are some pointers:


  • Use dynamic keyword insertion to give your headlines more flexibility and relevance
  • Highlight the benefit, not the feature: If your product is cheaper then tell people they can save money, if your service is faster tell them they can save time.
  • Experiment with questions and branded terms
  • Use Google Trends, Twitter, etc. to find trending keywords
  • Test words of urgency like “offer ends soon” or “get yours now!”
  • Study your competition again and find a way to make your headlines different, eye-catching.


Next Time on Inside PPC

So that wraps it up for this instalment, but next time on Inside PPC we’ll be moving on to links and how to test them for better results. See you soon!