Don’t Test Your Adwords Ads Before Reading This

In Adwords: always be testing. Especially with your ads. I’ve seen some of my campaigns double the ROI, purely by testing and optimizing ads. In this article I’ll give you the tools and settings you’ll need before you actually start testing ad variations.

Rotate your Adwords ads evenly
First, make sure your search campaign is set to ‘all features’ as below.


These settings will give you extra control over your campaigns. You’ll be able to schedule your campaigns, control your ad delivery preferences and will get access to experiments. Sounds cool, right? It is. Later more on that, though.

Now, move down to the setting ‘Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping’. Dropdown the menu and click edit. You’ll see the screen below, with the setting ‘Optimize for clicks’ ticked. Personally I like to change this to ‘Rotate indefinately’.


You see, Adwords will optimize for clicks. That fine, but you’ll need more than clicks. You’ll need engaged visitors, conversions, a better ROI, et cetera. So I choose to rotate evenly.

In the above setting I chose ‘rotate for 90 days’ This means for 90 days my ads will be shown to an even audience. This means for 90 days I am in control of my ads. This means you’ll have to actively manage your ads. Since Google won’t optimize them, you have to.

Setup conversions in Adwords

If you’ve already setup conversion tracking in Adwords – bravo! If not, let me walk you through it. I plan on later writing a guide on conversion tracking. Right here I’ll give you the skinny.

Under Tools go to Conversions. Here you’ll define your conversions.


If you have already setup your conversion tracking in Google Analytics, you can choose ‘import’. Personally, if possible, I like to setup Adwords tracking independently. In short: there is a difference in tracking. I won’t get into the details in this article, but you can slide over to this Google page for more info.

If you choose ‘Webpage’ then you’ll setup the details in the next step. In the final step you’ll be given a code to implement on the ‘thank you page’.

When finished, go back to your campaign. Open your ad group and open the ‘Ads’ tab. Click on the dropdown that says ‘Column’ and click ‘Customize columns’.


Add ‘Conversions’ to your columns.

And there you go. Now you’ll see all your conversions that your ads will generate in the right place.

Link Adwords and Analytics, import bounce rate

Now here’s a thought. Google automatically will choose the ad with the highest CTR. What good is that when your bounce rate grows evenly with that traffic?

So I mind also the bounce rate when testing ads. And you should too. Luckily, we can import Analytics data into Adwords. Just follow these steps provided by Google. After importing your data, add bounce rate to your columns.

What to aim for when testing ads?

Before you start, make sure you have your conversions, conversion rate and preferably the bounce rate in your columns. Let’s get into what you should aim for when testing.

High CTR

The CTR (Click Through Rate) is the percentage of how many viewers click on your ad. The higher the bounce rate, the more your ad appeals to your audience.

Low Bounce Rate

If your CTR is high, but your bounce rate is also high, your content might not match your ad that well. If you have a high CTR and a low bounce rate, you’re on your way to a good ad.

High Conversion Rate

The higher your conversion rate, the better. The higher your conversion rate, the cheaper your conversions will be.


I like to have my conversions in my columns. This tells me immediately what the effect of the CTR and conversion rate have been.


In the image above you’ll see that even though Ad #2 has a lower CTR, you’ll end up with more conversions. True, your conversions might be a little more expensive, because you pay per click. It’s up to you to define your goals and to pick your KPI’s.

Test just two ads at the same time

A little tip before you actually start adding ads: don’t test more than two ads at the same time.

With two ads, you’ll have faster results. Also, with more than two ads, it often is more difficult to determine why the winner is better.

Now it’s your turn. Which tips do you have to share?