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    Last Updated: October 01, 2009
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    Learn about: Working with Ads The Ad Editorial Guidelines Creating Your Ad Ad Quality and Quality Index Insert Keyword, ALT Text / Default Text, Custom URLs Ad Testing and Optimization Related Resources

    Ad Testing and Optimization

    Ad testing (or A/B testing) is a powerful feature that allows you to test multiple ads to determine which message works best. Ad testing happens automatically when you create more than one ad within an ad group. By default, our system automatically displays ads that receive the highest click-through rate to help increase traffic to your web site. You can control this automatic display by adjusting the Optimize Ad Display setting in your account. View our tutorial.


    • Optimize the performance of your ads by identifying the message that drives the most clicks and potential customers to your site.
    • Save time by automatically displaying the best performing ads.
    • Save money because ads with higher click-through rates may have a higher ad quality, as indicated by the quality index, and this may lead to higher ranked ads at a lower cost.
    • Test different messages and promotions.
    • Easily target your ads to different geographical audiences.
    • Test different versions of landing page URLs.

    How It Works

    1. An ad is comprised of a title, description, display URL and destination URL.
    2. For each ad group, you can create up to 20 unique ads (ads must adhere to our Editorial Guidelines).
    3. Your ads will be rotated for the keywords within each ad group.
    4. You can enable ad optimization, which will favor ads that receive the highest-click through rate.
    5. We encourage you to leverage our insert keyword feature, which will dynamically insert the bidded keyword into the title and/or description.

    Tips for Using Ad Testing

    • Develop a strategy.
      Have a goal in mind. For example, test an offer of twenty percent savings against an offer of twenty dollars off any hundred dollar purchase to see which positioning your customers find more appealing.
    • Plan out your schedule for ad testing.
      Allow time for your ads to display so that results are statistically significant.
    • Create ads with unique messages.
      You wouldn’t want to test an ad that offered “great prices” against one that promised “low prices”—these messages would be too similar.
    • Choose keywords for each ad group carefully.
      Grouping similar and relevant keywords will make it easier to create ads, and may improve your ad’s quality, which could in turn improve your ad’s rank.
    • Test and refine your ads regularly.
      Routinely check on the status and performance of your ads to stay on top of changing consumer habits. The ad that receives the most impressions appears in the Most Displayed Ad box. This ad generally outperforms other ads based on the selected date range. Also, within the Ads tab of the Ad Details page, you can view performance and display information for all of your ads. Think about testing a minimum of 3 ads per ad group and testing ads with and without Keyword Insertion. You may also want to test ads with different offer types (XX% off vs. free shipping)
    • Evaluate CTR performance vs. conversion performance. You may want to monitor keyword CTR by ad group and consider moving high CTR keywords to a separate ad group.

    When you select to optimize ad display, ads are tested and optimized (based on optimization algorithms) to maximize CTR. Over time optimization will drive towards the ad with the highest CTR. For example, if you have an ad group with one keyword and two ads, optimization will begin serving the ad with the better CTR with greater frequency. If you have an ad group with multiple keywords and two ads, optimization will begin serving the ad with greater frequency that has the better collective CTR across all of the keywords in the ad group. Optimization is automatically enabled for Content Match ads.

    Learn more about optimizing your ad display.

    Next: Writing Ads - Related Resources

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