Any silly duffer can tell you the massive benefits that good website copy can achieve for a website, including converting more website visitors to customers, but how do we determine what good website copy is? Is it possible to accurately test and compare whether some combinations of words and phrases are more effective at capturing your target market’s attention than others? Yes it is, and you can easily do it yourself using Google AdWords.
Firstly, create an AdWords campaign in the normal way, and add your list of keywords you wish your site to display for. Keep the keyword list small and well related. If you’d like to test different keywords – you may have a range of products for sale or services – then you should create different ‘ad groups’ for more specific keyword targeting.
After you have setup your keywords, you must create a number of different ad variations for those keywords. Create at least a dozen ads, using different combinations of words and phrases for the ad headings and sub lines. Now you’re ready to launch your campaign.
The most important step: creating ad variations
When the campaign is live, Google will randomly display the ads you have created when your keywords are searched. Google will collect and display data that shows how many times an ad was clicked, divided by how many times your ad was shown. This is called the ‘click through rate’ (CTR) and is displayed as a percentage. For example, if an ad’s CTR is 10%, then that ad was clicked on once every ten times it was displayed. Higher CTR’s indicate more effective ad text (because the ad is clicked on more often).
You must continually test different variations of ads to see which ad text results in the highest CTR. In order to achieve a reliable result, allow each ad to run for at least a few weeks and to be displayed at least a few thousand times.
Readers familiar with AdWords can also use conversion tracking as a means to compare ad text variants. To do this you must create different ad groups with only one ad in each ad group (because you must be able to assign a conversion to a specific ad). If you have multiple ads in the group then you won’t know which ad resulted in the conversion.
How do I apply the findings from my campaign to my website?
OK, now that you have determined which ads have the highest CTRs – and if you’re an AdWords wiz the highest conversion rates – you can start using that super effective ad text on your website.
Not surprisingly, you’ll most likely find that the most effective ad text contains the keywords that the ads were displayed for. Consequently the best places to use the ad text in the website will also help your SEO efforts. Some good places for effective text are
- Page titles
- Page headings (within H1 tags)
- Links e.g., if your site displays a button which is designed to attract people to click it, use the text in there.
Why is this experiment awesome (as experiments go)?
Your Google AdWords data uses a sample size of participants that is almost 100% of your target market, which completely blows chunks all over other traditional sampling methods such as focus groups (which are so widely overused).
The participants in your experiment are participating ‘blindly’, so their choices will be honest and reflect real world choices, (because they are real world choices). This makes for more valid findings than results found in other ways, for example, those very ordinary focus groups I mentioned.
The best thing about this experiment is that there is no guesswork involved, simply write your ads and Google crunches the numbers and simply displays what works and what doesn’t.
Use your text everywhere
Your effective ad text should be applicable to a variety of media and need not be confined to websites alone. The text should apply well (if not equally well) to offline marketing material, such as brochures, newspaper ads, radio ads or television.
If you go ahead and try this experiment please post a comment about your results here.