Testing your ad copy is a very important component of any online advertising campaign. What you feel is a good message about your products and brand isn’t always as well received by your potential customers. In order to make sure your ad copy message is enticing to your customers, it is important to develop different messages for your audience and then test them over time to find out which are best.
I’d like to give some examples regarding the ad copy messaging you may want to evaluate. One ad might offer a free brochure, another offers free samples, while yet another offers free shipping. An effective marketing campaign should incorporate some kind of testing process to determine what message is most appealing to your searchers. This leads to higher click through rates, and higher conversion rates, which of course is the goal for any website.
One dilemma I am consistently up against is making sure that while conducting these tests, we are giving enough time to allow users to view the ads, and click on them (or not click on them). Depending on the number of visitors a website gets on a daily basis, the ad copy testing time period varies. The more visitors a website gets, the shorter the testing cycle. A website that gets 10,000 clicks daily should have a good idea of how searchers are reacting to the ads in one week. On the other hand, a website that receives 3,000 clicks daily should consider a longer testing period of perhaps 3 weeks, in order to get enough visits and make a determination of how searchers are reacting to the advertisement’s offer.
I encourage all advertisers to test, and test often. But be sure that you don’t get too excited and end the ad copy test before you know conclusively which messages are performing better than others. Remember, testing ad copy takes patience and persistence.
It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about testing (which I love and encourage you to embrace with open arms as I have). I like to use Google Website Optimizer whenever I have an experiment to run, but you can use any program, such as Omniture Test & Target. As long as you are testing, you are “in the game” (and, if you are not testing, why not?).
I found an article within the Google Website Optimizer help section that I’d love to expand upon, called “The Top Five Elements to Test“. This help section article lists 15 specific elements, but it does not cite any examples, which I feel help visualize each point, even though some of them are very obvious. So, I have beefed up this very good list of possibilities below. Enjoy, and, seriously consider testing as many of these 15 things as you can:
1. Title -Short versus Long
Short: High-Quality Product
Long: High-Quality Product that will last for generations to come!
2. Title – Question versus Statement
Question: It’s 10 PM – Do you know where your kids are?
Statement: It’s 10 PM – Your kids are in bed.
3. Title – Formal versus Informal
Formal: Good Evening, Sir / Madam.
Informal: Yo, what up, dogg?
4. Title – Emphasizing selling point A versus B
Selling Point A: 100% Recycled Material!
Selling Point B: 100% Money Back Guarantee!
5. Image – Big versus Small
Big Image: Takes up half the screen
Small Image: 100 x 100 square in the upper-right corner of the page
6. Image – Photo versus Illustration
Photo: A nice, vibrant stock photo, or photo taken by a professional
Illustration: A nice, vibrant drawing, sketch, or animation created by a professional
7. Image – Customer versus Product
Customer: Happy customers, smiling and laughing on a warm sunny day
Product: Close-up picture of your awesome product against a smooth background
8. Layout – Long sales letter versus multi-column layout
Long Letter: A very long page outlining every possible detail and customer testimonial about your product
Multi-Column: A table with visible rows and columns displaying tidbits of information and statistics about your product
9. Layout – 3 page pitch versus one dense page
3-Page Pitch: Three pages, including the landing page, with “Click for More” or “Continue” buttons at the bottom
One Dense Page: All of the information contained in the three-page pitch on one single page
10. Selling Proposition – Quality versus Convenience
Quality: Made with 100% Imported Leather!
Convenience: Never buy another pair of boots again!
11. Selling Proposition – Features versus Service
Features: 256GB of Disk-Space!
Service: 24/7 Customer Support!
12. Selling Proposition – Make Money versus Save Money
Make Money: Make $100 for every friend that you refer!
Save Money: Save $100 on your next trade-in!
13. Conversion Incentives – Free Shipping versus Money Back Guarantee
Free Shipping: We offer Free Shipping to every city in the United States!
Money Back Guarantee: We will refund 100% of your money if you are not satisfied.
14. Conversion Incentives – List All Incentives versus None
All: List every possible incentive imaginable on Landing Page
None: Simply promote the product price, image, and / or availability on Landing Page
15. Conversion Incentives – Telephone Order conversion versus online form
Telephone: Call us at 1-800-555-1234 and get started today!
Online: Fill out our simple online form and get started today!