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Google Ads Experiments

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What is it?

Testing is essential to paid search and to any kind of digital marketing. In Google Ads itself, we have a very good tool called Google Ads Experiments, which is a controlled method to test changes and optimizations to your account over a set period and traffic-split.

This is the great thing. You can say, “I only want 50% of the traffic going to the test and 50% going to normal.” This basically reduces the risk of testing 100% against the new feature, because by default, in a test, one is going to be good and one is going to be not so good.

So by having 50-50, it means that you’re only putting 50% to potentially the lesser performing option. Whereas if you divert 100% into a certain test, it means that you’re taking a gamble that it could be better. And we’re trying to reduce risk at any point. So having that 50-50 split is a very controlled way of mitigating against risk and giving us a very clean dashboard at the end of the test, which shows a clear winner.

At the end of the test, we can decide to apply or reject the test function. It’s simply pressing the Apply results button in the top right-hand corner and that’s it.

What use it?

Reasons to use Google Ads Experiment include:

  • Control traffic: You can control how much traffic you’re testing against.
  • Control length: You can control the length of the test, two weeks minimum, three weeks minimum, a month minimum, depending on your traffic levels, but you do need to have enough traffic.
  • Clean dashboard: You have a clean dashboard interface for measuring the metrics at the end, so you can make a decision quite easily.
  • Minimize impact of poor hypotheses: You can minimize the impact of a poor hypothesis by not putting all your eggs in one basket and just doing the optimization while testing it first.

It’s fairly straightforward to setup and it allows you to systematically control everything about the testing features that you want to do.

You don’t need to do this for minor optimizations, like bidding up or down by a couple of cent, or whatever like that. If you change your bid strategy, you always want to do a test first. Opening up a location, opening up device bid adjustments, anything like that, I would do a test on it and see whether there is any difference. And copy is an essential one to this, too.

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Cathal Melinn

Cathal Melinn is a well-known digital marketing director, commercial analyst, and ecommerce specialist with over 15 years’ experience.

Cathal is a respected international conference speaker, course lecturer, and digital trainer. He specialises in driving complete understanding from students across a number of digital marketing disciplines including: paid and organic search (PPC and SEO), analytics, strategy and planning, social media, reporting, and optimisition.  Cathal works with digital professionals in over 80 countries and teaches at all levels of experience from beginner to advanced.

Alongside his training and course work, Cathal runs his own digital marketing agency and is considered an analytics and revenue generating guru - at enterprise level. He has extensive local and international experience working with top B2B and B2C brands across multiple industries.

Over his career, Cathal has worked client-Side, in digital marketing agencies and media owners with brands including HSBC, Amazon, Apple, Red Bull, Dell, Vodafone, Compare the Market, Aer Lingus, and Expedia.

He can be reached on LinkedIn here.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


    Paid Search
    Cathal Melinn
    Skills Expert

    This module begins with the key concepts of paid search and demonstrates how to set up a Google Ads account and create a paid search campaign. It explains how to manage a paid search campaign budget effectively and outlines the different methods that can be used to optimize your paid search campaign. It also covers how to measure and report on the success of a paid search campaign.