Most digital marketing professionals have a love/hate relationship with A/B testing. Some love it. Most hate it. The rest of us — we know it’s a necessary evil, but there’s got to be a better way!!! At least in the world of AdWords, that “better way” is coming very soon in the form of Responsive Search Ads. Currently, A/B testing feels like a very black and white situation: Headline A + Body A nets X results; Headline B + Body B nets Y results; Headline A + Body B nets Z results . . . painful to say the least. With Google’s new responsive advertising, it feels more like you have a full palette of colors at your disposal. Google dynamically delivers the best-performing body plus the best-performing headline for specific keywords, automagically optimizing your ads. This new level of machine learning is only rolling out for a few accounts as of yet, but we’ll be waiting for this great new functionality with bated breath.
We Heart Machine Learning
Any day that you can convince a machine to do your job for you — and perhaps even to do it better and more cost-effectively — is a good day. With this new option from Google AdWords, not only do you get to enter several different headlines and descriptions and let the algorithm do the heavy lifting, but you also get a tad more real estate for being a beta tester. Google describes their service like this: “Create an ad that automatically adapts to show relevant messages to your customers”. Pretty understated, right? You can show up to three headlines instead of the standard two, and the additional descriptions that you can show are pretty fantastic, too. Instead of a single 80-character body text for your ad, you get a whopping two 90-character descriptions. If you’ve ever tried to narrow down your compelling business proposition to 80 characters, you know how important those extra 10 characters are!
What Stays the Same
The new ads format might take a bit of getting used to, as you’ll need to make sure your headlines can all stand alone. What doesn’t change is the need to write compelling, clickable teasers that lead to truly compelling content. If the content on your landing page isn’t solid, you’ll simply be wasting machine time instead of your own in writing amazing ads. You can actually “pin” a specific line of content into your ad, which is really handy if you need to include a disclaimer for example. These ads will look to users exactly like a “standard” AdWords ad in style, but with the additional content included. To start with, you’ll need to run these Responsive Text Ads in an Ad Group that has an Expanded Text Ad already active. The big benefit that advertisers will gain is the ability to start testing more quickly and to get near real-time access to metrics that are optimized on the fly. It’s unlikely that you have someone in looking at your A/B testing several times a day and deleting underperforming options. With Responsive Text Ads, Google does the heavy lifting for you!