How to Use A/B Testing to Amplify Your SEM

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Paid channel advertising—or SEM— is a traffic acquisition technique that virtually every marketer has encountered at some point in their career. Traffic acquisition is only half the marketing equation — you need to turn that traffic into customers. Learn how to use A/B testing to improve the efficiency and return-on-investment of your SEM campaigns.

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How to Use A/B Testing to Amplify Your SEM

  1. 1. How to Use A/B Testing to Amplify Your SEM
  2. 2. Why are you here? • To create higher performing ads. • To create higher performing landing pages. • To increase your return on investment from paid search.
  3. 3. We’ll cover… 1 The paid search funnel. 2 Why A/B testing should be part of the process. 3 A/B test ideas + examples for everything from keywords to landing pages. 4 Tips for making this a reality.
  4. 4. SEM in a nutshell: ! Spend money to make more money* for your business. *The amount of money you make should be more than the amount of money you spend.
  5. 5. From a user’s perspective !
  6. 6. I search for something.
  7. 7. I see ads in search results and (hopefully) click one.
  8. 8. I click one, the company advertising pays.
  9. 9. I land on a page.
  10. 10. Ideally I take an action.
  11. 11. From an advertiser’s perspective !
  12. 12. The goal of SEM Keyword bids ($$$) Ad impressions Clicks Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue ($$$$$)
  13. 13. A/B testing in a nutshell: ! Try two different things. Measure which one performs best*. *The definition of “performs best” is entirely up to you.
  14. 14. An example from EA. A B
  15. 15. A or B? A B
  16. 16. And the winner is… B A B +43.4% more preorders
  17. 17. What metrics you should optimize for? Well, it depends. Consumption
  18. 18. What metrics you should optimize for? Well, it depends. Consumption • Page views • Shares • Average time on site/page • Bounce rate • Video views • Engagement metrics to increase advertisement impressions
  19. 19. What metrics you should optimize for? Well, it depends. Transaction
  20. 20. What metrics you should optimize for? Well, it depends. Transaction • Add to cart • Checkout • Sign up • Download • Specific actions often led to by a series of pages
  21. 21. Why SEM and A/B testing? You can A/B test SEM campaigns in three places: 1 The keywords. 2 The ads. 3 The landing pages.
  22. 22. “ If you're spending thousands of dollars on search, you’d be crazy to not be spending on tools and software that can help you optimize your website. Larry Kim Founder, CTO Wordstream
  23. 23. Testing the entire SEM funnel. Keyword bids ($$$) Ad impressions Clicks Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue ($$$$$)
  24. 24. Testing the entire SEM funnel. Keyword bids ($$$) -Test which keywords you bid on. 
 -Test negative keywords. 
 -Test bid amount. Ad impressions Clicks Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue
  25. 25. Testing the entire SEM funnel. Keyword bids ($$$) -Test which keywords you bid on. -Test negative keywords. -Test bid amount. Ad impressions -Test which ad serves for which keyword. 
 -Test ads themselves. Clicks Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue
  26. 26. Testing the entire SEM funnel. Keyword bids ($$$) -Test which keywords you bid on. -Test negative keywords. -Test bid amount. Ad impressions -Test which ad serves for which keyword. -Test ads themselves. Clicks This just happens. (You paid for it!) Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue
  27. 27. Testing the entire SEM funnel. Keyword bids ($$$) -Test which keywords you bid on. -Test negative keywords. -Test bid amount. Ad impressions -Test which ad serves for which keyword. -Test ads themselves. Clicks This just happens. (You paid for it!) Landing page visits So many testable things! On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue
  28. 28. Let’s talk about this. Landing page visits On page conversions Leads, customers, revenue ($$$$$)
  29. 29. A/B test thy landing page.
  30. 30. 1. Send paid traffic to the right landing page.
  31. 31. So you should have a few.
  32. 32. 2. Test the flow.
  33. 33. Especially of paid search landing pages. A B
  34. 34. A: Original A
  35. 35. B: Variation removing search B
  36. 36. A or B? A B
  37. 37. And the winner is… B A B +23.7% more purchases
  38. 38. Is your first step the right first step? Product catalog? Email form? Free trial?
  39. 39. “Show people an incline, not a steep slope.”
  40. 40. 3. A/B test the page itself.
  41. 41. An example from Tirendo. A B
  42. 42. A: Original
  43. 43. B: Streamlined and targeted
  44. 44. A or B? A B
  45. 45. And the winner is… A B +20% more checkouts
  46. 46. So many things to test! • Call to Action: What are you telling someone to do? How do you tell them? How prominent is it? • Navigation: Do you include it? Where does it lead to? Are there CTAs on those pages? • Messaging: Is it congruent with the ad? Do you include testimonials? • Imagery, endorsements, trust symbols, layout, colors • More? Just search for landing page optimization.
  47. 47. San Francisco, April 17 Use promo code “webinar50” for $50 off your ticket! Brooks Bell Learn more at opticon.optimizely.com Rand Fishkin, Moz Hiten Shah, KISSmetrics
  48. 48. 4 things to remember from today. 1 Embrace the forest and the trees. 2 Just because you’ve always done it one way doesn’t mean it’s the only way. 3 Explore before you refine. 4 Share results often (but not always early).
  49. 49. Who am I? Cara Harshman Campaign Manager @caraharshman ! Optimizely optimizely.com @optimizely
  50. 50. Thank you! !

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