Split testing copy: how to find what works best for your PPC campaigns

Why you need a guide to split testing copy? Because your copy can -and will- make or break your PPC campaigns.

Sure, the images and videos can grab attention and even pique interest, but it’s going to be the copy that tells users why they should click or convert.

So you can bet that your Ad copy is what will determine whether they do or not.

Because of this, you cannot afford to ever be complacent when it comes to your Ad copy.

Split testing is the key to revealing what works and what not in your PPC campaigns, and in many cases, the answers may surprise you.

In this post, we’ll show you a process that you can use to create and split test your copy in order to produce higher-performing, higher-converting ads than ever before.

There’s not an easier route: A/B testing will be the only way to actually determine which Ad copy and offers resonate most with each individual audience niche you’re trying to target, and what copy works for different stages of the digital sales funnel.

Wondering how much this actually matters?

Why Split Testing Copy Is So Important

They had me write short copy, long copy, text with bullet points and text with full paragraphs and then spent $1000 on ads to see what worked.

The actual results of specific copy got results was interesting

, but the experiment also revealed two key findings that stress the importance of split testing copy.

These include:

  • Poorly performing ad text cost 2.4x more per lead than high performing copy. That’s significant.
  • When asked which copy would perform best, 89% of marketers chose the three ad texts that actually ended up having the lowest performance.

This data is easy to interpret: what we think is a sure-fire win can actually be costing us a lot of money when it comes to PPC CPC, and the only way to lower those costs and get more results is to get testing.

How to Effectively Split Test PPC Copy

When I first started doing PPC copywriting for clients, I realized early on that split testing was an important part of campaign creation and management, and that by taking that into account when actually writing and structuring the campaigns, we’d be able to create stronger campaigns and more thoroughly and accurately test copywriting and copy strategies.

Here’s how to do it.

Write Copy With the Intention of Split Testing It

You want to think about split testing long before you actually start writing, and when you create your copy, you want to have split tests in mind. Facebook Ad genius and AdEspresso educator Paul Fairbrother helped me develop a system that would help us to write and organize copy in a way that was optimized for split testing.

What we do is write “sets” of ad copy. These sets may include anywhere from two to four headlines and three to six ad texts, depending on the campaign and the client. Each set of ad copy will be appealing to a single audience, and appealing to a single pain points or utilizing an emotional appeal. This is essentially a mix-and-match approach, so every headline needs to work perfectly with every single ad text, as if only those two were written together.

If we were selling an electronic lock for your front door, here’s what this might look like:

Headline 1: Unlock your door with the push of a button. 

Headline 2: Safe. Secure. And oh so convenient. 

Ad text 1: Have your arms full with a toddler, heavy grocery bags, and a dog pulling on that leash? Never worry about struggling with a keychain again. 

Ad text 2: Don’t worry about finding the right key late at night. All you need is one push of a button to be able to get inside. 

Ad text 3: Forget making spare keys for friends and family; now you can unlock your front door remotely through our secure mobile app. 

All of these texts work well together.

You wouldn’t want, on the other hand, to see a headline like “Unlock your door with the push of a button” and ad text that said “The security camera will keep your family safe.”

While these are two great selling points, the texts don’t make sense together, and you’ll completely lose people just because they’ll be confused.

Ad text needs to work with your image to be cohesive and strengthen your arguments for why someone clicks instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

Otherwise, your conversion rates will be low and the copy will be almost impossible to split test accurately.

You can create multiple sets of copy to test, but keep them separate. You’ll turn each set into one ad campaign so that it’s easy to track.

Utilize Software that Facilitates Split Testing

One of my very favorite AdEspresso features has always been the ability to quickly create split tests that scale extraordinarily well.

When creating your actual ad in AdEspresso, you’ll see the option to click on the “+” signs next to each headline and ad text field.

This allows you to enter in additional copy to test, which AdEspresso will then mix and match for you.

how to split test copy

Note that when you’re testing the copy, you can also test out different images, but keeping things relatively similar is a good way to go.

You wouldn’t, for example, necessarily want to test out a sixty-minute video against a single image ad, because you won’t be able to get clear data about the copy itself at that point.

After you’ve entered in all versions of ad text, you’ll want to decide if you want AdEspresso to automatically create every possible version of these split tests, or let you choose which combinations to create.

The beauty of the sets of ad copy as detailed above allow you to have AdEspresso do the heavy lifting for you, so you can choose “create all permutations.”

Monitor the Results

After you’ve got your campaign up and running, it’s time to keep an eye on the results.

You’ll want to look for which campaigns get the most clicks, conversions, and engagement, but you’ll also want to look for trends in how these metrics interact with each other.

If, for example, you see that your copy is getting a click of clicks but then no conversions and drop-offs at the landing page, that’s time to pause and consider why.

Maybe the pain point you appealed to in the copy isn’t reflected in the landing page, or you didn’t overcome enough objections.

Consider why there’s a disconnect there, and see if any other sets of copy or messaging had better conversion rates when held up against those CTRs.

You’re also going to want to look at costs.

There were a few cases I’ve seen where conversion rates and CTRs were consistent, but one version of ad copy cost significantly more than its similarly-performing counterpart. Watch out for this, because you can end up chewing through a lot more ad spend than necessary.

Look for trends and patterns.

  • Are certain styles of copy– like longer posts, or those that use bullet points– more effective at different stages of the funnel?
  • Do certain pain points or logical appeals seem to resonate stronger with your audience?

Watch out for this for each audience, and as a whole, and over time you’ll learn a great deal.

Split Testing Copy Is the Way To Go

Copywriting is complex, and even with a strong and well-researched understanding of your audience, there can be some element of a guessing game involved.

In order to truly know which offer or phrasing your audience will respond to, you need to actually test it out.

Split testing copy is the only way to find the messaging and even the pain points, offers, and emotional appeals that resonate most with your different audience niches, so it’s important to spend the time and money up front.

If not, you could be leaving thousands of dollars in the table, even if your campaigns seem to be performing well.

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