When it comes to online marketing, it’s difficult to know what will make for an engaging campaign. You’ll always find that some images, tones, and wordings appeal more to some people than others.
We all have our individual preferences. That’s why the success of a well-made campaign can often depend on it finding the right demographic. A/B testing, or split testing, can help you narrow down the preferences of your key demographics.
To give this guide some context, we’re going to talk about Google Ads A/B testing. You could apply these principles to any area of online marketing. However, 90% of organic search traffic on the web comes through Google, so it’s a good place to start.
What Is A/B Testing?
In marketing, this is a simple but versatile form of testing. It involves running two versions of the same campaign simultaneously and analyzing the results. Your “A” and “B” versions are demoed to different groups of the same audience.
As audience responses come in, you analyze the response to each version of the campaign. If it’s a Google Ad, then this could be how much traffic clicks through to your landing page, for example.
When the campaign is over, look at which version drove the most traffic to your site. Then, take note of the differences compared to the successful campaign and use these to refine your marketing material.
With Google Ads, you can run these kinds of tests natively through the Google Ads tool. You might be looking for the highest click-through rates to judge success. You might be looking at which campaigns lead to the most conversions or the highest lifetime order value.
When you test in this way, “A” will often represent your current content, while “B” will be any changes you want to make. Whatever way you want to judge the success of A or B, Google Ads can provide the analytics you need.
Why Do I Need to Test My Marketing?
Marketing is not an exact science. Even the best marketing campaigns can be refined and tweaked to optimize them. Testing your marketing gives you solid data on to base your refinements on. This leads to much more efficient campaigns and ad placements.
There are other practical benefits to testing that are difficult to achieve without a test plan in place. Some of these are specific to Google Ads, but some are true even if you’re using in-house tools for web services testing.
As your financial department will be keen to tell you, budget control is vital to successful marketing. The key to a successful campaign is your return on investment (ROI).
Think of it this way. A big flashy ad campaign might bring in a lot of traffic. But if you spent more on the campaign than the extra revenue from that traffic, the campaign failed.
This is an extreme example. Testing will, mostly, help you make small incremental changes that optimize your ROI over time. It can help avoid big mistakes like the example above, too, though.
With Google Ads A/B testing, budget is very important as ad spend can directly affect impressions. When you run a split test, you need to make sure that each version of the campaign is still budgeted to receive enough impressions for a viable test.
Google Ads A/B testing helps the AI to learn your audience’s preferences. As you test more and more campaigns, you’ll gain a deeper analytic view of your audience segments. As well as the marketing they respond to best.
The way that Google’s machine learning works means that it can optimize to your audience. But, if you run a new campaign, it won’t necessarily make use of data from existing campaigns.
If you run a split test, the AI recognizes its link to the previous campaign and can use your existing marketing data.
Google’s AI is quite advanced, but it still can’t work by itself, though. You need to remember that AI will optimize to the goals you set for a campaign. So if you’ve optimized for clicks and you’d rather concentrate on cost per acquisition, remember to switch your goals.
Once you’ve set your campaign up correctly, the machine learning portion of Google software will optimize toward what works. Whether you’re a multinational or selling on Amazon, you can use this to your advantage.
Using A/B Testing With Google Ads
Different kinds of marketing require different parameters for testing. If you’re testing keywords on a landing page, your tests will be very different from mobile compatibility testing for the same page.
Where to Start
Start by looking at what your campaign entails and deciding what its focus should be. This will tell you what kind of test you need. If you’re looking at the features of an ad, like its headline, wording, or images, then you need an Ad Variation Test.
Maybe you want to experiment with the dynamics of a campaign. Say, for example, you want to see how a campaign works with different core audiences. In that case, you would need to run a Campaign Experiment.
You can do both of these things from within Google Ads, so let’s look at Ad Variations first.
Setting up an Ads Page for A/B Testing
Here’s your step-by-step walkthrough for setting up an Ads page. If you haven’t set up a Google Ads account yet, do that first. Then follow these instructions.
- In your Google Ads account, you’ll need to go to the “All campaigns” tab.
- Start by selecting the campaign you want to run the test within.
- Note that if you want to run tests for multiple campaigns, you’ll need to set up each campaign individually.
- Once you’ve chosen the campaign, you’ll need to go to “Ads & Extensions.” You can find this on the left sidebar.
- Then click the Option for “Ads” when this appears.
- On this new page, you’ll see a + sign. Click this to create a new Ad.
- Select “Ad Variation” as the option here.
- Now, you should be on the Ad Variation page. Here, you’ll have to select the Campaign and Ad type, then hit continue.
- Now, we need to find the text we want to replace with our variation. Use the Find and Replace function to search your original headline, etc.
- Match it up with the correct part of the Ad using the right-hand sidebar’s “In” function.
- Here, you’ll see the “Replace With” section. Put your variation text here and continue.
- Name your test, and set the run time (Use an absolute minimum of two weeks.)
- To balance impressions of your original and variation equally, set the “Experiment split” to 50%.
- Don’t forget to hit “Create Variation” when you’re done. The page you see now will also show you your variations and the analytics for your A/B test. Use this to keep track of your key metrics.
This is how to set up an Ads page. There’s another function that can be used for A/B Testing in Google Ads, too.
Experiments: Everything You Need to Know
Drafts and experiments can be used both for Ad variations and campaign testing. The method for Ad variations is very similar to the steps above, so we’ll cover that first.
Experiments for Ad Variations
Setting up an Ad Variation in Experiments is just like setting up an Ads page. But instead of going to Ads and Extensions in All Campaigns, you’ll go to “+More” on the left sidebar. Then select “All Experiments.”
From here, you can add a new Ad Variation in the same way we described above. This is also where you can set up a new campaign experiment.
Experiments for Campaigns
Google Ads used to call these “drafts and experiments”. Now they’re known as “Custom Experiments.” Experiments for campaigns are used for:
- Bidding optimization
- Keyword optimization
- Landing-page A/B testing
- Demographic testing
- Audience segmentation
You can easily follow the steps above to create a new campaign experiment. The only real differences are that you’ll be setting parameters like Ad spend and audience segments.
Remember to always give your tests at least two weeks to run, ideally more for conclusive results.
Results: Analyze, Implement, Improve
The nice thing about using Google Ads A/B testing is that it will perform the analytics by itself. However, that doesn’t mean you can just leave it to its own devices. You’ll need to implement continual testing to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t forget that in marketing, your failures can teach you as much as your successes. There are different types of reports in software testing, and it’s important to get to know what you should be looking for.
You wouldn’t neglect testing in research and development. So why would you neglect it in marketing? A/B testing should only be one part of your overall testing strategy. But it’s a small and integral part that often gets ignored. Follow this guide to avoid that mistake.
The Ultimate Guide to Paid Marketing for B2B
Paid marketing is an effective way of promoting a business, and the various mediums for paid B2B marketing are Google Marketing, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.
For enterprise B2B companies, paid social and pay-per-click advertising can be challenging. The unfortunate reality is that the buyer journey for these businesses is long, with multiple stakeholders at different points in the process.
It’s harder to promote B2B than B2C businesses with paid advertising because there needs to be a rock-solid strategy to reap significant results from your ad spend.
Paid B2B marketing strategies have an essential role in this process: here are some tips on implementing them when used by enterprise B2B companies.
Use Display Advertising to Boost Brand Awareness
Before someone can start considering your services, they need to know you. The first step in any decision-making process is finding the supplier – you can do this by utilizing Google’s Display Network and company advertisements in industry publications.
This type of digital marketing campaign doesn’t aim at driving leads. Still, you must keep in mind that these campaigns don’t generate direct results such as lead generation, mostly not in the short term if tangible results matter most for other business stakeholders (for example, shareholders).
This campaign aims to get your company’s name in front of as many people as possible. There are some ways you can target the ads, and we would usually recommend using keywords or an affinity audience.
Use Google Text Ads to Target Transactional Keywords
Google text ads are the most common form of paid media campaigns for B2B marketers, but they are also one of the most misinterpreted.
Transactional keywords, or keywords as they are commonly known, refer to phrases that suggest a level of intent to purchase- words like “solutions,” “software,” and “business” can often be seen at the end.
For example, when someone searches for marketing software (marketing), their intention is different than if they were searching google on how to do marketing (PPC).
Transactional search phrases have a higher level of intent, so they are the target for text advertisements on places such as Google. Rather than being too broad with their keyword targeting, many companies mistake spending more budget on keywords that attract few search results.
However, as long as you don’t spend all your budget on these words without seeing any returns, it won’t matter. You can also use these AI content generators to create compelling ad copies.
Use Organic Keyword Research
The information-focused content on your website should address the broader search terms that are not targeted by your text ads. These searches require a more informative approach than an interactive one, so educating them on blog posts or another form of content is best.
You could also target these broader keywords with an awareness campaign, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Still, unless you provide educational materials in your ad, it is always better to approach those keywords from an SEO angle rather than trying to advertise for them explicitly.
Engage in Re-Marketing
Paid ads can still help increase visibility. Many businesses put pay-per-click ads on the first page of search results to target buyers searching for relevant terms.
For the right price, you can place an ad for your business – a pay-per-click ad – at the top of a search results page, and it will only cost you more money if you don’t place it correctly.
Regarding advertising, 98% of visitors don’t convert on just one website, so how else would anyone reach these people? The best way is through remarketing advertisements.
Remarketing ads are digital marketing advertisements that appear specifically for prospects who have already visited your website. They show up on the internet as candidates move around and experience other websites so that they can be top-of-mind.
With all of the data available about customer demographics and browsing habits, these personalized messages allow you to create a hyper-personalized ad experience for every person – with or without an initial visit to your site.
Just make sure that post-click experiences (the landing page) deliver a message too.
Include Video Marketing in Your Strategy
Video has become a non-negotiable part of B2B marketing. More and more companies are waking up to the value of video in their campaigns. Videos help you engage prospects and boost lead generation.
Let’s look at the most impactful video formats that you could use within a new or existing B2B marketing campaign.
- Brand Videos – These videos are a subtle way of letting your customers know who you are and what you have to offer. They’re an excellent alternative to formal, overly produced sales pitches. Make sure your personality and company message shine through when creating the video. It would aid if you thought about what makes your company more valuable than your competitors.
- Tutorial Videos – A tutorial video is a self-explanatory video that teaches the user something new. Tutorial videos, in a nutshell, take the user through step-by-step instructions on how to complete a specific task.
- Testimonial Videos – Testimonial videos are a powerful way to build customer trust. It’s worth the time to collaborate with clients to create original and engaging testimonial videos.
- Case Study Videos – Case study videos are a more comprehensive account of your work successes than testimonial videos. They focus on how you improved your client’s business performance and included ROI and conversion rates.
Videos don’t need to be complex for B2B prospects. Connecting with them and demonstrating your value will serve you well.
Concentrate on the overall ROI
Don’t worry about how many of your ads are getting impressions or the cost per click. If you have set up your B2B marketing campaigns rightly, you should measure overall investment instead of the value of leads.
You may spend $6,000 on one lead worth $50k or even $12k on one lead worth over a million dollars. These can be extreme examples, but what matters when looking at your long-term paid B2B situation measures how much money you invest versus how valuable leads come out and assess.
Increasing your overall return on investment will require you to make efforts and modifications in various areas. Doing this requires being brave with your B2B marketing strategies and abandoning established tactics for newer ones. It’ll also need long-term initiatives.
However, all these changes should be worth the time invested if you have the right plan to understand what customers want and effective communication. They are statistics to help track any progress made towards ROI improvement.
Adopt a Customer-Centric Strategy
B2B companies need to adopt a customer-centric strategy to excel in B2B marketing.
A customer-centric company needs to have more than just good customer service. It should focus on providing positive experiences before and after the sale to drive repeat business, increase loyalty and improve growth.
When you give your customers the focus they deserve and combine this with Customer Relationship Management with the help of CRM tools, you have the key to a wealth of data- giving you an all-encompassing view of each customer. You can then use this information to provide them with more tailored experiences.
To build a customer-centric strategy for B2B marketing, a B2B company should take these actions:
- Operationalize customer empathy
- Hire for customer success
- Democratize customer data
- Facilitate direct interaction with customers
- Connect company culture to customer outcomes
- Tie compensation to the customer
To achieve customer-centric visions, companies need to have a customer-focused culture.
The buyer journey for a B2B company is often long. It can take a little bit to see a return on your paid campaigns, but you’ll likely cover any lost revenue quickly once you do B2B marketing.
It will help if you consider a couple of things when working on your paid search for a B2B marketing campaign. You need to ask yourself about the customer problems and then choose keywords that match those.
Consider video marketing to make sure many people are looking at your ad, engage in re-marketing, focus on overall ROI, and adopt a customer-centric strategy correctly.
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