Do You Split AdWord Ads The Right Way?

Submitted by Dmitri Davydov on Sat, 2007-04-14 07:32.
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Three fourths of all Google advertisers pay at least 50% stupidity tax. Not just on Friday the 13th, but every day.

Which is to say, most of those little ads you see all over the Internet cost their advertisers twice as much as they should. Sometimes much more.

This is a bad omen.

Good for you and me, though. Because it's not like this problem can't be prevented with a few Four-Leaf Clovers and Rabbits Feet.

The #1 way to toss your coin into the Internet Wishing Well is to run a Split Test. You pit one Google ad against another and getting a winner and a loser, again and again and again.

Your lowly ad starts out with a very unlucky 0.6% CTR but rises to 1%, then 1.5%, 2.2%, 2.6%, 3.1%, 3.6% -- and suddenly you can pay one sixth as much as when you started, but still get the same position.

When most of your rivals are paying 2-6X as much as you, it's a lot easier for you to cast curses and spells on them, isn't it?

But here's where all that gets jinxed.

If you mix Google traffic with AdSense (content network) traffic and then try to do split tests, it's Friday the 13th every day. Black cats cross your path. There's an eerie increase in traffic accidents, and a Series of Unfortunate Events. Your very oatmeal congeals on your spoon as you bring it to your mouth.

Here's how the misfortune is manifested: Your two ads start running on Google instantly. The next day you declare a winner and you delete the loser, and re-write the 2nd ad to beat the winner.

The day after that the Google editor (who is speaking ill of you, which is why your left ear itches) approves your first ad to show on the content network and because of the content traffic. Which always has a lower Click Through Rate. Your total CTR goes down.

But the 2nd ad is still waiting to be approved (which takes a few days) so its CTR is higher. It *appears* to be luckier and you delete the first one.

Actually the 2nd ad is NOT luckier than the first. You deleted the winner and kept the loser.... and you keep divining your ads, not knowing that mixing two kinds of traffic together casts misfortune upon your family. A dog howls at night and someone in the house is sick. You find yourself walking under ladders and stepping on a crack and breaking your mother's back.

The cure to this is to run your Google traffic and your Content traffic through separate Campaigns. Then your traffic is always apples to apples. (By the way, it is traditionally believed that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday.)

[Via Perry Marshall]

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