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PPC Help: Drafts and Experiments

By Rob Diggle

7th March | B2B Direct Marketing Email Marketing PPC Social Media Telemarketing Uncategorized

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PPC Help: Drafts and Experiments

What are these new thingymajiggers I’m seeing in my AdWords account? Drafts – what? Experiments – who?! Help me!

Yeah, these are new. Google have been testing them since November, apparently. They’re  features designed to give advertisers more control over changes before they make them.

Drafts is a tool that creates a duplicate of your   campaign – a sort of staging area – where you can make changes to bids, ads, pretty much anything, without them going live.

You can then show these proposed changes to  another person  with  access to your account, a senior manager or a client whose account you’re managing for example, who can then approve and “publish” them to the live account. Much in the same way you can use AdWords Editor to make offline changes with an optional approval process before they’re uploaded in bulk. Drafts makes this process easier for  clients  who are  more familiar with the normal   AdWords interface than the somewhat confusing Editor layout.

Not that interesting so far. But what about the Experiments feature…

When you’re happy with your Draft changes and you’re ready to post them, AdWords gives you the option to run these changes as an Experiment. It’ll ask you what percentage of traffic (and therefore campaign budget) you want to use to split test these changes, with the option to run the test over a fixed time period.

This  will  be familiar to anyone who’s  used split testing software  before, such as Google Analytics’ Experiments tool. You’ll see a live comparison of your experiment running against your “control” campaign, with the option to make these changes permanent. You also have the option to convert the experiment to a new  campaign with the same budget and settings as the  original, which then gets paused, if you want to publish a set of changes with an easy way to revert back to the original.

How can these features be used?

These features offer a lot of potential uses, here are a couple of ideas…

Say you’re a team leader at a PPC agency supervising some junior account managers and you want to keep a close eye on the changes they’re making to clients’ accounts. You can rule that any significant changes require your approval before being published, with the requirement that they  demonstrate their changes will improve performance by setting up an Experiment and showing genuine, real-time improvement in performance  before they go live and the full campaign budget is devoted to them.

If you’re trialling new landing page layouts, you could manage your split tests without leaving AdWords by setting up an Experiment which diverts  your Experiment’s traffic to your test URL, you could even split test copy or CTA changes by using duplicate landing pages with minor changes between them.

You could use your Drafts as a brainstorming area for new ideas from your team by creating a queue of proposed changes, a series of ad copy variations for example, and then testing them one by one (since you can only run one Experiment per campaign at once).

If you structure your campaigns by match type, you could try changing the match type  on all your campaign’s keywords at once by setting up an Experiment and bulk changing  them from exact match to phrase match, for example.

Happy Experimenting!

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