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The Importance of Testing Google Headlines/Ads

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Would you shoot an arrow at a target and not watch to see where it lands? Probably not. Yet that is the exact approach many marketers make when it comes to Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising with Google Ads (formerly Adwords).

SEO is a great long-term strategy, but it can take time to climb the organic search rankings. With PPC advertising, you can attract targeted traffic to your site immediately. However, if you or your agency are taking a “set it and forget it” approach to your Google Ads, you’re leaving money on the table.

Testing Google headlines/ads is an essential part of any PPC marketing strategy. This article will show you how to A/B test Google Ads and why it’s important to do so. 

Why Testing Google Ads Headlines Is Essential

Google Ads A/B testing allows you to run more ads, and to run ads that are more effective, all for less money. Let us explain:

Testing your Google Ads helps you figure out how to achieve a higher click-through-rate (CTR). And a higher CTR raises your quality score. The higher your quality score, the less you have to pay for your PPC ads, which means you can run even more ads for less money.

Plus, A/B testing allows you to test your ad copy so you can optimize conversions. You’ll know which combinations of headlines, keywords, and body text will lead to the highest ROI. So not only will you be able to run more ads, but the ads you do run will have higher conversion rates.

How to A/B Test Google Ads

If you want a higher ROI on your PPC advertising, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. Here’s how to get started with Google Ads AB testing in three simple steps.

1. Decide What to Test

Google Ads A/B testing entails split testing different variables and determining which one is more effective. So the first step is to decide which variables to test. You’ll also want to decide which values to use for each variable.

There are four main variables you can play with when it comes to Google Ads: the headline, the body text, the link, and the keywords. We’ll go into each briefly.

The Headline

The headline is the blue, clickable portion of a Google search result. It is the first part of your ad that people will see, so it’s important that it draws their attention.

Good headlines consist of a few words that encompass what you are promoting. They should include the keywords you are targeting, which will show up in bold and let the searcher know that they have landed in the right place. With that said, there are many different combinations of words that you can test to see which works best for your PPC ad.

The Body Text

The body text appears below the headline and gives a brief description of what searchers will find if they click the link. In organic search results, this is where the meta description would display. This is another good place to experiment with different options to determine what text is most effective.

The Link

Another variable for PPC split testing is the destination that you link to in the Google Ad. You can test different landing pages and see which converts best. Sometimes even tweaking a few words in a call to action, or even changing the button color, can make a huge difference in terms of conversions.

Generally, you’ll want to link to either a product page or a designated landing page for the PPC campaign. Linking to a home page isn’t particularly useful as there is no direct action to track to determine the ad’s effectiveness. 


The last variable in A/B testing for Google Ads is the keywords that you bid on. If you’re at all familiar with search intent, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Some keywords that searchers use indicate that they are more likely to buy.

The best way to determine which keywords you should target with your PPC campaign is to start with a list of relevant keywords. Once you have a list of possible keywords, you can split test the best ones to determine which are most effective for your PPC efforts.

Provide Options for Each Variable

Once you know which variables you are testing, provide different options for values to use with each variable. The more variables and values you have, the more tests you’ll need to run to determine the best combination.

Make a list of all the possible combinations to run so that when it comes time to implement you know all the A/B tests you need to perform. Make sure that no combinations of variables are repetitive or conflicting.

2. Determine What You Are Testing For

The goal of your test is just as important as the variables you are testing. Some people may be looking to build an email list of qualified leads for a large purchase down the line. Others may want their PPC ad campaign to lead searchers to purchase immediately.

Knowing what you are testing for allows you to determine which combinations are most effective. If you are just looking to grow awareness, for example, when you look at the data all you need to worry about is click-through-rate (CTR). If, on the other hand, you are looking for users to buy, you’ll need to look at the entire process, from click-through-rate to conversion rate. 

Some combinations may have a high CTR but low conversions, or vice versa. You will also want to decide if you are going to test Google ads locally or if the location is not a factor in your tests. Knowing the goal of your Google Ads will allow you to determine what data to pay attention to and what data is not important.

3. Track Data and Analyze Results

With your goal in mind, now comes the time to implement. Generally, you’ll want to track campaigns for several days or even weeks, depending on search volume. The more data you have, the better picture you’ll get of what’s going on.

Pay attention to click-through-rates and conversion rates for all campaigns to determine which ads are performing best for each test. Once you have the data from your tests, you can adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Google Ads A/B Testing

The process of testing Google headlines/ads can be a bit time-consuming, but the end result is worth it. Learning how to test Google AdSense ads will pay off dividends in the long run. Eventually, you’ll be able to tweak your strategy for a higher ROI for PPC campaigns.Here at Bear Fox Marketing, we focus on increasing our clients’ ROI for their marketing efforts. If you want help with AB testing ads to deliver targeted traffic to your site, check out how we can help with your PPC campaigns today!

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