Rather a lot has gone on in the world of Google Ads recently; the definition of exact match has changed (again), not to mention the shift from AdWords to Google Ads.

In such a fast-paced industry the fundamentals of what it means to run an effective, best-practice campaign are easily forgotten. So, it’s time to go back to basics and talk about campaign drafts and experiments.

Campaign Drafts & Experiments

In the words of Google, ‘drafts and experiments let you propose and test changes to your Search and Display Network campaigns. You can use drafts to prepare multiple changes to a campaign. From there, you can either apply your draft changes back to the original campaign or use your draft to create an experiment. Experiments help you to measure your results to understand the impact of your changes before you apply them to a campaign.’

Essentially, using this process is the perfect way of testing a change before rolling it out to the wider account, reducing risk and improving performance.

Some of the easiest campaign experiments are as follows:

  • Landing Page Experiments: Testing different landing pages with a 50/50 split of traffic is the best way to ensure you are sending traffic to the page which will drive the most conversions
  • Bidding Strategies: When you’re thinking about changing your bidding strategy and unsure how it will perform, it’s best to test it first. You’ll see whether the campaign will benefit from a change in bidding strategy or whether it is worth sticking with the original
  • Devices: If a client has made changes to their mobile site and you want to test pushing a larger proportion of spend through mobile devices, you can test it before making changes to the original campaign

How to Set Up a Campaign Experiment

Of course, the campaign experiments available to you aren’t limited to those listed above. If you’re making changes in your account, you’ll be able to (and should) test the effect they’ll have first.

Here’s how you can do just that:

  1. From the left-hand menu in Google Ads, select “drafts & experiments” then click the blue “+” to create a new draft
  2. Give your draft a name and select the campaign you wish to turn run an experiment on
  3. Once you have created your draft, make the relevant changes to the draft campaign.Then click apply, followed by “run an experiment”
  4. You now need to name your experiment and set a start date. You will also need to decide if you want to set an end date or let it run continuously until you have enough data to make an informed decision. Pick your % split - we recommend keeping to the 50/50
  5. You can now decide whether you want to stick with the standard search-based split “With search-based experiment splits, you can assign users randomly to either your experiment or original campaign every time a search occurs.”; or a cookie-based split “With cookie-based experiment splits, users may see only one version of your campaign, regardless of how many times they search”
  6. Once your experiment is up and running, you will start to see the data come in. You can compare the orginal with the experiment by selecting the metrics important to you
  7. It will take around 6-8 weeks to gather a valuable amount of data. This will allow you to make an informed decision. You can now either “apply” the changes to the original campaign or end the experiment

We can't stress enough how important it is to test more substantial changes you want to make to your Google Ads campaigns before rolling them out.

There's always monumental changes and improvements happening in advertising and marketing, and while the industry will look very different this time in 5 years, there are some basics you should always adhere to - testing is one of them.