The Importance of Testing – Even Google Does It

By shanesnow
Published on October 7, 2008

Probably the most fundamentally important task in PPC Management is testing. Split or multivariate testing of advertising copy, landing page designs, and pricing points is just the beginning. Capitalization, ad position, and the positioning of elements on your webpage can all impact your conversions, and that eventually means your bottom line.

Constant testing and improvement is vitally important to a successful pay per click campaign, or any element of web business for that matter. Yet it is probably the most overlooked and under-executed part of the web business process. At the end of the day, testing is one of the key ingredients that separates winners from losers.

Google, for example, tests everything before it changes something. The following screenshots were captured by Semvironment as AdWords was experimenting with a multi-variate test (I think the test is still live as of 10/6/08). It looks like they were testing these elements of the page:

The ‘get started’ button – the text on the button “Click to begin”, “Start Now”, and one other text variation that I haven’t seen yet…and the color of the button is being tested.

The diagram of how AdWords works – 3 illustration variations…see them all in the screen shots below.

The headline in the upper left - 3 variations “Advertise your business on Google”, “Grow your business on Google”, and “Accountable Advertising with Google” as seen in the screenshots below.

I haven’t captured all variations – there are at least 9 variations that I can tell. There might be 12 to 15…in any case, multivariate testing is important!

Google is using their website optimizer to conduct this test. Testing is easy with the website optimizer!

The moral of the story: Test, test test! And if testing is too big of a pain for you to keep doing, then we’ll do it for you. Testing and improvement is part of our culture. :)

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2 Responses to “The Importance of Testing – Even Google Does It”

  1. Andy Komack (1 comments.) says:

    Shane – great screenshots! Glad you picked up on their own testing and brought that to everyone’s attention.

    Any insights into which versions appear to be working best for them?

  2. Chris Goward (1 comments.) says:

    Stealthy work, Shane! Google does indeed test their product pages with Google Website Optimizer (GWO).

    The Senior Product Manager for GWO, Tom Leung, recently showed me page variations they’re testing for the GWO signup page (at The test results in progress were showing that replacing the bullet feature list with a video was hurting conversion rates. The test is probably complete now as my page is back to the bullet list.

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