As Google increasingly pushes its automation features, many advertisers are left wondering – what does ad copy testing looks like in this day in age, and is it even needed? While Google’s optimize ad rotation model automatically chooses the best ad to show searchers, it’s still important to pause down ineffective ads and test new messaging on a regular basis. With the AdWords ad variations tool, you can easily test new messaging without additional ad creation or manual calculations.

What is the Ad Variations Tool?

Located in the drafts and experiments tab of the new AdWords interface, this powerful tool allows you to quickly launch ad tests across an account, a campaign, or subsections of an account. In addition, you can set the amount of traffic you would like to dedicate to an ad test. Not ready to commit your new ad to 50% of your traffic? Set it to a 25% traffic split for a more conservative approach. Feeling confident on an ad messaging test based on insights from another channel? Set the split to 75% to gain insights more quickly.

If that’s not enough to convince you to try the tool, Google also provides statistical significance indicators. Gone are the days of manually having to pull ad copy test results and calculate statistical significance in excel spreadsheets. Plus, Google stores all your historical tests in a dashboard so that you know what, when, and where you tested ads and their results.


·       Quickly launch tests across an account or specific campaigns

·       Schedule specific durations and traffic splits (from 1% to 99%)

·       Running log of all current and previous ad tests

·       Quickly apply or pause ad test based on performance at any point

·       Applies current ad test to all new applicable ads

Current Limitations

·       Only works on Expanded Text Ads

·       Only works for text updates; landing page updates not currently supported

·       May be finicky with some 3rd party tracking software providers that use additional tracking templates

How to Get Started

1.       Navigate to the “Drafts & Experiments” tab of the new AdWords interface

2.       Within the Ad Variations sub tab, click the + icon to create a new ad variation

3.       Select campaign and ad copy filters to determine which ads will have new variations created

4.       Create new variations through find & replaces, updated text, or headline swaps

5.       Clearly name your variation name for reporting purposes

6.       Enter a start and end date (if applicable) and the experiment traffic split

7.       Create the variation, and you’re done!

Evaluating Tests & Taking Action

To evaluate your tests, take a look at performance in the nifty performance dashboard as performance data accumulates. When your primary testing KPI metric reaches statistical significance, you can move forward with next steps. AdWords gives you the flexibility to pause or apply the ad variation at any time.

If the test is outperforming with statistical significance:

– Pause original ads and create new ads with this variation (best when looking to replace a current strong performing ad)

– Keep original ads and create new ads with this variation (useful when you are looking to add additional strong performing ads into the rotation)

Do not use the following option: “Remove original ads and create new ads with this variation.” We never recommend deleting out ads with historical data; it’s better to simply pause them

If the test is underperforming with statistical significance, simply pause the test when desired.

It’s as simple as that – no more bulksheets or manual calculations. With the ad variations tool, you can develop your ad testing strategy faster and test with ease. If you need help with your ad copy strategy, contact our team.