Optimizing Your AdWords Campaign Using Google’s Adwords Campaign Experiments (ACE)

October 12th, 2010

Google's AdWords Campaign ExperimentIf you haven’t heard of Google’s AdWords Campaign Experiment (ACE), or even worse have heard of it but haven’t started using it, it’s time to take a serious look at what ACE can do. Aside from lowering your Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), this feature can help lower the overall costs of your campaign, drive more traffic to your site, and put you ahead of your competition.

I set-up an experiment this morning to find out if raising our bid price by 15% would have any affect on one of our campaigns. Now it will probably take a few weeks for results to come back, in the meantime I will probably be making quite a few changes to our other campaigns before starting experiments with those.

You want to avoid making changes to a campaign while an experiment is going on as that can alter results. Much like the way in 8th grade science experiments where you have a control and independent variable, it is the same with AdWords experiments. Each experiment should really be made on a single variable.

Here are the possible features that you can target:
  • Google & The Search Network
  • new strategic bids on keywords (try using the Bid Simulator)
  • additional keywords
  • new ad text
  • new ad groups
  • keyword match types
  • ad group default bids (max CPC, or max CPA if campaign is using Conversion Optimizer)
  • keyword insertion
  • Display Network
  • bids on managed placements
  • additional placements
  • additional keywords for contextually-targeted ad groups
  • new text ads or display ads
  • new ad groups
  • max CPA bids if your campaign is running Conversion Optimizer
  • ad group default bids (max CPC, max CPM, or max CPA if campaign is using Conversion Optimizer)
  • remarketing
  • site exclusions

Google's AdWords Campaign ExperimentThere are some limitations to the experiment. The largest at this point is a lack of integration with AdWords Editor. While that is in the works, most search engine professionals that are used to using AdWords Editor on a daily basis will have some adjusting to do when going back to Google’s online system.

At this point you can not experiment with:
  • targeting of any sort, including (but not limited to):
  • geo- and language targeting
  • demographic targeting
  • network targeting
  • device targeting
  • bidding features
  • daily budget
  • ad extensions
  • ad scheduling
  • frequency capping
  • negative keywords

This area of Google’s help pages goes over ACE in pretty good detail, I would suggest watching the video overviews. They take about 10 or 15 minutes to go through all of them, but you’ll gain a pretty good insight in to Experiments, how to set them up, and how to monitor them.

Hopefully in 4 weeks I will be able to see some decent results from the experiment that I set up.  Good luck on your experimenting, let us know if you found any positive or negative results.

Jon Stroz

Jon Stroz is a marketing guru, mostly in online marketing strategies and brand management. After graduating from Towson University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, he quickly became an integral part of a technology firm in Baltimore, MD. Since then Jon has honed his marketing skills and focused on online marketing strategies where he is also a Google Adwords Certified Individual.

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