The biggest mistakes to avoid when testing your ads

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The biggest mistakes to avoid when testing your ads

Paid advertising is incredibly easy to access and can be very powerful when in the right hands. Get it wrong, however, and you could end up throwing hundreds or even thousands of hard-earnt budget down the drain. Are you trying to break through in a competitive industry? Then you’re going to need campaigns that are refined to bring you as much return on your investment as possible.

Due to the competitive nature of paid ads, it’s incredibly important to carry out a series of tests in order to learn what works best. If you don’t test, you’ll never know the difference between a good PPC ad and a bad one. In this article, we’re letting you know exactly which mistakes you need to avoid when testing your PPC campaigns. Read through these pointers to make sure you’re not losing piles of conversions through common errors. First, we’ll start with:

Not testing at all

Pay-per-click is an advertising minefield. When you first start out, it can be tricky to predict just how successful the campaign will be. The only way to find out is to test, but more importantly, to test correctly. If you’re not doing any testing at all, you’re essentially flying completely blind and you’re bound to be throwing buckets of your budget away on ads that are not making the gains they could be.


You need to continuously look for what works and tweak what doesn’t. Only by learning from this trial and error process can you begin to truly refine your campaigns for maximum results. To get started, you should be running at least two ads per keyword set (ad group). As soon as you run two, you’re effectively split-testing one ad design against the other. Once you’ve learnt which one works best, you can get rid of the less productive design and write a new ad to further compare ideas. Every time you weigh up at least two different ads, you’re increasing the ROI from your campaign.

Not having conversion tracking in place

One of the most common mistakes people make with online ads is to measure performance purely based on click-through-rate (CTR). CTR is an important consideration, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Your budget is not endless, so efficiency and ROI should actually be your priority – this is where conversion tracking really makes a difference.


With conversion tracking for individual keywords and ads, you take the guessing game out of the equation and put a gauge on whether or not the ads are reaching their revenue potential. For best results, you need to be looking at click-through-rates as well as conversion rates to get an idea of the effectiveness of each ad. On top of this, you also need to be considering the cost-per-lead or return-on-ad-spend. This is the key combination of metrics that will help you identify how much each conversion is actually costing you.

Running too many tests for your budget

Running tests is vital, but running too many at once can be detrimental to your efforts and your wallet. Every set of ads will come with a bill, so the more you test at once, the faster your budget will be used. No test has any meaningful value until it’s seen a certain level of traffic. Just like when you run any kind of study, the more participants within the study, the more credible the insights are.

As a simple benchmark, you should be aiming for at least 100 clicks for an ad or keyword before you can start assessing it. If you’re running two ads per ad group, you’ll need over 200 clicks before you can really weigh up the stats of those ads. If these clicks are costing you £1.50 – £2.00 each, it’ll cost you at least £300 to reach a point where you can effectively compare those two designs. You can see how the costs can quickly mount up and one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to eat way into your budget before you’ve really gathered enough data per ad to actually learn anything.


You need your volume of ad sets to match up with the budget you want to allocate to PPC. If you have a monthly budget of £3000 and the avg cost-per-click is £2, you’ll be able to achieve around 1500 clicks with that budget. These numbers would mean you can effectively run up to 7 ad groups that feature 2 ads each. Ignore these guidelines and you could fall into the trap of creating too many ads that soak up your investment without giving you back the information you desperately need to make drastic improvements.

Not concentrating enough on optimized ads

You should stick to only spending a specific portion of your overall budget on tests; it is your already-optimised ads which will be getting that all-important ROI. Your overall ROI from PPC is the key, so you don’t want to be packing away your budget on too much testing. If one of your ads is doing really well with a great return-on-ad-spend, duplicate it to maintain a solid ROI from the entire ad group while having one or two ads as a test.


These are the main mistakes to watch out for while when testing your latest PPC campaigns. Think we’ve missed anything or have further questions? Feel free to get in touch or leave a comment below! We’ll be happy to go over any other concerns you might have!