Live Webinar: The PPC Advertiser’s Guide to Creative Testing

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We recently partnered with ReTargeter, one of the most popular retargeting and audience targeting solutions, for a free webinar next week.  As online advertising is becoming fiercely competitive, it’s never too early or too late to start testing new ad creative that will generate more clicks, traffic, and conversions.

 

The live event takes place on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 11am PT / 2pm ET.

 

Join this live webinar, as MixRank’s Ilya Lichtenstein and ReTargeter’s Caroline Watts walk you though how to implement this optimization strategy and how the the top advertisers use it to enhance performance with any campaign.

 

In this webinar you’ll learn:

 

Why your current campaigns are losing money and how to bring them back to life.

The elements that the top advertisers test to drive 3x more clicks from their campaigns

The most commobn mistake when split testing ad creative that will waste thousands of dollars on unprofitable impressions

How to instantly find case studies of real ad creative split tests from your top competitors

Examples of the top advertisers’ ad creative tests and how to learn from their successes

How to execute a methodical & statistically significant creative test: know when to pause the losing creative

 

After the presentation, there will be a live Q&A session in which our presenters will answer the attendees’ questions.

 

Space is limited, so make sure to register now!

 

701pages Decreases Time Spent on Creative Testing by 30% with MixRank

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701pages.com is the leading online search directory in Malaysia.  They provide coupons for local goods and services and free unbiased community reviews for over 100,000 merchants.  In 2012, they selected clickTRUE to manage and scale its online advertising campaigns.

 

After running campaigns for several months, 701pages and clickTRUE started seeing a decline in click-through rates.  To ensure their existing campaigns did not suffer further, they decided to refresh these campaigns with a new creative direction.  As they started launching new creatives to test, they encountered a roadblock. The trial and error period required a significant amount of time, preventing them from rapidly scaling their campaigns.

 

To increase efficiency, 701pages and clickTRUE turned to MixRank’s search engine for ads to gain insight into successful ads from similar industry advertisers.  MixRank’s data showed the contextual and banner ads from leading brands, the number of times the ads were shown, and the length of time the campaign ran for.  Ads with a higher frequency over a longer period of time indicated the ad performed well for the advertiser.

 

With these insights, 701pages and clickTRUE modeled their ad creatives based on what worked for other advertisers in the same industry, cutting their time to launch a campaign by 30%.  As a result, MixRank’s intelligent data allowed 701pages to scale their display campaigns more profitably at a rapid pace.

 

“When launching new campaigns, a quick glance at the banner ads indexed on MixRank offered my team remarkable perspectives.  We saved a substantial amount of time spent on testing new creative ads.”

 

— Jereme Wong, COO of clickTRUE Pte Ltd

 

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clickTRUE Pte Ltd was founded in 2008 and has quickly become one of Southeast Asia’s leading online marketing agencies for SEO, SEM, integrated PPC management, social media marketing, web development, web analytics, and conversion rate optimization.  clickTRUE manages over $10 million in online ad spend annually across a client list that includes leading brands such as Clinique, DKNY, HSBC Bank, Men’s Health and Panasonic. clickTRUE has since streamlined its creative testing process using MixRank as its strategic data source for successful ad creatives across a variety of verticals.

 

 

How to keep display ad A/B testing from blowing up in your face

This guest post is by Myles Younger, co-founder of Canned Banners. Canned Banners provides a platform and tools for automating and streamlining display ad design. Follow the company on Twitter at @cannedbanners.

Online advertisers, especially search marketers, understand the power of A/B testing. In search, the most successful advertisers will constantly A/B test hundreds of different ads. With the recent growth in display advertising, it’s logical for online marketers to try and apply their A/B testing expertise to the world of display.

However, data-driven marketers should be careful before diving into display advertising. This post is going to explain some key differences between search ads and display ads, and offer some tips on how to keep your display ad design budget (and your sanity) under control when you’re doing large-scale A/B tests.

Notes: I’m not including Facebook ads when I say “display ads.” That could be a whole other blog post, and I’m not really qualified to write it. Nor am I considering landing page optimization, which is a critical factor in ad testing, but I needed to keep my focus limited.

Search ads are simple. Display ads are complex.

Before we go further, it’s important to appreciate just how much more complex a display ad is versus a search ad. Here’s some rough math to give you an idea of the difference in complexity:

Why is complexity important? With search ads, your creative palette is constrained to one element: text. With display ads, you could potentially test an infinite variety of elements: text, color, imagery, fonts, animation, button style, etc. So while it’s almost impossible to create an “ugly” search ad, it’s very, very easy to make poor choices and create an ugly display ad.

Tip #1 — Start with good designs

Even though you might need to test potentially hundreds of different ad variations, don’t cut corners and launch with garbage ad creative. Finding out that Crappy Display Ad A beat Crappy Display Ad B is like learning that horse manure smells slightly better than dog poop. Don’t waste your money & time.

If you think you can randomly test crappy designs and eventually iterate your way to a perfect, beautiful display ad, read the previous graphic again (and maybe study up on how exponents work); the universe won’t be around long enough to perform all the necessary design iterations to hit paydirt. Launch with thoughtful, professional ad designs that you feel good about.

This doesn’t mean you need to spend weeks & weeks designing your first round of ads, but don’t just throw some clipart and tacky text effects into a box and call it a display ad. In general, ugly ads won’t perform very well and they’ll make you and/or your client look bad.

Once you’ve got some solid starting designs, you can go nuts with rapid iteration and experimentation.

And if you don’t know why the ad below on the left is godawful, read the next tip.

Tip #2 — Hire a professional

Most people are horrible designers. If you’re not confident in your design skills, hire someone to design a few templates that you can use. To get some good design ideas, browse around online and find well-designed display ads with layouts that could work well as templates.

And if you want a self-serve solution, that’s what my company does (I’ll leave it up to you to find our competitors and figure out why we’re better).

Tip #3 — Use stock photography

At Canned Banners, we see hundreds of display ads designed by amateurs. What’s the number one thing that ruins otherwise good ads? Bad frikkin’ photography. Do not cut corners and make ads using blurry snapshots from your smartphone. Go to inexpensive stock photo websites like istockphoto.com, thinkstock.com or shutterstock.com and buy high-quality photos taken by professional photographers.

Extra Tip-within-a-Tip: Most stock photo websites sell subscriptions. They can be pricey, but if you’re doing high-volume A/B testing, a subscription or package deal is going to be much cheaper than buying images one at a time.

Stock photo websites are also a quick source of design variations that you can test. Running a campaign for a real estate company? Use one ad template and buy 50 good real estate images (the nice house, the “for sale” sign, the happy homeowner couple, the happy agent, etc), throw them in your ads, and see which photos perform best.

That’s enough tips…for now

I could keep going for several more pages, but if you’ve read this far, thanks! I hope these tips give you some food for thought. If you have any questions about display ad design, email me here or follow @cannedbanners on Twitter.

Cheers!
Myles