The Importance of Split Testing for Paid Advertising

Two marketing executives within the same clothing company firmly believed that they had the best idea for a holiday promotion. In the olden days, there’d be a lot of arguments before one man’s idea would prevail and the others would falter. Often times, there would be no real data to support which marketing guru was right and which one was wrong in this type of situation.Fast forward to the digital age that we now live in. Within 24-hours, an A vs. B test could be set-up online where two sets of display advertisements could be targeted to the same demographic. Each marketing executive would get to see how his or her respective campaign performs. Based off of the click through rate of the display advertisement and the conversion rate on the landing page (total sales generated) there could be a clear-cut winner to determine which promotion was the most successful.

If you are a digital marketer working in the online advertising space, split testing needs to become a part of your vocabulary (if it isn’t already). Let’s look at several examples of online advertising A vs. B testing that should become a part of every online advertisers game-plan moving forward.

Ad Copy Testing:

Within Google Adwords, it is critical to have multiple variations of ad copy. The verbiage on your headline and description can make all of the difference between making a conversion and someone never clicking on your ad. For starters, create two different headlines and two different descriptions and see which one performs the best. By constantly testing, you’ll start to learn what messaging resonates the best with your audience.

Click through rate and percentage served will be the most telling measurements as to the top performers of the advertising copy. Google provides great tips for creating successful text ads.

An apartment community that put the suburb of the city instead of the actual city saw nearly a 45% jump in click through rate in their advertisements:

Title 1: New Polaris Apartments = 14.80% CTR
Title 2: Top Columbus Apartments = 8.55% CTR

Landing Page Testing:

You have mastered testing out your ad copy and description and now want to take this one step further. Create two different variations of a landing page where you will send the user after they click on your ad. If you dominate your landing page experience, you’ll be able to drive more conversions and decrease your bounce rate.

According to, every landing page should have the following:

1. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

  • The main headline
  • A supporting headline
  • A reinforcement statement
  • A closing argument

2. The hero shot (images/video showing context of use)

3. The benefits of your offering

  • A bullet point list summary of benefits
  • Benefit and features in detail

4. Social proof (I’ll have what she’s having)

5. A single conversion goal – your Call-To-Action (CTA) (with or without a form)


You will be amazed with the difference that adding a video instead of an image and changing up your headline on the landing page can make. Knowing that a winning landing page strategy can increase conversions makes it a must for all online marketers.

Display Advertising Testing:

Just like how changing the text up can make all the difference for PPC advertisements, changing up the imagery can drastically change the results of your display advertising campaigns.

A local heating and cooling company were running generic display advertisements throughout the course of the entire year offering both of their services. By creating two different sets of advertisements (one for air conditioning and one for heating) and running these respectively based off of the warm and cold weather months, their click-through-rate and conversion rate doubled.

Continue to tweak the imagery and messaging on display advertisements as this can make a big difference in conversions for your company.

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.

David Ogilvy

This quote should be bolded, printed out and taped onto every online advertisers office wall. If you are not willing to test, you won’t see massive improvements to your online campaigns.

display marketing

Jason Parks

Jason Parks

Jason Parks is the President and Founder of The Media Captain and Cleveland Marketing King, two digital marketing and development agencies based in Ohio. He's a VIP Contributor for and has been featured in the New York Times, Yahoo News and Search Engine Watch on digital-marketing topics. Jason's agencies have helped hundreds of businesses increase their online exposure.

The First Machine Learning Marketing Platform
Built to Scale Search for Local Resellers & Agencies

Automate, optimize and track more campaigns, more profitably.