Why Did We Pause That Ad?: A Testament to Test Tracking

For those of you who have managed paid search accounts with more than a handful of campaigns, you most likely have asked or heard the question, “Why Did We Pause That Ad?”.

You sift through a few folders and search through old emails to figure out why or when “that” paid search ad got paused.

You whipped up some brilliant ad copy for an A/B test. You knew this would help boost CTR. You know you will remember 3 weeks from now why you launched the test. And you will certainly remember the outcome and how to apply it across other campaigns.

A week later you pause a few ad copy variations, one being a part of your “test”. You look back two months later, test forgotten, and have no idea “why you paused that ad”.

Many paid search managers fall into this cycle, making valuable optimizations, but having little to show for it in terms of reasoning, performance documentation, and next steps. This process is especially crucial when it comes to agency/client relations. Therefore, our team here at Delphic Digital has developed, what we have epicly named, “The Campaign Matrix”, which houses all campaign and test briefs, reports, and small-scale ad and landing page tests in one streamlined document.

  

This shared document allows our marketing team, account team, management team, and clients full access to the “WHATS”, “WHENS” & “WHYS” of testing and campaign implementation. Each initiative gets an ID that links to a high-level brief, which explains why we are running the test or initiative, our forecasts/hypotheses, assets, date range, and budget if applicable. We map out  test/campaign timing, and provide links with each report. This enables us to organize briefs, report delivery, and next steps. We utilize this for all paid marketing initiatives including paid search, display, and affiliate marketing, however you can easily expand this to SEO and beyond.

How Does the Matrix Help Enterprise Sized Clients?

  • Streamlines large and small scale initiatives

  • Creates accountability for test & report delivery

  • Delivers one document to review planning & test results

  • Visualizes overlapping campaign initiatives with a clear timeline

  • Provides client with ongoing insight and access into account optimization

Now, “Why Did We Pause That Ad?” I do not recommend spending too much time on reporting and setup for small-scale testing, but these are often the pieces that get lost in the day-to-day shuffle. To manage these, as you can see in the first line of the matrix, I created an overarching line item for all small-scale testing. On an additional tab, I keep track of when a test was launched, and when I need to check in. I always schedule report check-ins on my calendar to make sure I do not forget to pull the performance on these tests so next steps can be taken.

This tracker is simple, but serves as a quick and effective way to hold yourself accountable for paid search or display testing. The Reporting Column C links to a quick brief that includes Campaign Name, Performance Metrics, Test Assets, Results & Actions. We utilize Google Docs for internal sharing, however, any project management platform can be used to share the matrix across account and client teams.

Be sure to name your tests clearly so that you know at a glance what you were testing. The key is to maintain an updated, and accurate record of testing results so that you and your client can keep track of on-going optimizations, and avoid any test duplication.

This is just one example of how to track small-scale tests and larger account initiatives, but the main takeaway is TRACK YOUR WORK! Organizing your plans, initiatives, and testing will free up time to work on more strategic initiatives. Cataloguing data in one, digestible document will help you render more valuable insights and allow your clients to better understand the value your team provides.

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