The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization, Part 2

Kye Mou
August 15, 2012

From selecting creative elements for testing to reaching statistical significance, this four part blog series reviews basic and advanced tips for conducting a successful creative test. Last week, we discussed how to select an appropriate test, maintain keyword relevance and limit opportunity costs. Today, in part two of this four part series, we’ll take a look at how to prioritize and test keyword tokens and leverage dynamic keyword insertion to increase creative relevancy.

Test Keyword Tokens

Keyword tokens within a creative will appear in bold whenever they match or closely match a user’s search query. Tokens are the individual terms that make up a keyword. For example, the keyword “mens hiking backpacks” contains three tokens: “mens”, “hiking” and “backpacks”. Improve the relevancy of your creative to your keywords by testing tokens. Discovering the most relevant tokens promotes higher Quality Scores by increasing CTR.

A highly granular group might only contain keyword variations using the three tokens “mens”, “hiking” and “backpacks”. Generating creative that includes these tokens is rather trivial. Conversely, a very general group might support more tokens and additional keyword variations. Consider the search results below, where each creative utilizes a different set of the search query’s tokens. A group might contain keyword variations of “mens hiking backpacks”, “mens rucksacks” and “mens bags”. Though all three keywords share similarities, generating a relevant creative for this group proves to be a difficult task. Opting to include “rucksacks” rather than “backpacks” makes the creative less relevant to consumers searching for backpacks. Not including “mens” makes the creative less relevant to male consumers. Without splitting these keyword variations out into individual groups, deciding which tokens to include will require thorough testing.

Testing Tokens Search Results

To prioritize your test variables, pay close attention to the impression share of each token within the group. For instance, assume keywords that contain the token “backpacks” account for 90% of the total group impressions and keywords that contain the token “packs” account for 20% of the total group impressions. Because searchers are more likely to include “backpacks” in their query, generating a creative that includes “backpacks” will likely results in a greater overall CTR than a creative that includes “packs”.

Leverage Dynamic Keyword Insertion

One of the easiest ways to incorporate keyword tokens within creative is through the use of dynamic keyword insertion. Inserting {keyword:default text} into the headline, description line or display URL dynamically populates the creative to include the keyword that triggered the creative. In Google, modifying the keyword insertion parameter controls which tokens in the keyword are capitalized. For both publishers, if the inserted keyword causes the creative to exceed the character limitations, the default text is used instead. For example:


Dynamic Keyword Insertion Default

Inside Limit: Keyword: [red hiking boots]

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Inside Limit

Outside Limit: Keyword: [mountain hiking boots]

Dynamic Keyword Insertion Outside Limit

Using dynamic keyword insertion multiple times in a single creative is a quick and effective way to increase relevancy. However, keep in mind that not all keywords make grammatical sense when inserted into a creative. Take the headline “Shop {KeyWord: Hiking Boots}” for example. If the keyword triggering the creative was “hiking boot”, the headline would read “Shop Hiking Boot”. Even a simple keyword variation such as this can result in an awkward-sounding creative. Granular and organized groups with well-written creative will benefit most from dynamic keyword insertion—resulting in increasing CTRs and Quality Scores.

To Be Continued

Adhering to best practices and avoiding common pitfalls will help ensure that new iterations of creative will incrementally improve account performance. Though search marketers cannot guarantee that all creative tests will be successful, they can guarantee that all creative tests have been set up for success. In part three of this series, we’ll review two additional best practices for creative optimization.

Download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization for additional best practices and two case studies from BoostCTR on how they successfully test and optimize creative.

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