Create 100 Different Ad Variations in 5 Minutes

Testing ad copy is one of those “must haves” if you’re going to be successful in PPC advertising.  It demands version after version of new ad variations, so the set-up can be tedious.  Since few of us have the tireless, creative thesaurus-like brain required for such a task, we turn to ad optimizers for help.

Fortunately, using SpyFu will help you fast-track this practice.

Where it lands in the process

As we explained in our keyword and ad copy testing article, we suggest this order when testing:

  1. Choose your keywords
  2. Create ad copy variations
  3. Test your ad copy variations
  4. Test your keywords

Since the SpyFu site equips you with multiple ways to find profitable keywords (step 1), let’s focus on step 2: create ad copy variations.

First, get inspiration

Enter and search a basic keyword from your campaign in SpyFu. Scroll down to the Ad History section or open the tab.

The results show you the domains that have advertised on this term in the past 12 months, complete with the ad copy that each one used.

You see a chart full of rectangles–each one representing an ad for the month.  We search the ads every month, and any time we would see changes to ad copy, we’d update the chart with a new number for the new version of ad copy. Or, if they reverted back to an old version, we’d list that number so that you could see patterns emerge.

You easily spot where an advertiser shifted gears from one variation (V1, V1, V1, V2, V3) and where they stuck with ad copy that brought them the results they wanted. (V1, V2, V3, V4, V3, V3, V3, V3).

Successful Ad History

Spotting good and bad copy

We expect to see advertisers testing their copy. It might be a V1, V2, V3, V4 string of variations, and occasionally they try something again (V1, V2, V3, V1, V1) or keep trying to improve. (V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6…)

However, if they test previously-run versions and never return to an earlier ad, you can take that as a good sign that the ad they stopped running just didn’t work for them.

Successful Ad

In the image above, V11 is a workhorse ad. Sure, they might find a better variation in the future, and when they do, keep an eye on it. Because here, version 11 is their trusted copy that works better than 19 other tries. Even without seeing their conversion rate or CTR (truer marks of success), we can make careful assumptions that this ad copy performs well for them.

We suggest: Delete the copy where previous advertisers cut bait, and keep the versions that look strong.

Save your ideas (spreadsheet, Google doc, Evernote…), and repeat this exercise with a new keyword.

Create hundreds of ad copy variations.

With the ad copy variations you select, you can break apart headlines from other ad components like body lines #1 and #2.  Now you are ready to put your ad optimizer to work.  (We like for its streamlined technique.)

Load in variations of the ad elements, and the ad optimizer will soon build combinations that help you test Headline A against Headline B in your campaign in as few steps as possible.

Soon, you will have amassed ad copy that you can test for your niche that still comes across engaging enough to convert.  Good luck!

  • Michael Romano

    Interesting tool with nice graphics, but I don’t see how this tells you which ads were most “successful” since you can’t see click-through rate (CTR) or conversions.

    • Sidra Condron

      One of the things we touched on is that if you have a string of variations (like we show you) in chronological order, you can take some clues from which versions they stopped and which versions they returned to.

      Michael, you’re right that true success is measured in conversions and long-term value. Without knowing that info, we’re going to rely on what we *can* get for any domain over a long stretch of time.

      Thanks for making a great point. I’m going to update the article to reflect it.