The Sleeping Giant: Ad Factors in Conversion Rates & ROI


If you’ve done multivariate tests across AdWords to a single landing page in order to optimize the ad you know a little known truth about conversion rate optimization from media that not many realize. The ad creative (alone) can have an enormous factor of influence on conversion rates.

I’ve also seen results from multivariate tests on display ads that included factors of the banner and factors of the landing page across a single test. What I’ve seen is the main factors of influence that effect conversion rate are from the ad. Yet, when we think about optimizing for conversion rate we almost always think about optimizing landing pages. Why?

In the past few years I’ve given quite a few presentations on ad testing & optimization – here’s one of them. This became really important in search with the advent of quality score in 2006. As ads become more advanced both through third-party ad serving in display and with Google’s ability to serve rich media ads and widgets on Search results pages, the factor or influence ads can and will have over ROI and conversion rates will only increase. The other factor on the horizon that may wake the sleeping giant is the rising use of PPA or CPA based pricing from search and display.

Ads set expectations that your product/service must deliver on. We all know the Friday newspaper auto ads that bait and switch. Ads that “just get them to the showroom” are not good enough online. The ad is part of the user experience as much as the SERP and the landing page and deserves the same level of attention to testing and optimization. Soon it will demand it.


One response to “The Sleeping Giant: Ad Factors in Conversion Rates & ROI”

  1. Giovanna Avatar

    What a good post. It was referenced at a private forum and folks were giving it lots of praise. I will subscribe to your feed.


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