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Adwords Conversion Testing with Website Optimizer

Google Website OptimizerDealers are spending thousands of dollars each month on Google Adwords and few have tested the impact of different "landing page" designs on conversion.

The landing page is the first page where a consumer is taken when they click on your paid advertisement.

Conversion testing is CRITICAL for anyone using Google Adwords or any pay-per-click advertising solution.

If you could increase conversion by 5% on all your PPC traffic, what would that be worth to you each month? What about 10% or 15%?


Conversion Testing is The Holy Grail

The premise behind A/B testing is that you don't know if your landing page is setup to achieve optimal conversion unless you test the design. Changes in the design can include colors, photos, videos, and physical page layout.

Many single point stores have Pay-Per-Click budgets between $1,000 - $3,000 a month. Yet these same stores have not created a series of tests to determine which landing page designs will produce the best results.

Many PPC vendors do not offer individualized A/B testing since they claim to know which landing page design work best. If it was my money, I would want to see the test results from my local market.

Google provides a tool called Website Optimizer to give Adwords users TOOLS to test the impact of landing page designs. The problem with this tool is that it takes knowledge and time to setup and foresight on how to decide what to test. This is normally not an internal skill set inside a dealership.

The Automotive SEM Study, recently announced on, will test landing page design on member Adwords campaigns in a controlled environment. We will share the results of the A/B testing so that everyone can benefit from the knowledge that is collected.


Google Website Optimizer

Google Website Optimizer has two modes: Simple A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing. Today I will focus on the easiest testing which is A/B testing.

One of the learning examples in the Automotive SEM Study will be to take active users of Google Adwords and create a series of A/B or A/B/C testing on different landing pages to see which variations increase/decrease response rates.

The A/B testing in Google Website Optimizer is the "easiest" testing you can do because it requires you to create different landing pages for the test. Most website platforms will allow you to create pages on the fly, which could be these alternative landing pages. The more advanced forms of testing in Google Website Optimizer call "multivariate testing" will be discussed in a follow-up article.


The potential roadblock with Google Website Optimizer on automotive website platforms is that some vendors will limit "Java Code" can be placed on user generated website pages. As you can see from the diagram above, you need to place two pieces of code on the original page and then footer code on the alternative pages and the thank you page if someone submits a lead.


So What's The Big Deal?


Well, the code that you have the place on these pages are simple; Google provide it. The problem is that some website platforms don't allow you to insert Java Script code on website pages. If you are using open source microsites like WordPress, you have to make sure that WordPress doesn't rewrite/format the code.

For the Automotive SEM Study we will be using open source WordPress websites and we will show you how to use a free plugin called "Hana Code Insert" to drop in the needed code to your testing pages. If you would like to use your PRIMARY website for the SEM A/B testing, ask your vendor if they support Google Website Optimizer code.

We will also be looking into other website testing platforms that may simplify the study member experience; details will follow when the study officially starts on February 15th.

Industry veteran and conversion testing expert, Larry Bruce has offered his PPC testing platform to study members, so we will look into the latest version of his software and see if it matches with our study goals.


What Can We Get From A/B Testing?

If you have a budget that is large enough to generate enough traffic to your landing pages, you can start to see the impact of design, colors, phone number ,forms, or ANY on page element on conversion. For many car dealers this topic may be new but their instincts will tell them that they have NOT testing their landing pages.

If you are spending money on Google Adwords, isn't it time to start improving CONVERSION by testing different design layouts and call-to-action messages?

In the above example, Google will distribute clicks over all THREE pages and keep track of all statistics on these pages. You may find that Alternative B, which a lower down payment created higher conversion. Or you may find that Alternative A which featured the featured car with a lower monthly payment increased conversion. STOP GUESSING. START TESTING.

Understanding Google Adwords and PPC Testing Is Important

This is one of the many reasons why you should have your dealer peers register for the Automotive SEM Study. Isn't it time that our industry raises the bar on automotive PPC spending and refine our campaigns to increase CONVERSION?

Sign-up at:

The eight week study is free to the first 100 dealership employees that register with a dealership email address.

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