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Stats and Insights from a Test of Keyword-insertion Code in Google Ads

Using keyword-insertion code in Google Ads drives a better CPA than typing the keyword in headline 1.

This finding comes from a test that we at DOM conducted over many months, across many accounts. Read on for high-level insights, stats by industry, and general observations.

Specifically, we conducted a test focused on the ad copy in headline 1 of Google ads. We compared using keyword-insertion code against typing in the keyword for which that ad was designed. For example:

Google Ads example of ad copy headlines

The Test by the Numbers

  • 260 Ads

  • 10 Accounts

  • 5 Months

  • 603,296 Impressions

  • 23,505 Clicks

  • 771.58 Conversions

  • $38,721.05 Cost

High-level Insights

Here are our findings at the highest level:

Totals by Headline 1, Code or Typed

In words, the data shows:

{Keyword-Insertion Code in Headline 1}

  • Better conversion rate
  • Better cost per thousand impressions
  • Better cost per acquisition/action/conversion

Typed Keyword in Headline 1

  • Better click-through rate
  • Better cost per click

Stats by Industry

Here is that same data broken out by account industry:

Stats and Insights from a Test of Keyword-insertion Code in Google Ads

General Observations

Ads with keyword-insertion code in headline 1 served more frequently than ads with a typed keyword in headline 1.

Sum of impressions

This suggests that the Google algorithm finds keyword-insertion ads to be a better match with search intent. And thus Google serves the keyword-insertion ads more frequently.

So, should you give up on taking the time to put typed keywords into your headlines? Well, no. Not exactly.

First, recognize that ads with typed keywords did beat out keyword-insertion ads on CTR and CPC. These metrics may be more important than CPA earlier in a campaign when you don’t have enough conversion data to successfully employ maximize conversions (or a similar conversion-dependent bidding strategy).

Second, looking closely at the stats by industry reveals that sometimes plain old typed keywords performed better across the board.

Stats and Insights from a Test of Keyword-insertion Code in Google Ads

Here ads with typed keywords in headline 1 performed better than keyword insertion ads for our computer hardware account.

Conclusion

Our test found that using keyword-insertion code in Google Ads drives a better CPA than typing the keyword in headline 1.

This result was not uniform across every account.

Therefore, test, Test, TEST!

Check out our Beginner’s Guide to CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) for more thoughts on testing.

Plus, see these blog posts for step-by-step instructions to set up pivot tables. (Pivot tables are on display in the screenshots above. They are powerful.)

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