AdWords recently released a new tool that’s helping our team test and implement ideas on accounts faster and better. Draft Campaigns allows us to set-up of an entire draft version of a campaign before launching. This alone would be a worthwhile feature for any account manager, but AdWords has taken it a step further, letting us use these draft campaigns for experiments.
Draft Campaigns allow for account managers to create alternate versions of existing campaigns with any desired adjustments to most of the settings and set-up. Account Managers could set-up a campaign with a new Ad Group Structure, new Ad Copy, different bids, a different Bid Schedule or even a combination of those and many other factors. These draft campaigns are stored in the account under a new sidebar tab where additional changes can be made and new draft campaigns added.
To set up a Draft Campaign, click on the campaign you wish to make a draft of, and then click on the Drafts button next to the Date Selector and hit Create New.
When the pop-up appears, be sure to enter a name that explains what the draft campaign is going to be, as this will help you identify it in reporting and analysis.
Once you’re set up, changes can be made much like any active campaign with very few restrictions, most importantly some bid strategies are currently unavailable for use in drafts and testing. For a full list of restrictions, see this post from AdWords.
Note – You’re allowed to have multiple draft campaigns, so if you have different ideas for a new approach, creating multiple drafts may be a great way to share ideas with your team and clients.
The real highlight of Draft Campaigns is the ability to test them against existing campaigns. Draft campaigns can run against existing campaigns much like Campaign Experiments run, select an experimental split and timeframe and you’re off to the races.
To set up an experiment using Draft Campaigns, first go to the draft campaign you wish to test, and hit the apply button in the upper right hand corner. Name your experiment, select a start and end date and then select a percentage split. This split refers to the percentage of traffic or budget you’d like to allocate to your experimental campaign. Keep in mind that you cannot change the split once you’ve launched the experiment without ending and restarting it.
Once your experiment is running, go to your All Experiments tab in the left navigation and click on your experiment. From here you can view a performance comparison of your experiment versus the original campaign. While I’ll always export the data for manipulation, this new top bar is a lot less cumbersome than the old segment tab for quickly evaluating how an experiment may be doing.
When experiments are running, reports will filter data by campaign name, making it easy to export data and compare it outside of the AdWords portal. Another upside of this feature is that these same campaign names carry though to Google Analytics and give us the capacity to compare other site metrics to help make decisions on experiments.
Here at Hall we’re very excited about this new feature for AdWords. It gives us a simpler solution for testing new strategies and bigger ideas effectively. My current favorite thing to test in this system is Time of Day bid allocations, which was difficult to effectively test until now. Draft Campaigns and experiments give us a better avenue for looking at how all the moving parts of an effective AdWords campaign interact and change and are proving to be a great new tool in our toolbox.