Performance Marketing Expert

Google AdWords Draft Campaigns: A Better Way to A/B Test!

At Rise, we’re constantly challenging assumptions and exploring new ideas. One of the ways that we’re doing this is through A/B tests, where we take something of interest, test it in two different ways, and learn from the results. The data generated from these learnings helps us improve click-through-rates, increase quality scores, and lower cost-per-clicks.

Between our own proprietary technology and the capabilities provided by Google AdWords, Rise has access to a very robust tool chest. One of these tools, AdWords Campaign Experiments, proves extremely useful, but had lacked some desired functionality and was a tad cumbersome to implement. Recently, our team at Rise gained access to a closed beta version of a new, complementary tool from Google, draft campaigns. This new feature is gradually rolling out to AdWords accounts, and we were excited to take it for a test drive to see how it can even further enhance our testing capabilities and the success of our clients’ campaigns.


What are draft campaigns?

A draft campaign copies an existing campaign within AdWords and allows you to make a plethora of changes before assigning it a portion of your original campaign’s budget. Both the live and draft campaigns will then run side-by-side as an experiment, enabling you to collect data and understand which is the best performer.


How can draft campaigns help your AdWords program?

There are three major gains from draft campaigns:

Ease of use

Since draft campaigns uses a copy of the original campaign, there are no additional variables to adjust, making it much easier to use than AdWords Campaign Experiments alone. After the updates are made to the draft, the user decides what percentage of budget to apply to the draft campaign before initiating the test. AdWords then uses each campaign interchangeably throughout the day based on the chosen distribution.

Higher quality of data

Since an A/B test is driven and optimized based on the data you collect, it’s important to make sure your data is accurate. Running the campaigns side-by-side at the same time and with the same competition, seasonality, and one-off events (think holidays, hurricanes, stock market crashes, and other occurrences that may affect online behavior) will provide you with consistent data.

Ability to A/B test areas that were not previously testable

One factor that is historically hard to test accurately is whether a certain keyword bid or average position in the AdWords auction drives a better cost-per-lead, cost-per-click, or return-on-advertising-spend. Without draft campaigns, this is typically a before and after test, which can lead to less accurate data. The top spot will grant you the most clicks; however, it’s also important to understand if the top spot is worth the cost. If the auction places you too low, then perhaps you are not generating enough click volume. This then turns into an artful balancing act, as there is no one solution that is true for every keyword or client. By being able to test these factors within draft campaigns, you can gather the insight necessary to make these important campaign decisions.


We’re already thinking of ideas and capabilities with this new tool that we’re excited about implementing. While draft campaigns has some similarities to AdWord’s Experiments and AdWords Campaign Experiments, we really think of this as a new edition of these tools. As you begin to brainstorm your own ideas, here is additional information and a few limitations to keep in mind, straight from Google.

To learn more about how you can use the tool to help test and optimize your own campaigns, reach out to Rise.

03/10/2016 at 12:00