In a recent Win of the Week, Danny A. asks a good question:

 

If Ad #2 has more than one variable that’s different from Ad #1 then how do you really know which variable is responsible for the improvement in CTR? Would it be better to use the same body copy and just test two different headlines, then find a winner and test two different versions of body copy with the winning headline?

 
Let me tackle these two questions in reverse…

 
Testing only two headlines against each other while leaving the body copy alone… or vice versa… is a good approach, especially if you’re testing the same concept but using different words to describe the concept.

 
These types of tests usually involve testing two or more synonyms. For example:

 

  • Does the market respond better to “Start Today” or “Start Now”? Or does it make no difference?
  • How about “No problem” vs. “No sweat”? Both phrases mean the same thing… but does the market respond to one particular word or phrase more than another?

 
I think this “granular” level of testing has its place.

 
But in many cases, you will get more bang for your buck by testing two totally different approaches. To test a totally different approach, you will probably need a new theme or concept, which will require both new title copy and new body copy.

 
The other question Danny asks is this: “If Ad #2 has more than one variable that’s different from Ad #1, then how do you really know which variable is responsible for the improvement in CTR?”

 
The short answer is, we don’t.

 
When it comes to analyzing why one ad wins and another loses, we’re making educated guesses based on our experiences.

 
But I can tell you this: After analyzing dozens of PPC ad contests, it becomes easier to spot the deciding factors because they repeat often in the winning ads.

 
For proof of this, I recommend going back through our Win of the Week columns. You’ll find many of the same principles at work in the winning ads.

 
ryan-healy About the Author: Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and BoostCTR writer. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth.