AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) were first introduced by Google back in 2010 as an easier way for advertisers to statistically test for the significance of making changes to their campaigns. Prior to this, testing was a very manual process of duplication and analysis. ACE offered a way to segment a proportion of traffic for test variations directly within the AdWords interface. However, more recently in February of this year, Google announced a similar new AdWords feature called Campaign Drafts & Experiments which also allowed advertisers to test variations within campaigns. Many expected this feature would eventually replace ACE and – as predicted – Google announced this week that, advertisers will no longer be able to create AdWords Campaign Experiments (ACE) after 17th October 2016.

What’s new in AdWords Drafts & Experiments?

Interestingly, Google chose to make this announcement via Google+ rather the usual Inside AdWords channel. They explained that these changes were designed to make testing and reviewing changes to your AdWords campaigns much more accessible than previously available through ACE. However, the primary difference between the old ACE and the new Campaign Draft & Experiments is rather more process driven.

While the old format required users to add experiments to a live campaign, the new format of creating campaign ‘drafts’ allows the user to create variations of current campaigns by changing keyword bids, ads, bid adjustments, without setting any of these changes live. You can save these effectively “mirrored” campaigns with its changes and launch them at a later date.

The draft campaign ‘experiment’ enables you to set your newly built ‘draft’ campaign live at a time of your choosing – and run it in parallel with your original ‘control’ campaign. This means that you can easily split test the two campaign variations and compare against one another. You can set this up to run for a specific time duration and assign a pre-defined portion of your budget & traffic to the “draft” experiment test variation. Similarly to ACE, AdWords then analyses performance for statistical significance and reports a winner/loser variation from the test if one is found.

How will this help users?

The new feature effectively adds an additional layer to the experiment process. However, the benefits of creating drafts before implementing the experiment is clear to see.

One benefit involves a more transparent and easier to understand review process before pushing test changes live. For agencies, this has the added benefit of transparently communicating changes to campaigns for review by clients before pushing live.

Additionally, the new format brings a greater sense of control & accessibility.  The ability to make multiple changes in existing campaign structures without actually pushing these live will hopefully see a higher number of advertisers embracing a more scientific approach to testing within AdWords.

To find out more about AdWords draft & experiment campaigns – or anything else related to the world of digital experience – please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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Michael Yu

I’m a Digital Solutions Coordinator here at Reprise, specialising in paid search - working across some of Australia’s largest brands. I also have experience in email marketing at a direct marketing agency. I look forward to expanding and sharing my knowledge in the digital marketing sphere.