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Set up a campaign experiment

After you’ve finished making edits to your draft, you can create an experiment from your draft and compare how your experiment performs against your original campaign over time. The experiment shares your original campaign traffic (and budget) and lets you test changes to your campaign so that you can make better informed decisions as to which tactics give you a better return on investment.

This article explains how to set up an experiment.  For more background about experiments, read About campaign drafts and experiments. 

Things to note about experiments

  • Experiments are only available for Search and Display Network campaigns. You won’t be able to create an experiment for Video, App or Shopping campaigns.
  • You can schedule up to five experiments for a campaign, but you can only run one experiment at a time.
  • It may take some time for your experiment’s ads to complete the review process and to start running, depending on the size of your original campaign. You may want to schedule your experiment to begin in the future to prevent it from starting before your ads have been reviewed.
  • As your experiment runs, you can monitor its performance

If you make changes to your original campaign, these changes won’t be reflected in your experiment. Making changes to either your original campaign or experiment while your experiment is running may make it harder to interpret your results.

Before you start

You need to create a draft before you set up a campaign experiment. If you haven’t yet created a draft, then read Set up a campaign draft.


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Set up an experiment

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click All drafts from the menu on the left-hand side, then click the name of the draft that you’d like to edit.
  3. Click the Apply… button in the top right-hand corner.
  4. Select Run an experiment.
  5. Enter a name for your experiment. Your experiment shouldn’t share the same name as your campaigns and other experiments.
  6. Select a start date for your experiment.
  7. If you’d like to end your experiment manually, then select “No end date”. Otherwise, select an end date for your experiment.
  8. Enter a percentage of the original campaign traffic that you’d like to allocate to your experiment. This is also the percentage of the original campaign budget that you’ll be allocating to your experiment.
  9. Click Create to finish creating your experiment.

Fix problems creating an experiment

In some instances, you may encounter an error when trying to create an experiment. Here are a few reasons why this could happen, along with steps that you can take to fix these errors.

  • Your original campaign has been removed: Try creating a draft from a different campaign.
  • Your original campaign already has a shared budget: Remove your campaign’s shared budget. Find out how.
  • Your original campaign already has an experiment running or scheduled during your selected dates: Try selecting dates that don’t coincide with another experiment.
  • Your campaign has features that aren’t supported by experiments: Try selecting a different campaign to convert into an experiment. Find out which features aren’t supported by experiments.

What you can do when you're ready to end your experiment

If you’re happy with your experiment’s results, then you can apply your experiment to the original campaign or convert your experiment into a new campaign.

  • If you apply your experiment to your original campaign, the changes you were testing in your experiment will be applied to your original campaign.
  • If you convert your experiment into a new campaign, your original campaign will be paused and your experiment will show up in “All Campaigns” with the same budget and dates as your original campaign.

In both instances, your experiment’s performance data will be preserved. Learn more about how to apply your experiment.

If you prefer to simply end your experiment, you can do that by changing the end date of your experiment so it stops running at the close of the day. Learn more about making changes to your experiment.

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