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About campaign drafts and experiments

Drafts and experiments let you propose and test changes to your Search and Display Network campaigns. You can use drafts to prepare multiple changes to a campaign. From there, you can either apply your draft’s changes back to the original campaign or use your draft to create an experiment. Experiments help you measure your results to understand the impact of your changes before you apply them to a campaign.

This article explains how campaign drafts and experiments work so you can decide whether they fit into your overall advertising strategy.


Anthony helps run the advertising efforts for a medium-sized clothing company. His boss suggests that he try a new strategy for their search ads, and he'd like Anthony to show him the proposed changes before they are put into effect. Anthony creates a draft of an existing campaign in his company’s AdWords account. The draft lets him make changes at the campaign level before applying them to a campaign. After Anthony finishes making his changes in the draft, he shows them to his boss, who approves them. From there, he applies the draft back to the original campaign.

Next quarter, Anthony and his boss decide they want to change the bids for their campaign but they want to be confident these changes will improve performance. Anthony creates another draft with the bid changes and runs a month long experiment to test these changes against the original campaign. After measuring the experiment’s results at the end of the month, Anthony finds that his bid changes performed positively, so he applies his experiment to the original campaign.

How campaign drafts work

Drafts let you prepare multiple changes to a campaign without impacting its performance. When you create a draft, you’re mirroring your campaign’s setup. From there, you can make updates to your draft just as you would in a normal campaign. At any point, you can leave and return to your draft to make additional changes to it, or discard the draft altogether.

After you’ve finished drafting your changes, you can apply your draft to the original campaign or create an experiment to test how your changes perform against your original campaign.

Some features and reports aren't available for drafts. These include the following:

  • Dimensions tab
  • Ad schedule report
  • Category & Search terms
  • Auction Insights
  • Display Placements report
  • Scheduled email reports
  • Bid landscapes
  • Ad customizers that use "Target campaign" or "Target ad group"
  • Keyword diagnosis
  • Some automated bid strategies:
    • Target search page location
    • Target outranking share
    • Target return on ad spend (ROAS)

How campaign experiments work

After you’ve finished a draft, instead of applying your changes to your original campaign, you can convert your draft to an experiment. As you set up your experiment, you can specify how long you’d like it to run and how much of your original campaign’s traffic (and budget) you’d like it to use.

When a potential customer performs a search on Google or a search partner website, or loads a webpage on the Display Network we'll randomly make either your original campaign or your experiment active for the auction, depending on how you’ve split the traffic share between your campaign and your experiment.

As your experiment runs, you can monitor and compare its performance against your original campaign or change the dates of your experiment to end it early. If your experiment performs better than your original campaign, you may consider applying your experiment to the original campaign. You also have the option of converting your experiment into a new campaign with the same dates and budget as your original campaign and pausing your original campaign. Note that while you can have multiple drafts for a given campaign, only one of those drafts can run as an experiment at a time.

Features that aren’t supported by experiments

Experiments generally support the same features as campaigns, with a few exceptions:

  • Ad customizers that use "Target campaign" or "Target ad group"
  • Some automated strategies:
    • Target search page location
    • Target outranking share
    • Target return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • You won’t be able to create experiments on campaigns that have shared budgets. 
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