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Set up an ad variation

This article only applies to the new AdWords experience. Check which AdWords experience you’re using.

Identifying which of your ads are performing the best can be challenging especially on a large scale. Ad variations makes it easy for you to test multiple versions of your ads by changing up the headline or description text, testing out different promotions or highlighting the benefits of your products and services in various ways. Variations cannot be applied to final URLs. 

This article explains how to set up an ad variation. If you would like to learn about the benefits of ad variations and when to use them, go to About ad variations.


  1. Sign in to your AdWords account.
  2. Click on the Drafts & experiments page menu.
  3. Click on the Ad Variations tab.
  4. Select the campaign you wish to run ad variations for.
  5. You can narrow your ad selection by choosing the ad type then establish rules in the Filter ads section:
    • Filter text ads by the headlines, description and path fields
  6. Expand the Create variation option to choose which type of variation you wish to apply to your ads. Keep in mind that variations are case sensitive.
    • Find and replace. Changes text within the ad and replaces it with another. For example, you may want to test a variation of your ad by replacing “Book now” with “Call now”.
    • Update text. Modifies existing text in the ads.
    • Swap headlines. Swaps headlines 1 and 2.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. Give your ad variation a name.
  9. Set the start date and end date of when you would like to run the ad variations.
  10. In Experiment split, enter the percentage of your campaign’s traffic you wish to allocate for the ad variations.
  11. Click Create variation.

Apply the ad variation

Once you have created the ad variation, apply the ad variation using the following steps:

  1. Click Drafts & experiments from the page menu on the left.
  2. Click on the Ad variations tab, which lists the ad variations you’ve created, along with information about each variation.
  3. Click Apply.

Things to note about ad variations

  • It may take some time for the modified ads to complete the review process and to start running, depending on the size of your original campaign. 
  • As the variations of your ads run, you can monitor its performance. Learn how to do this.
  • When you apply an ad variation, the performance metrics you see only apply to the modified ads. Your variation may not apply to other ads in the same campaign.
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