Test landing pages

About landing page tests

When a consumer searches for televisions, where should the ad click go? A promotional page? A product details page? Premium vs. budget product pages?

The DoubleClick Search (DS) landing page testing feature helps you answer this question by testing different landing pages to create the optimal post-click experience for the consumer. Post-click data gives you the information needed to identify pages that produce the best return on investment. You can then make changes to keyword-level landing pages based on these insights. After that, use DS reports to calculate the exact impact your landing page optimizations have made, even months after the tests have been run.

With landing page testing, you can:

  • Split search ad traffic among multiple landing pages and run randomized A/B tests. You can send equal amounts of traffic to all landing pages, or specify the percentage of traffic that each page in the test should receive.

  • Scope the test to specific keywords, or all keywords in an ad group, campaign, or engine account.

  • Report and compare conversions from each landing page in the test. Landing page tests can report on conversions recorded by Floodlight activities or by Google Analytics.

  • See a history of all tests that have been completed.

URLs in landing page tests

Each keyword that you add to a landing page test is associated with the following URLs:

  • The original landing page URL that you specified when you created the keyword. The test does not use or modify this URL.

  • The control landing page URL that you specify when you create the test. Usually, you’ll specify a URL for a landing page that you’ve been using for awhile. DS will redirect to this URL instead of the keyword’s original URL for a percentage of the clicks that a keyword generates.

  • One or more experiment landing page URLs that you specify when you create the test. DS will redirect to these URLs instead of the keyword’s original URL for a percentage of the clicks that a keyword generates.

URL requirements

Note the following requirements for URLs in landing page tests:

Original landing page URL for a keyword

In the keyword’s original landing page URL, the protocol, hostname, and path portion cannot contain dynamic parameters, such as ValueTrack parameters in AdWords or dynamic text in Bing Ads. For example, you cannot test a keyword with any of the following original landing page URLs: http://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}
http://{ifmobile:m.example.com}{ifnotmobile:www.example.com}

If you’re using the ifmobile and ifnotmobile parameters to direct traffic to different device types, you'll need to use an alternate form of the device-specific URL.

If the original landing page URL contains a dynamic parameter in the query string, DS will add the query string to the test’s clickserver URL. The engine will then provide a value for the query string, and DS appends the query string just before it redirects to the control or experiment URL.

If the original landing page URL contains a static query string, the engine's parameter-handling option determines whether DS adds the static query string to the test’s clickserver URL. If you select the Include all parameters (not full URL) option, then DS appends static query strings before it redirects to the control or experiment URL.

For example:
  1. A keyword’s original landing page URL is
    http://www.example.com/snow?matchtype={matchtype}&p_id_static=42

  2. You create a landing page test with a control URL of
    http://www.example.com/snow-test-control
    and an experiment URL of
    http://www.example.com/snow-test-new

  3. You set the engine to add static query strings to clickserver URLs as well as dynamic query strings.

  4. When the keyword generates a click, the engine will provide the value of {matchtype}. DS then redirects to one of the following URLs based on the traffic splitting percentage you specified:
    http://www.example.com/snow-test-control?matchtype=b&p_id_static=42
    http://www.example.com/snow-test-new?matchtype=b&p_id_static=42

Control and experiment URLs

The control and experiment landing page URLs that you specify in a test cannot contain dynamic parameters. For example, you cannot specify the following for a control URL or experiment URL:
http://www.example.com/{ifsearch:search}{ifcontent:content}
http://www.example.com/snow?matchtype={matchtype}

You can add static URL query strings to the control URL or experiment URL, and these query strings can use DS macros. However, DS does not de-duplicate query strings that are both in the clickserver URL and in the test URLs.

Parameter handling setting for the engine account

Before you set up a landing page test, make sure that the parameter-handling setting in the engine account is not set to Include full URL (unencoded). You cannot run a landing page test with this parameter-handling option.

If you're using the default Include only dynamic parameters option, your test URLs will need to specify any static URL parameters that are required by your site. With this option, DS does not pass static parameters from the original landing page URLs to the test URLs.

If you're using the Include all parameters (not full URL) option, you could end up with duplicate parameters if both your original landing page URLs and your test URLs specify the same parameters.

Landing page tests and URL templates

Before enabling the template

We recommend that you stop any active landing page tests before you enable the URL template for an engine account. Because landing page URLs cannot be modified for keywords that are in an active landing page test, DS cannot apply the URL template to those keywords.

After enabling the template

DS does not apply the template to the URLs in a landing page test (neither the control URL nor any of the experiment URLs). However, if you stop a test and decide to use the control URL or one of the experiment URLs, when DS updates the keywords that were in the test, it will apply the template to the keywords' new landing page URLs.

To keep track of which keywords are in your test, create a label and apply it to the keywords.