New Google Ads Campaign A/B Testing: Drafts & Experiments Setup Step by Step

Using Drafts and experiments features from Google ads, you can make and test changes to your Search and Display Network campaigns. The usual process of split testing works like this.

  • First, you create a draft of the campaign you want to test
  • You turn the draft into an Experiment for testing your changes based on certain criteria
  • Then you either discard the experiment or apply the changes to the original campaign

what is draft and experiments in AdWords/ Google Ads


Drafts are basically the replica of an original campaign before you create an experiment. Thus, you can make and save multiple changes to a campaign in Drafts without impacting its performance. Even, you can make additional changes to Drafts at any point in time or even totally discard it.

You can prepare multiple drafts of the same campaign for different testing and experiments. Some criteria for preparing multiple drafts could be testing

  • bidding strategies such as Target CPA vs maximize conversions
  • ad copies headline 1 vs headline 2
  • audience 1 vs audience 2

You can prepare these criteria in different drafts and set for experiments.


Once a draft is finished, it is converted into an experiment. You can set up the Experiments and decide how long to run the campaign with an amount of budget.  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.

Drafts and Experiments limitations

  • Drafts and experiments are only available for Search and Display Network campaigns. You won’t be able to create a draft or experiment for Video, App or Shopping campaigns.
  • You can schedule up to 5 experiments for a campaign, but you can only run one 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

How to Create a Draft in Google ads

To create a draft in Google ads, follow the following steps

  • Login to your google ads account
  • click on any search or display campaign that you want to create a draft for
  • Click on Drafts and Experiments as shown below
  • Click on the +new draft button to create a new draft

Create a new draft in google ads

  • Name your new draft and save it.
  • Once you save your draft, you can see your new draft listed under “Drafts” section on the left-hand side panel menu.
  • As mentioned earlier, the draft will be an exact replica of the original campaign. If you make any changes in the Draft and click Apply as shown below, it will apply to the original campaign directly.

New campaign draft under Drafts in Google ads

  • Thus to do A/B testing or some sort of split testing, make any changes to a draft based on testing criteria such as bidding strategy or ad headline.
  • Do not save the changes by clicking on Apply at the top,  But you can save your changes in the settings. For example, I have changed the bidding to Maximize conversions and saved that under the settings.
  • Continue following the steps below to create Experiments

Set up an experiment in Google ads

  • Click on “Drafts & Experiments”
  • If you not already created Experiments, you would see an option to create new Experiments and fill in some details. Or, you can click on the plus (+) button to start setting up Experiments. Refer to the picture below.

Creating Experiments from Drafts in Google ads

  • I name my Experiments based on the testing criteria against which I am going to compare the original campaign with the Experiments campaign.
  • If you’d like to manually end your experiment, select None. Otherwise, choose an end date for your experiment.
  • Enter the percentage of the original campaign’s budget that you’d like to allocate to your experiment. Ideally, it should be 50-50 percent.
  • For Search campaigns, under “Advanced options,” choose how you want to split your experiment. You can decide whether you want to count users or searches when you split traffic between your campaign and experiment.
  • Cookie-based means users may see only one version of your campaign, regardless of how many times they search. This can help ensure that other factors don’t impact your results, and may give you more accurate data.
  • I would suggest cookie-based for targeting remarketing visitors. Otherwise, for the top of funnel users, use search-based option.
  • Search-based lets you can randomly assign users to either your experiment or original campaign every time a search occurs. You may get statistically significant results faster than a cookie-based split. It is possible that the same user could see both the experiment and your original campaign if they search multiple times.
  • Finally, click “Save” to save your Experiments

More About Experiments

Once you save your Experiments, it will look something like this. The status might look different though if your experiment is not active.

Experiments status from the draft

You can see some of the fields highlighted above. Let us revisit them again:


The experiments are basically the testing criteria you used to name the Experiments


The campaign is basically the name of the original campaign


The draft is the replica of the original campaign with a changed testing parameter as per the Experiments objective. Rest of the fields are self-intuitive. On the left panel, you can also see that your Experiment has now turned into a whole new campaign. Something like this:

Experiment Campaign in Google ads

Now you can see that your experiment has turned into a whole new campaign. You can also see various details that you used in setting up the Draft and Experiment.

  • If you click on “Apply” on the right-hand side, it’s going to apply the changes to the original campaign. So, please be aware. You should only click “Apply” when your experiment is doing good and you want the Draft settings to be applied to the original campaign.
  • If you click “End now”, that will end the experiment.

Reading the Experiment data

After your campaign has run for a good amount of time, you will see some data appearing on the Experiment campaign. Here I am putting a screenshot from a different campaign. Let us see how does it look like-

Experiment Data in Google ads

Now we have our result ready. Let us see what has it got? We can clearly see that conversions are up by 10% compared to the original campaign in the draft campaign and also, cost per conversion is down by 11% in the draft campaign. This is a very positive sign. So, in this case, we want to apply the changes made in the draft campaign, such as bidding strategy, to the original campaign.

Apply Experiment to the original campaign

Now is the time to either apply or reject the changes from the draft Experiments to the original campaigns. So, once you click on “Apply” on the right-hand side top corner, you will see two options and both are self-intuitive.

Apply the Experiment to original campaign

So, at this stage, either you can update your original campaign or convert the Experiment to a new campaign. I hope it was informative to you. Let me know if you have any queries regarding the same.

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