An Ad Grading Algorithm to Save Your Sanity [Free Tool]

  •   Miki Pacifico

By Miki Pacifico

Finding the best performing ad doesn't have to strain your brain. Try these easy equations to pick a winner!

As digital marketers we talk about split testing and data analysis practically nonstop. One might say it's an obsession. And hey, if all obsessions could make us a decent salary and the admiration of our peers then I’m sure OCD wouldn’t have the weird stigma it does today. But regardless of your baseline mental health, when you are working within a paid search campaign and it comes time to determine the statistical significance of a round of ads, you may feel like you are about to lose your mind. 

Not wishing a straight jacket on my worst enemy, I set to thinking about how to establish a quick(er) and easy method for determining winning ads when there's just not a huge difference in data from one version to another. 

Click through the image below to see the full, interactive version. You will find a pair of mathematic formulas broken down by client goals. You can also click the metrics to enter your own data to calculate each rate. 

Winning Ad


Is your client dependent upon conversions to determine the success or failure of their PPC campaign? Using the metric titled Success Rate (SR) determines which ad is going to bring in the most bang for your marketing buck in terms of search engagement. The ad with the highest SR has a winning combination of click-thru rate and conversion rate making it the more likely champion of your client’s conversion goals. It stands a better chance of bring in customers and then push them over the edge and into the shopping cart. 

If your client is running paid search to build brand awareness, then you are probably not nearly as concerned with the SR as you are with the Positional Performance Rate (PPR). The PPR determines which ad performs at the lowest cost for the best ad positions. This metric is geared more towards eyeballs on your brand name and less on the action someone takes. Affordability is the key here. The ad with the lowest PPR is the winner (meaning it cost the least and is in the highest position). 

Let's be real, though. Your client probably wants a highly converting ad that is both dominating the ad positions AND at the lowest possible cost. It might seem like a purple glitter unicorn, but to determine which ad is most likely to hit that mark you want to find the ad with both the highest SR and the lowest PPR. You probably won't find a purple glitter unicorn, but you might find a horse of a different color, and that’s still pretty good. Keep your winning ad running and start split testing it against a new ad variant until you have reached purple unicorn status. 

Is this a perfect ad grading system? Probably not. However it does allow for marketers to filter out under-performers where normally there may not be enough data to determine otherwise. It is also a great way to pick and choose when the data may be just a bit too close to call. This algorithm can also be used to compare performance of keywords, though narrowing it down to a clean experiment can be a bit more complex. I will let you decide for yourself whether this system works for you - I encourage you to try it out. No need to compensate me for my brilliance. 

  • Gaurav Pandey

    Would like to try it out.