[Video] How Tim Ferriss used Adwords to sell 1.35m copies of ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’

Ads can be used to test not just headlines but guarantees, product names and domain names… How do you think I determined the best title for this book?

– Tim Ferriss

Tim’s Split Test

Tim Ferriss famously used Adwords to split test the name of the book that would eventually become ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’.

While writing the book he ran a $200 Adwords campaign rotating 6 different ads each containing potential book titles, including:

‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ ad emerged as the clear winner with the highest Click Through Rate and the most clicks for the lifestyle related keywords that he bought.

Why This Matters

As a Tech Entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss knew 2 things unique to online marketing:

  1. He could cheaply test his product before it was created, and
  2. He should use Adwords for his Minimum Viable Marketing

Minimum Viable Marketing

Website and app developers have popularised the idea of the Minimum Viable Product to describe the least amount of features necessary to bring a product to market and still give the customer the core experience of what the product is about.

Adwords is the marketing equivalent of the Minimum Viable Product – Minimum Viable Marketing.

Tim Ferriss used Adwords to go to market *first* and find out which business idea aligned with the market. Once he arrived at a clear winner, he then expanded the winning campaign to all other channels (in his case, the physical published book).

All too often the reverse happens where business ideas and marketing campaigns are decided and created first (without ‘live’ market testing), then Adwords is added as an afterthought and ‘shoe-horned’ to fit. Invariably this results in broken customer alignment leading to fewer sales and more expensive customer acquisition costs: I wonder if we would have even heard of Tim Ferriss if he didn’t split test his title and instead went with his gut instinct: ‘Drug Dealing for fun and profit’.


Use Adwords as your Minimum Viable Marketing to get live market feedback on your business ideas – even before you create your product.


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