What’s Changing on AdWords Ad Rotation?

Starting in late September, Google is making changes to the ad rotation settings in AdWords.
As an advertiser, we all know how important it is to select the right ad rotation in order to show the top performing ads and achieve various campaign objectives.

To recap, currently there are four settings you can choose from:

1) Optimize for clicks: Show ads expected to provide more clicks
2) Optimize for conversions: Show ads expected to provide more conversions
3) Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimize
4) Rotate indefinitely: Show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads, and do not optimize

Seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s not all that straightforward to select the right option. That’s why this will be simplified into only two options: “Optimize: Prefer best performing ads” and “Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely.”
Additionally, these new settings will be available at the ad group level. This means you will have more control over your account and the ability to optimise the account at a more granular level.

Source: Google’s Inside AdWords Blog

Option 1 – Optimize: Prefer best performing ads

Simply put, this new setting will improve the efficiency of the account by adding more triggers when selecting ads, using signals such as keywords, search term, device and location for every eligible auction. For instance, if one of the ads tends to perform stronger on desktop, Google then will be able to pick up that signal and increase the visibility of that ad for desktop users.

As Google uses machine learning to aggregate signals together for better ad performance, it is recommended to have at least three or more ads per ad group to help the system select better performing ads.

If your preference is to optimise towards conversions rather than clicks, you can use Smart Bidding (Target CPA, Target ROAS, Max Conversions and Enhanced CPC) in conjunction with this setting. The idea here is to help you automatically set bids to maximise conversions in every auction. If you use smart bidding strategies, ads will always be set to “Optimise”.

If you still prefer to optimise toward clicks… well, that won’t be possible unless you use “maximise clicks” bid strategies or no bid strategy whatsoever.

This change will simplify things for some, but there would be others who would have preferred the ability to choose from the explicit options – “Optimise for clicks” or “Optimise for conversions”.

Option 2 – Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely

As the name somewhat suggests, this option will help all ads (regardless of performance) to be served more evenly for an indefinite period. It can be a good fit for you if you are running an A/B split test.

Next Steps

Start reviewing your accounts to ensure you understand your goals across campaigns. More importantly, be sure your AdWords conversion pixels are firing correctly if you are going to optimise the ads for conversions using Smart Bidding. Finally, it’s always good to spend some time experimenting with new features, so have a think about which ad groups you would like to customise.

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Chelsea Yu

I entered a new digital world in 2016, commencing at Reprise Sydney, my main focus is to develop forward thinking & data-driven insights that align with business objectives. Prior to joining Reprise, I was a financial business analyst for a commercial business both locally and internationally. This experience has provided me with exposure to complex and exciting projects across the Asia Pacific region. I have achieved both bachelors and masters qualifications in related fields, and together with my international market experience across Australia, Singapore, Switzerland & Korea, I consider myself as a global citizen with a passion for numbers & data analytics.
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