Google To Stop Allowing AdWords Ad Rotation

May 1, 2012 • 8:25 am | comments (9) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

Google ClocksGoogle announced on the AdWords blog that they will be changing how their ad rotation works, essentially preventing you from continuing to leave your ads on rotation after 30-days.

Google said:

Starting next week, the "rotate" setting for ad rotation will change. Instead of rotating creatives for an indefinite period of time, this setting will only rotate for a period of 30 days. After that, the setting will then optimize to show the ads expected to generate the most clicks. Every time a creative is enabled or edited, the ads in that ad group will rotate more evenly for a new period of 30 days.

Google said they are doing this because leaving the ad rotation on "can inhibit advertiser performance and deliver less relevant ads."

The three ad rotation options include:

  • Optimize for clicks (default): Ads expected to provide more clicks are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group. These higher-quality ads gain more impressions than other ads in the ad group, resulting in higher ad-served percentages. By using this option, your ad group will likely receive more impressions and clicks overall, since higher-quality ads attain better positions and attract more user attention.
  • Optimize for conversions: Ads expected to provide more conversions are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group. This option optimizes for conversions, so it takes both clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate into consideration. If there isn't enough conversion data to determine which ad will provide the most conversions, ads will rotate using "Optimize for clicks" data. Although this option may result in your ad group receiving fewer clicks than the previous option, it will likely receive more conversions, which can result in an improved return on investment (ROI).
  • Rotate evenly: Currently, this option behaves as follows: Rotated ad serving delivers ads more evenly into the auction, even when one ad has a lower CTR than another. The impression statistics and ad-served percentages of the ads in the ad group will be more similar to each other than if you select one of the optimization options. However, these statistics still may differ from each other, as ad position can vary based on Quality Score.

Advertisers do not seem happy about losing this control. Here are two comments:

Every change they make that costs ME time will cost THEM spend. This is the silliest one yet.

This is ridiculous Google! This shows that CTR is still king at Google.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to ShutterStock of colored clocks

Previous story: The Google Penguin Petition


Kevin Gallagher

05/01/2012 12:32 pm

this does seem very silly. I wonder what the real reason for this is?


05/01/2012 12:40 pm

Google wants more clicks on ads. Thatz all.

Trond Lyngbø

05/01/2012 03:12 pm

My personal opinion is that the use of 'Dynamic Keyword Insertion' represents a significantly greater risk of poor ad texts and landing pages with low relevance. Look at ASK, for example ..  I have some difficulty understanding why Google chose to do this maneuver, that is, stop the ad rotation. Is it because they want us to create multiple ad groups and campaigns, and thereby increasing the competition, click prices, and Google's bottom line? From an economic perspective, this might be a clever maneuver that not only benefit Google, but the whole ecosystem. From an advertiser perspective, it means an increased need for planning, monitoring and maintenance. Is this necessarily bad? No. Why? Because it's a win-win situation for all of us.By climbing up on the advertisers' priority list (buyers), Google achieves many important things. One of the main benefits, for Google, is an increased insight and understanding of the opportunities Adwords represents in terms of increased revenue among the advertisers (buyers). The consequence of this is that Google will acquire a larger share of the marketing budgets out there.. Both of them will make more money! Search engine marketing and contextual advertising are becoming more and more complex and demanding. Companies will see that they need help to realize their full potential for high ROI and growth. Agencies' revenue increases.  Am I on to something, or completely off track? :-)  //Trond

David Rothwell

05/02/2012 08:59 am

They are only making you do what you should have been doing all along. So I'm personally sorry to be losing this competitive edge. Everyone's in it for the click - or should be. Without clicks, nothing moves (paraphrasing Robert Ringer). Even rotation presupposes the audience is static while you change only one variable. It isn't. Only G has all the data points to make the right decisions about "winning" ads. And there can be many of them simultaneously. If you want to test pages and funnels, use Campaign Experiments. As ever, CPA bidding has to be put in charge of bidding and ad delivery to control the economics of it all to *your* rules, not G's. A related post, from March:

Kristian van Bockel

05/02/2012 11:42 am

At first sight, it looks like a good change for those that do not have a lot of time to manage their account manually. And I think their are a lot of advertisers out there, that do not know how or have the time to manage their account. And therefore Google does. Changing the rotation to optimized for clicks is good for Google (more clicks, more money) and for some advertisers (higher CTR might result is higher QS might result in lower CPC and better positions). But is it good for users? Let's say you have 2 advertisements, same target group. Ad 1 appeals to are large percentage of your target group and therefore has a high CTR. However, this doesn't mean the user will convert on the landingpage. Ad 2 might be less appealing, but might generate a higher conversion rate because the few users that do click, find the anwser to their question. I really like rotation for new ads beacause once you collect sufficient data, you can make the best decision yourself based on conversionrates, cost per conversion, CTR, bouncerate and so on..

Thomas Kane

05/02/2012 05:21 pm

What about ad tests? 

Adam Gour

05/03/2012 05:10 am

Google Adwords Explained. Adam Gour, North Bay, Ontario


05/08/2012 04:42 pm

I optimize a lot of my ads to analytics data (bounce rates, time on site, etc). This doesn't help me at all.


05/18/2012 05:08 pm

You assume higher CTR leads to higher profits. That's the flaw and why many sophisticated PPC advertisers are frustrated with this seemingly paternalistic decision.

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