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Google Updates AdWords Ad Rotation Settings

Google AdWords is a staple of online advertising, and with proper understanding of how the system works, many businesses are able to balance spending and returns in order to accomplish targeted conversion goals. Of course, there are a lot of options to consider when it comes to customizing and optimizing ad rotation.

As rotation settings allow companies to try out myriad testing strategies in order to see which variations of ads perform the best. Finagling these settings and trying different rotation strategies can be a complex process, with so many options to choose from. Even if you take the time to try them all, chances are you’re going to eventually settle on a couple you prefer.

Hopefully you haven’t gotten too comfortable with your preferred ad rotation settings, though, because Google has plans to shake things up. What are these changes and when are they coming? What do they mean for business owners looking to test ad variations in order to hone their strategy? Here’s what you need to know.

What Changes are Being Made?
For starters, Google is switching from the slew of ad rotation settings they currently offer to just two:

  • Optimize: prefer best performing ads
  • Do not optimize: rotate ads indefinitely

The first option will consider the provided ads in your group and auto select the ones that are most likely to perform the best in given situations (one would assume this is based on time of day, geographic location, and other factors, although this has not been explicitly stated). As you may have guessed, the second option rotates from one ad to the next indiscriminately.

Several of the current ad rotation settings will automatically be switched to “optimize” when the rollover happens, so if you’re currently using smart bidding strategies (enhanced CPC, target ROAS, optimize for conversions, etc.) you’ll notice the change. The changes also include the ability to manage ad rotation settings at ad group and campaign levels.

When is This Happening?
The rollover won’t begin until September 25, 2017, but already testing of the new platform has been underway, with surprisingly positive results. Naturally, advertisers aren’t keen to lose control over their carefully honed settings and allow Google to take the reins, but early testing has shown that accounts transitioning from the “rotate evenly” setting to the new “optimize” rotation tend to see about 8% increase in CTR and 11% increase in CVR. The rollover will be gradual, so you could see changes to your account any time after the start date.

Which Option Should You Choose?
It might seem like “optimize” is a better option, but before you pull the trigger on letting Google decide which ads are better, you might want to consider that random rotation can also tell you something about your ads and which might perform better. Once the automatic rollover occurs, you’ll have to give it some time and you might want to try out both options to see what can be gained from each. If these changes deliver the uptick in outcomes Google anticipates, it’s unlikely too many advertisers will complain.

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