New Ad Rotation Option in Google Adwords Settings

February 24, 2011

There has always been an argument among PPC managers in regards to the best way to use the “AD ROTATION” settings in Google Adwords.  My opinion has always been that both settings have their proper place and time to be used.  As a quick reminder or for those who may be unfamiliar, within the settings tab at that campaign level, you can choose the way the Adwords platform chooses to display your ads if you have written more than one per adgroup (which in my opinion is a MUST because with PPC you should always be testing).  Until yesterday, there were just two options to choose from for ad rotation:


When you mouse over the question mark to the side of “Ad Rotation” in the setting of an Adwords Campaign, it says this:

“Your ad rotation selection determines how often we deliver your active ads in relation to one another within an ad group:

  • Optimize for clicks (default): Ads expected to provide more clicks are delivered more often.
  • ….
  • Rotate: Each of your ads will enter the ad auction an approximately equal number of times. This allows ads with lower clickthrough rates and conversion rates to show more often, so this option could result in a lower average position or fewer clicks and conversions.”

My tendency has always been to select the “Rotate” option for new campaigns.  The thought process behind this was that until the ads have all run for a while, we don’t have enough statistically significant data to determine which ads have improved.  Similar to conversion optimizer not being available until you have 15 conversions (which is arguably not enough), I don’t believe you should use the “optimize for clicks” option until your ads have run for a while. Unless you know that you are not going to monitor your campaign very closely (not recommended), then I would not use the “optimize for clicks” option until your ads have thousands of impressions and thousands of clicks, at which point I think you would be crazy not to rely on Google Adwords algorithm that determines which ads will get you the most clicks.

As of yesterday, though, Google Adwords announced that it is providing a third option for Ad Rotation:

  • “Optimize for conversions: Ads expected to provide more conversions are delivered more often. If there isn’t sufficient conversion data, the system will optimize for more clicks.”

This is the best option available, but it is for seasoned campaigns and seasoned PPC managers. Luke Alley, one of our Google Adwords Qualified Individuals goes on and on about the conversion optimizer tool and just how effective it can be.  We consider ourselves to be pretty savvy PPC managers, but we both agree that we don’t have the time and energy to do everything to an account that the conversion optimizer tool can do for us, nor can we expect to consider all of the things the conversion optimizer algorithm considers when it makes changes to think like bids, time of day an ad appears, which keywords deserve more of the budget and more impressions, etc.

For that same reason, my recommendation is that you do use the optimize for conversions setting, but only after your campaign has run for a long time and you have tested your ads and found a few that are proven successes.  This is still a very new feature and we will for sure be testing to see how well it works for us.  Best of luck to all who do the same!


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