To Optimize Or Not? Google Updates AdWords Ad Rotation Settings

Google announced a change to the ad rotation settings in AdWords on Tuesday, and some ad industry insiders couldn't be happier.

The idea is to simplify ad rotation into two settings. With the change, two options become available in September — Optimize, which prioritizes the best-performing ads; and Rotate Indefinitely, which gives ads equal preference.

The Optimize setting will optimize ads for clicks in each individual auction using signals such as keyword, search term, device, and location.

"Optimize for Clicks and Optimize for Conversions functionalities have never been truly effective options for advertisers, so their deprecation was long overdue," said Tim Daly, CEO at Vincodo. "With the switch to Optimize, we will have to monitor closely to see if this functionality is beneficial to advertisers or if it just simply inflates the cost per click to the benefit of Google."

Daly said the best option for advertisers is still the Rotate Indefinitely feature for marketers that are looking to maximize volume within an allowable return on investment. Paid search is advertising, and marketers should be aware of the importance of controlling the message to consumers, he said.

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"While the introduction of new functionalities is interesting, data-driven algorithms should not be a replacement for tried-and-true marketing practices such as A/B split testing," he said. 

The new feature is powered by Google’s machine-learning technology. Sylvanus Bent, product manager at AdWords, said in a post that while an optimized ad rotation works best for most advertisers, Google is aware that some marketers prefer more control with an even rotation. For those who want more control, multiple rotation settings can be used across one campaign. 

In a note on best practices, Google released information on the ad rotation settings: optimization for clicks, for conversions, for rotate evenly, and rotate indefinitely.

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