Yesterday, at long last, adCenter announced the release of their ad rotation function. Users can now select between two familiar options: to optimize ad rotation for clicks or to rotate ads more evenly. Unfortunately, since these options are only available at the group level, users will have to edit their groups one by one in order to leverage this new functionality. And because this ad rotation setting is only available through adCenter online and the adCenter API (version 8), users won’t find it in the adCenter Desktop Tool just yet.
So what does this all mean? In the past, new adCenter creative would initially rotate evenly until a significant number of impression and clicks were received. After significance was reached, creative would be shown preferentially based on their achieved click-through-rate (CTR). With the release of this new functionality, search marketers can now test and optimize their creative based on performance based metrics such as conversion rate, conversions per impression, ROI, ROAS or Margin—rather than just CTR.
It’s interesting to note the differences in the rotation settings between adCenter and AdWords:
- adCenter allows their rotation setting to be adjusted at the group level, whereas AdWords only allows adjustment at the campaign level.
- adCenter does not place a time restriction on their rotation setting, whereas AdWords will automatically default to optimize for clicks after 90 days (unless opted out).
- adCenter does not allow users to optimize for conversions.
The second point was explained by adCenter on their blog post, and appeared to call out AdWords for placing a time restriction on advertisers:
“Your ads will continue to serve based upon the settings you choose without any time restrictions because we acknowledge that different keyword/ad copy combinations need different amounts of time to establish a performance history.”
I would be interested to see how evenly adCenter rotates ads, since AdWords is notorious for delivering more impressions on higher CTR creative, even when the “rotate ads more evenly” option is selected.
As a best practice, adCenter recommends that advertisers pay close attention to impressions and average position when introducing new creative. Use these metrics as indicators for new creative that may achieve lower CTRs, which can result in lower ad rank and a decrease in impressions. For additional best practices, download The Search Marketers Guide to Creative Testing and Optimization.