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:
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.
Last month Google announced a significant tweak to their “rotate evenly” creative setting. Specifically, campaigns using this setting would only rotate creative evenly for 30 days after the last creative was enabled or edited. After the 30-day period, creative would automatically optimize for clicks. This change caused quite an uproar within the search marketing community. Amongst concerns over the lack of an opt-out for this change and the limitations of a 30-day window for longer creative tests, Google responded today with an update to the expected changes.
In addition to providing search marketers with an opt-out of this change, Google will expand the even rotation period from 30 days to 90 days. Both changes will go into effect on June 11, 2012.
As a note, if Google experiences a large demand to opt-out over the next few weeks, the option will become available directly in the AdWords interface.
For more information on this update, click here.
Yesterday Google announced a significant tweak to their “rotate evenly” creative rotation setting. Today, campaigns that are set to “rotate evenly” will have their creative rotated evenly for an indefinite amount of time. Starting next week, campaigns using this setting will only rotate creative evenly for 30 days after the last creative was enabled or edited. After the 30-day period, creative will automatically optimize for clicks (one of the three existing ad rotation settings). Keep in mind that the campaign will remain labeled “rotate evenly” even after the rotation period has ended for any or all of the groups within that campaign.
Though this tweak is said to provide users with more relevant ads and help advertisers achieve better performance, it forces search marketers to be more in-tune with their ongoing creative tests. When testing, hone in on creative that deliver statistically significant results for your business, whether that’s clicks or conversions. Focus on high traffic groups to reach significance within the 30-day rotation period. Once significance is reached, pause “losing” creative and test new iterations of the “winning” creative. This resets Google’s 30-day clock and preserves the continuity of your creative test.
Creative testing tools, like Marin’s AB Testing solution, automatically reveal “winning” and “losing” creative once statistical significance has been reached. This logic, coupled with a best practice focus on testing creative in top traffic groups, should make the new 30-day rotation period a reasonable time frame for testing. As a best practice, take note of start dates when engaging in creative testing. Marin users should continue leveraging Dimensions as part of their creative testing workflow. These tags will help alert you when a test is nearing the end of its 30-day rotation period.