May 16, 2012
This post originally appeared on MichelleMSEM and is cross-posted with permission from @michellemsem.
For those of you who keep reasonably up to date with the goings on in Google AdWords, you’ll know that they’ve recently made some changes to the ad rotation options. The original 3 settings were:
– Optimize for Clicks
– Optimize for Conversions
– Rotate evenly
The most recent changes have been made to the Rotate evenly setting. Now, if none of your ads in an ad group have been updated in more than 30 days, Google will automatically start optimizing for clicks.
I could go into a nice long rant about how terrible I believe these changes are, but that’s for another day. If you dislike this change as much as I do, please sign the petition to get it changed.
Anyway, on to the Q&A. This is a summary of a instant message conversation between my Google rep and I. In it, I’m the one asking the questions, and he’s the one giving answers.
1.) What day will this change take effect?
– I’m not sure. They don’t tell us that information. We find out when everyone else does.
Answer: May 11th. This setting is already live in your accounts.
2.) Is there an opt-out option?
– No, there is no opt out. Everyone’s accounts will have this.
3.) How quickly do the changes take effect?
– If on launch date, your ads haven’t been updated in 30 days, the algo will immediately begin serving your ads on an optimize for clicks basis. If there isn’t enough data to optimize for clicks, it will continue to rotate until there is.
4.) Will there be an alert or a notification to tell me when an ad group is switching to or is in optimize mode even though others are not?
– No, there are no notifications.
5.) Will there be a way to tell if an ad group has gone into the optimize for clicks setting?
– I don’t believe you will be able to tell other than seeing impression distribution changes.
6.) Does this affect only search campaigns or does it happen in display campaigns as well?
– This will happen in both search and display.
7.) Is there a threshold for optimize for clicks like there is for conversions?
– Optimizing for clicks is a very different calculation than optimizing for conversions. It’s based more of a confidence interval rather than an actual threshold.
8.) Is there a setting to make it optimize for conversions after 30 days rather than optimizing for clicks?
– There’s no automatic setting for that. You would have to do it manually.
9.) How much will optimizing for clicks throw off my ad copy tests if I don’t get to it immediately after the 30 day limit?
– It will have some effect, but it shouldn’t immediately make your tests invalid. The serving percentages don’t automatically go from 33/33/33 to 98/1/1. Depending on the data, they will go to something more like 45/35/30 or 40/40/20.
10.) Since the ad rotation settings are at the campaign level, will updating an ad in one ad group keep the entire campaign from going to optimize for clicks?
– No. These decisions are going to be made at the ad group level, so each ad group would have to have at least one ad updated every 30 days.
11.) How major does the ad change have to be? Can it be something small or does it have to be a completely new ad?
– Any change at all will make the 30 clock reset.
12.) Does pausing or activating an ad count as a change and reset the 30 day clock?
– Yes, this will reset the ad test for each ad group you pause/enable campaigns in.
13.) If I change the rotation settings at the campaign level from Rotate Evenly, to Optimize for Conversions, and back to Rotate Evenly, will the 30 clock reset?
– No, because the clock changes only when the ad is changed, paused, or enabled.
If anyone has any other information given to them by their reps or has found contradictory answers anywhere, please share them in the comments!