When you set-up paid search campaigns with Google, Bing, and others, there’s a section during the set-up process which asks you how you want to run your ads. For Google, you’re given the choice between four options:
Rotate Evenly Is Your Best Bet
For most advertisers going their own way, we would highly suggest going with the third option, to rotate-evenly. This will show your ads for 90 days before declaring the best performing and optimizing your campaigns to show that one more often.
Why Do We Ignore That?
But at Digital Caffeine, we prefer to choose the last option, to rotate ads indefinitely. This means that for each ad group, Google will show the active ads evenly in search results or within display campaigns. And here’s why we do that:
For one of our client’s campaigns, we set the rotation option to “Optimize for Clicks“. For one of the ad groups in the campaign, the above happened over the course of three weeks. One ad was shown 173 times, while the second ad was shown just 21 times.
Furthermore, here is the breakdown in time of the two ads over the course of three weeks:
You can see by looking at the above timeline charts, Google is quick to make a judgement using minimal data. While the second ad did not have any clicks over the first week, Google pretty much killed it off just 8 days into the campaign running, assuming that since the first ad had 7 clicks during that timeframe, it must be the winner.
We certainly always want to show the ad that gives us the best possible chance of having a searcher click on it and even more, convert, at Digital Caffeine we like to make those decisions based upon data. More importantly, we want to gather more data than just 60 impressions.
But Why Not Choose Rotate Evenly and Optimize after 90 Days?
It’s mostly about control for us. We don’t want to set-up ad groups and then have to wait for 90 days before one ad starts performing better. If we’re able to gather enough data after one week or one month to see one ad performs better, we want to make that call.
We would then pause the under-performing ad and launch a new ad within the ad group to then test against the winner. By rotating indefinitely, we are more confident that Google or Bing isn’t going to start favoring one ad over the other, we want to make that call.
PPC Best Practice Tip: Break out your campaigns in to ad groups, and always have each group running only 2 ads at a time. Then A/B test those ads, picking the winner based upon CTR and Conversion Rates, pausing the underperforming ad, and creating a new ad to test against the winner.
Rotate Indefinitely only if you are Committed
With that said though, if you are running your own campaigns, we suggest not choosing the rotate indefinitely option unless you are fully committed to optimizing your campaigns AT LEAST weekly. That option should be reserved for advertisers that are committed to constantly testing new ad copy and checking in on each ad group at least once each week to make sure that no ads are running that are severely under-performing, as that can hurt the overall quality scores of ad groups and campaigns.