Google Adwords – New Challenging Changes To PPC Ad Rotation

Google just recently announced a major change to their Adwords platform that will have significant impact on how your PPC ads will rotate and be served. There has been wide spread condemnation from advertisers and PPC managers about this controversial and fundamental new change.

On April 30th Google announced on their official blog:

“AdWords currently offers three ad rotation settings: optimize for clicks, optimize for conversions, and rotate evenly. Using the “rotate” setting for ad rotation is helpful for testing new creatives, but when run indefinitely can inhibit advertiser performance and deliver less relevant ads to our users.

Starting next week, the “rotate” setting for ad rotation will change. Instead of rotating creatives for an indefinite period of time, this setting will only rotate for a period of 30 days. After that, the setting will then optimize to show the ads expected to generate the most clicks. Every time a creative is enabled or edited, the ads in that ad group will rotate more evenly for a new period of 30 days.

This change will be rolling out next week. At that time, ad groups with creatives that haven’t been added or modified in the past thirty days will see this new ad rotation behaviour. Otherwise, this change will begin 30 days after your last creative was enabled or edited.”

Up to this point the ad rotate option in Google Adwords has always proved to be one of Adwords best features. It gives advertisers a solid platform for testing new creatives and seeing which ads are performing the best. PPC account managers have long known that the key to proper testing of ads lies in your ability to test ads head to head. Serve 1 ad 50 percent of the time and another 50 percent of the time and you’ll learn which ad copy is actually generating the the best click through rate (CTR). The ability to split test your ads and rotate ads evenly has always given PPC advertisers a a great way of improving the overall efficiency of their campaigns.

Google’s reason for making his change as they mentioned was because they felt that “when run indefinitely” they can “inhibit advertiser performance and deliver less relevant ads”

The problem this presents for advertisers and PPC managers is that they will at the very least have to change their ad copy every 30 days if they want to avoid the scenario whereby Google will choose the best performing ad to show the most after 30 days based on historical performance of either click through rate (CTR) or conversion rate. Since Google have limited ad rotation to 30 days this presents a major challenge to optimise ad copy with the aim of keeping your ads rotating evenly within the same time frame.

Example of the Conundrum:

Lets say you have an ad that is performing fantastic for a given popular keyword that brings a lot of traffic to your website. You continuously split test this winning ad amongst a series of other ads that were created with the aim of out- performing this top ad. This top ad has been performing so well that for the last month or 2 you have not been able to create an ad that is performing even half as well as this ad through your ad split tests and optimisation efforts.

However with this new change that Google is rolling out the “winning ad” from the above example will always be served by Google after the 30 day period as it is quite clearly the ad that is getting the most amount of clicks or conversions. With the new ad rotation feature in place this “winning ad” will loose the capacity for further split testing ad creatives to challenge its supremacy.

Difficulties In Getting To Grips With The New Ad Rotation Change

For PPC managers who are often tasked with managing multiple client accounts with each sometimes encompassing multiple Adwords campaigns this will no doubt prove quite an obstacle to overcome.

This could also potentially prove quite a disadvantage for advertisers who are using Google Adwords and are focusing on a low volume or a niche targeting scale. The 30 day time period may prove too short a time frame to get an accurate reading on split test results. If you fall into this bracket you may find yourself over split testing within a 30 day time period and this could potentially hamper your ad performance.


With these new ad rotation changes coming into effect from next week advertisers and PPC managers will need to become more savvy in terms of their ad optimisation strategies. This new change could be beneficial in the long run and could lead to better optimised accounts but it will mean that advertisers and PPC managers all round will have to adopt a more rigours approach with their ad testing.

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