It’s rare that Google provide reasons for the myriad changes it integrates but as AdWords Training mentors we can only conclude that there was a significant backlash (and many, many calls and emails to AdWords Support) that led to a statement from Nick Fox, VP of Product Management.
Here’s an abbreviation of that statement with a little annotation from us:
“First, we’d like to share a little more about why we updated how creative rotation works. With the modified Rotate evenly setting, our tests indicate that we will provide you with more valuable traffic in an automated, efficient manner. We’ve found that, on average, optimized creative rotation results in an increase in click-through rate and an increase in total conversion volume for advertisers. Here’s an example describing the benefit (note: data is intended for illustrative purposes only).”
“Advertisement A has a 3% CTR, while Advertisement B has a 1% CTR. Under the original Rotate evenly setting, the ads would show roughly evenly, resulting in an average CTR of around 2%. Under the new setting, Advertisement A will show more frequently after the even rotation window has passed, bringing the average CTR closer to 3%, or a 50% increase in clicks. Our systems will also continue to run Advertisement B for a low fraction of traffic to continue to test how well it performs.”
In principle this is all well and good, but what about split testing for conversion optimisation purposes? Conversion rates can vary quite dramatically from click-through rates (CTR) and advertisers often need to adhere to very specific costs for each acquisition, making optimisation for a higher CTR i.e. a greater volume of traffic (and therefore greater cost) something of an issue.
We acknowledge that you can run your adverts on the ‘Optimise for Conversions’ setting but that’s a poor substitute for the split testing that traditional ad rotation would allow.
“We’re confident that the changes we’ve made to ad rotation enable us to show higher quality ads to our users and better performing ads for our advertisers.”
We’re not. This is and always was a change that reeked of subterfuge in terms of deriving more revenue from advertisers and we’re delighted to see that people have been calling Google out on this one. In fairness, they have listened and taken into account the complaints from advertisers. As they say below:
“(We) also realize that it is important to provide you with the freedom and time to decide what works best for you and that’s why we’re announcing these changes today. Please continue to share your feedback so that we can build solutions to meet your advertising needs.
Also, in response to your feedback, we’re planning to make two changes to the setting. First, we’ll expand the even rotation period from 30 days to 90 days to give you a longer window for testing new ads. Second, if you still wish to have your ads rotate evenly indefinitely, we’re going to offer an opt-out of this change. You can opt-out by filling in your information on this form or by contacting your account representative. Both of these changes will go into effect on June 11, 2012.”
This pleases us somewhat.
“If we see a large amount of demand for the opt-out over the next few weeks, we’ll also offer the opt-out in the AdWords interface directly.”
This pleases us greatly. As advertisers, you know what to do. Fill in this form and place pressure on Google to rectify this ill-designed ‘optimisation’ tool!
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