May 3, 2012
A couple days ago, Google announced that they are changing the way advertisers can control their ad rotation with Google AdWords. For years, you’ve been able to set your campaign ads to three options: Optimize for Clicks, Optimize for Conversions, and Rotate Ads Evenly. Google’s new changes coming up will only affect the last option – Rotate Evenly.
Starting next week – any campaigns that you might have opted into “rotate evenly” mode will only stay on that setting for 30 days max. Afterwards, your ads will then automatically be changed or “opted” (though I hate using that term since you have no option) into the “optimize for clicks” mode. If you made any adjustments to the ad copy creative, or add a new ad to your campaign, this will reset the clock back to 30 days again.
So even if you have a superior ad that’s delivering maximum CTR and converting at a high level, you’ll still have no choice. As advertisers, this isn’t the greatest move for you or your campaign. As we all know, Google makes money for all those ad clicks to the tune of billions in profit each year. This reminds me of seeing most “Google Optimized” campaigns I’ve seen in the past that were setup by Google. Mostly set to broad match keywords. Why? Because that drives the most money to Google. As does this move. Want to do true A/B testing for more than 30 days and have your ads rotate evenly? Good luck.
Google claims that this move will improve the user experience and remove ads that are less relevant – but this really is a move to optimize for more clicks for Google – plain and simple. Highest CTR doesn’t always mean highest conversions. Sure, 30 days seems like a reasonable amount of time to test new ads, etc but most savvy marketers don’t test results in time.
It’s also telling that Google’s announcement for this was short and brief - as if not to bring too much attention to it. Usually a big time change like this comes with lots of photos, excitement and arguments that this will benefit the advertiser. Sorry Google, but we’re not buying it.
If you’d like, there is a petition going here. In the meantime, get ready to set a lot of calendar reminders.