AdWords Ad Rotation: What’s the best way to optimize ads for conversions in AdWords now that Google has restricted ad rotation options?
On August 29th, 2017, Google announced they’d be eliminating their “optimize for conversions” ad rotation option and will now only optimize for clicks. Google advises using “Smart Bidding”, but is that the right fit for your campaigns?
Here are 4 alternative ways to make sure ads that convert well are receiving the most impressions in your campaigns:
- Rotate indefinitely and optimize manually – This method takes time and attention to detail, but Google has retained the option to rotate ads evenly and make adjustments as you see fit. To truly maximize for conversions, you’ll need to find ad copy that produces both a high CTR and high conversion rate over a consistent period of time (1-2 months depending on traffic volume). Focusing solely on conversion rates can limit your actual conversion volume.
Good for: ad groups with only 3-5 ads and for account managers who are able/willing to check on the performance on a weekly basis; ads with significant copy or message variations; ads with more than one landing page.
Bad for: ad groups with 5 or more ads and account managers with limited time; ads with small variations between messaging; ads with identical landing pages.
- Optimize for clicks with Enhanced CPC – Google’s enhanced CPC feature allows Google to bid higher when a user is most likely to convert. Google will optimize your ad rotation to find the ads that produce more clicks and use CPC adjustments to ensure that ad shows to potential customers.
Good for: ad groups with several similar ads; ad groups with identical landing pages; KPIs that involved traffic volume in addition to goal conversions.
Bad for: testing out new or different landing pages; testing small batches of unique ad copy; KPIs that are primarily conversion focused.
- Optimize for clicks AND optimize manually – A combo pack of the above options, you can still use Google’s tools to maximize clicks and manually force Google to show ads that also convert the best. The trick is to regularly “reset” the top ads whenever you add new ad content or landing pages into the mix.
For example, one ad receives 80% of the Impression Share, but you want to test it against the same copy with a new landing page. Google will continue to show the top ad and ignore your new landing page if you simply create a new ad. Instead copy the top ad to create a new version of this “winning” version and pause the previous version. Google will identify this copy as a new ad and treat it (and your test ad) equally.
Good for: smaller tests involving landing pages or minor ad variations; ad groups where one ad is dominating the impression share.
Bad for: ad groups where impression share is split evenly between several ads; more complex tests where multiple ad variations and URLs are in play.
- Smart Bidding (Automated bid strategies) – These involve a suite of ‘machine-learning’ strategies that allow Google to completely automate your bids and ad impressions in order to achieve a desired goal:
- Target Search Page Location
- Target CPA
- Target ROAS
- Target Outranking Shares
- Maximize Clicks
- Maximize Conversions
- Enhanced CPC
Smart Bidding is not without its drawbacks. For one, these strategies require a significant amount of conversion data to function properly. Automated bidding strategies will also try to match (or exceed) your daily budget, which can drastically increase your ad spend. They also only impact CPC bids and won’t necessarily help you identify the right ad or landing page for your audience.
Good for: campaigns with budget flexibility; ad groups with a single landing page URL and minimal ad variations; campaigns with clearly defined success goals (CPA, ROAS); campaigns geared towards brand awareness or search page domination.
Bad for: campaigns with limited budget; campaigns with limited conversion data; ‘exploratory’ or test campaigns still determining a baseline for successful performance.
As always, finding the right solution for your campaigns varies depending on a websites strengths, weakness, and ultimately, your unique business goals. If you have any questions about what method is the best fit for optimizing your ads for conversions, reach out to us at Anvil and we’ll point you in the right direction.