Google’s all-new, quite counterintuitive guide to ad testing
The days of rigid A/B testing are over. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson talks about how to test ads in the age of optimized ad rotation.
Over 2 1/2 years ago, I wrote about how ad rotation works in AdWords. Since then, a whole lot has changed. Most recently, we’ve simplified the options for ad rotation. Let’s take a closer look at how ad rotation works now and what that means for ad testing.
How AdWords picks which ads to show
The goal of ad-serving in AdWords is to deliver a tailored message that meets a searcher’s needs. This means delivering ads that people want to click on and getting better results for your business.
In the new world of ad rotation, things are pretty straightforward. You have two options:
- Optimize: Prefer best-performing ads.
- Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely.
When you don’t optimize and rotate your ads indefinitely, the system will rotate ads from the ad group to choose which one enters the auction. If it’s that ad’s turn, then it’ll enter into whatever auction is happening at the time. A worse-performing ad will get its turn in that auction as long as you leave that ad running.
Optimized rotation — which both Google (my employer) and I recommend — considers a bunch of signals, none of which is “which ad’s turn is it?” I’m a firm believer in the optimize setting, and I think you might be one, too, after hearing how it works.
Let’s see some examples of ads in action. Imagine you’re advertising a hotel trying to generate bookings in New York. One of the keywords you’re bidding on is “hotels in New York.” From that one hard-working keyword, you’re matching to queries like “best hotels in NYC,” “cheap NYC hotels,” “new york hotels central park” and “hotel in new york tonight.”]