Choosing An Ad Delivery Setting In AdWords

Just over a week ago, Google announced a new setting in their AdWords ad delivery options. Instead of only having the options to rotate ads evenly or optimize for clicks, you now have the option to optimize for conversions. This is a big deal, since most of Google’s automated account optimization up to this point has focused on getting more clicks. This is good for Google, since they make more money as more clicks are generated through their AdWords product. But, it’s not necessarily good for advertisers, since many of those clicks could be unlikely to convert and generate revenue.

Each of these three options has a purpose in the right account. Here’s a breakdown of what each is good for:

Rotate

This is the ideal ad setting if you want to do some serious ad testing (which you should). Each ad will show roughly the same amount as the others in the ad group. For example, if you have two ads in the ad group, each ad will show 50% of the time. If you have three ads, each ad will show 33% of the time, and so forth. Since each ad has an equal chance to perform, differences in performance stats will be reliant on how effective your ad text is – you don’t have to worry about outside factors favoring one ad over another.

Optimize For Clicks

The default option when setting up a new campaign, although it’s not necessarily the right choice. If you don’t have time for ad testing, this option is a good way to make sure your most-clicked-on ads get the most attention in the rotation. You can still add in other ads for testing, but if they don’t perform as well, you don’t have to worry about them taking up the limelight from the ads that have proven performance. But keep in mind that this setting will only get you more clicks. If you have a vague or misleading ad that people love to click on, but don’t convert on the landing page due to a mismatch in message between the ad and your website, then you could really run up some clicks (and cost!) without seeing good results.

Optimize For Conversions

The latest addition to the settings, and one that I think has been long overdue. This ad setting works kind of like the Optimize For Clicks setting, only it looks at your conversion numbers instead of your click metrics. While this does seem like a great idea at first, there are a few things you should consider. First, the rotation is wholly reliant on the accuracy of your conversion tracking. If your conversion tracking is broken, or is recording too many conversions, then it will ruin the efficacy of this setting. And secondly, this setting requires historical data to refer to in order to truly optimize for conversions. So if you enter this setting on a new ad group, then the system will have no idea what to do with your ads since there is no historical conversion data attached to each ad. It may be better to save this setting for older campaigns and ad groups that have a couple of months of steady conversion performance tied to each ad.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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