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Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

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# 1
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I run into this often so I thought I'd ask. I look at an ad group with 2 ads and it's like the screenshot below (98% and 2%) because it's set to optimize for clicks. But as you see below, the one they are serving the most has a lower CTR. So what is signaling Adwords that this ad is better? The ad texts are very similar with the same Final URL and just 2 words switched around.

 

The top one has a closer keyword match in the title line, which may be why Adwords is thinking it's better. But why wouldn't the system just look at historical CTR?

 

What do you think?

 

Screenshot 2016-01-05 at 2.09.40 PM.png

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Accepted by topic author WebEminence
January 2016

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
Couple of thing here:

Notice Ad Rank Position between the two ads. First ad is clearly a better Position 2.4 so it gets more play ( ie clicks)

Look through your keywords and look at the Bubble that is in the status column that shows Ad Relevance.

Also you may want to switch from Optimize for Clicks to Optimize for Conversions to see if it improves the distribution.

With Optimize for Clicks the Ad with the better AD Ranks ( ie Position) should get severed more. With Optimize for Conversion the Ad's that reflect the match queries of your keywords and user intent should served more.
However you stated that Ad 1 is better aligned with the keyword match types, which would for all intended reasons be the "better ad to serve".

CTR is just clicks/impressions and the 3.71% based on only 458 impressions is not really a large statistical reference to say it is the better ad.

But why wouldn't the system just look at historical CTR?
it looks at lots of factors
Ad rank ( QS + Extensions + bid)
Ad Relevance
match type
and ultimately user query
all to determine which is the better ad to serve.

Looking at your data, I would drop Ad 2 ( based on the 3.6 ave position) and create a more compelling ad that may change the Call to Action ( last line) and see how that work.

Testing New Ads until you hit the Home run version that provides a fantastic ROI is always necessary.

Interested to see what others say Smiley Happy

View solution in original post

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author WebEminence
January 2016

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
Couple of thing here:

Notice Ad Rank Position between the two ads. First ad is clearly a better Position 2.4 so it gets more play ( ie clicks)

Look through your keywords and look at the Bubble that is in the status column that shows Ad Relevance.

Also you may want to switch from Optimize for Clicks to Optimize for Conversions to see if it improves the distribution.

With Optimize for Clicks the Ad with the better AD Ranks ( ie Position) should get severed more. With Optimize for Conversion the Ad's that reflect the match queries of your keywords and user intent should served more.
However you stated that Ad 1 is better aligned with the keyword match types, which would for all intended reasons be the "better ad to serve".

CTR is just clicks/impressions and the 3.71% based on only 458 impressions is not really a large statistical reference to say it is the better ad.

But why wouldn't the system just look at historical CTR?
it looks at lots of factors
Ad rank ( QS + Extensions + bid)
Ad Relevance
match type
and ultimately user query
all to determine which is the better ad to serve.

Looking at your data, I would drop Ad 2 ( based on the 3.6 ave position) and create a more compelling ad that may change the Call to Action ( last line) and see how that work.

Testing New Ads until you hit the Home run version that provides a fantastic ROI is always necessary.

Interested to see what others say Smiley Happy

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 3
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Good thoughts, Eric. Thanks.
I did notice the Ad Rank for these two ads and figured that was a factor. Since these have the same landing page, CPC, and keyword list, the only thing affecting quality score and thus Ad Rank is the ad text itself. So that one work difference is affecting quality score significantly.

I understand what you're saying about the low statistical significance. I would think this if it was 1 click for 10 impressions, but 17 clicks out of 458 impressions is decent in my view compared to the other one. That combined with over 5x the CTR of the other ad makes me think that humans like this ad for some reason.

I eventually get to optimizing for conversions but not there yet in this campaign.

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

I see this all the time.

 

Google seems to favour the ad that gets off to the best start, regardless of how they perform in the long-term. Sometimes they favour an ad so much that the others don't get a chance to shine. I think the problem is that Google factors in additional information other than actual CTR, like expected CTR and QS.

 

I start all new campaigns set to rotate infinitely.

 

If it is a small account, I optimise ad serving by hand (pausing ads, writing new ones).
If it is a large account, I set it back to Google's automated system for either clicks or conversions, once each ad has been given a chance.

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 5
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
Yeah, I see it all the time too. That's why I finally asked to see what others think.

I've often set the ad rotation to "rotate indefinitely" only to find that some ads are still weighted after a month goes buy. I've even asked an Adwords rep about this, but didn't get much help.

I think you're right that Adwords falls in love with certain ads due to expected CTR and QS.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

@WebEminence if you set your Ads to rotate evenly they will rotate evenly, so there will be no "weighting".  However, it's worth bearing in mind that the rotation of Ads is based upon the number of auctions entered, not the number of impressions or clicks, so it's quite possible to see a variation in these numbers despite Ad rotation.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
Point taken, Jon. Thanks.

So the number of auctions entered should be equally weighted. BUT they may receive impressions disproportionately due to differing QS factors. I could see that explaining minor differences like 60/40 splits, but it seems odd (or at least telling) to see 90/10 splits when rotating evenly. That may point to major QS differences I guess and something to investigate.

Re: Ad Rotation - what is Adwords thinking?

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor

@WebEminence yep, spot on.  To be honest, one of the most common causes of unexpected stats is date range.  A simple problem but one that happens to the best of us, so make sure you're looking at a range where all the Ads involved were all Approved, and the rotation settings were consistent for that period.  Also check for mobile Ad preference settings as these could skew things.

 

I have to say that in all my client Accounts (and I tend to always use rotation), the stats come out very close - usually less than 5% variance over a decent period.  Just picking two Ads in a Group at random, for this month, one has 49.56% share and the other 50.44%, for example.


Look also at the actual number of impressions.  Low counts (say, fewer than 100) tend to vary a lot more than higher impression counts.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits