The End Of The Google AdWords Even Rotation Ad Setting


May 3, 2012

This week, Google made the announcement that it would be making “changes” to the campaign level ad rotation settings, an announcement that was far from well-received.  We’re all familiar with the three campaign ad rotation options: Optimize for Clicks, Optimize for Conversions, and Rotate Evenly.  The “Rotate Evenly” option, my personal favorite, ensured ads within that campaign/each ad group rotated evenly rather than showing one ad the majority of the time.  In addition to added control over account management, a huge benefit of the “Rotate Evenly” setting is streamlined ad copy testing, which many advertisers do on an ongoing basis in order to determine the most effective control ads, promotional ads, etc.

What’s the Change?

Google made the announcement that in the coming weeks, the Rotate Evenly setting will only rotate ads evenly for 30 days after a new ad is implemented or after an existing ad is edited; despite this being a campaign-level setting, the even rotation will be tracked at the ad group level, meaning each ad group can be at different stages in the 30 day rotation.  One thing that’s extremely important to note is that the campaign’s ad rotation setting will continue to say “Rotate Evenly,” even if the 30 day rotation period has ended.

Following the announcement, advertisers everywhere immediately started responding to the news with negative feedback, angry tweets, and even a petition to stop Google from implementing this new change, available here at

Essentially (and unfortunately) this setting means that we as advertisers will be losing another aspect of control over our AdWords campaigns.  Even if you have seen great results from running ads that rotate evenly, the possibility of running this setting on an ongoing basis will no longer exist, and will automatically switch to rotate to optimize for clicks after 30 days.  Even worse, this severely skews the validity of many advertisers’ ad copy tests, especially those who don’t accrue a statistically significant amount of data in the allotted 30 days.


How to Prepare for the Ad Rotation Update

The easy answer on how to prepare: hurry up and run any significant ad copy tests you were planning on running!  Alas, it is not always that simple, and the need for ad copy testing will arise in the future, while this new ad rotation is in place.  We all know how important statistical significance is when running tests in Paid Search, but unfortunately, many ad copy tests will not reach statistical significance in 30 days.  When this is the case, the only way to work around this issue (for now) is to do the following:

1.)    Pause the ads that were being tested once the 30 days of even rotation is up

2.)     Create new ads that are identical to those you were testing, to trigger the “Rotate Evenly” setting for another 30 days

3.)    Rinse and repeat until you accrue statistically significant traffic numbers

While this method is not perfect, it is a way to overcome Google’s rotation update in desperate ad copy testing situations.


So far, I haven’t heard that it will be possible to opt-out of this, but I, along with almost every other AdWords advertiser out there, am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be some sort of opt-out option for this in the near future.

How do you feel about this new upcoming change to the ad rotation settings?  If you have any other ideas on how to bypass this setting, please share!