In User Advice on Rotation Settings Best Practices, I examined some of the benefits of moving your campaigns from optimized to even rotation, especially if you are considering optimizing your PPC account through ad copy testing. However, before making this settings change it is important to check how many ads you have running in the ad groups that will be affected by this change. As is often the case when accounts are running optimized rotation, the number of ads in your ad groups can grow quickly if you do not pay attention to it. This brings us to the second topic of this series: Cleaning out underperforming ads (what I refer to as Ad Sweeping).
A wise objection one might have to moving their campaigns from uneven to even rotation is that it could lead to a serious dip in performance. And this concern is valid if you have not paid attention to how many ads are running in your ad groups while uneven rotation is in place. Given that even rotation is the ideal environment for ad testing, it is important to have a methodology in place for removing bad ads from your ad groups prior to making this change.
Pruning your ad groups of its worst ads is one of the lowest hanging fruit for optimizing your account. While there is no magic number of ads you should be running in your ad groups, there are some general best practices you can use to help understand which ads are hurting your account. Having a clear goal and set of metrics defined is the first step. Knowing your key success metrics will help you make the best decisions on which ads to pause and remove subjectivity from the process. For our purposes, I have included an example below with the simple goal of improving the ad group CTR:
With your success metrics defined, you can start to identify and eliminate the most obvious under performers. In Table 1, the ad group is currently running 5 ads with one clear top performer. In Table 2, the analysis demonstrates how you can compare ads using underperformance on a success metric and statistical confidence to identify which ads make the most sense to pause. If you do not have the tools to run statistical analysis, then you should establish threshold criteria such as looking at ads over a comparative time frame of at least 10 days, where each ad has 1000+ impressions.
Using this kind of methodology will help you objectively decide which ads to keep running and which to remove. By pausing your worst underperforming ads, not only do you improve the average level performance of the ad group, but you also use the impression volume in your ad groups more efficiently by getting more searchers looking at your best ads—and all of this without having to write a single ad!
Key takeaway - it is important to remove, or sweep, lower performing ads that could be stealing impressions from higher performers.
Now that we have established the best practices for rotation settings, and have a strategy in place for reducing the number of ads running in your ad groups, the stage is set to run effective ad copy tests that can yield strong results. Look out for the final article in this series where I will examine some best practices for ad copy testing.