What does this mean for you?
We'll start from the beginning so that everyone can understand what this means even if they are just considering advertising with Adwords on the Search Network.
Let's Start With Ad Groups
When you open your Adwords account, the next step is to create a campaign. However, inside your campaign, you will probably have different areas you want to target. For example, you may have 3 different areas of your business that are quite different. This is where ad groups come into play. You could have one ad group that is focused on summer holidays, another ad group for winter vacations, and another ad group for discounted holiday packages. Because the theme and focus keywords are different, it is best to have 3 separate ad groups.
Creating Multiple Adverts
Once you have selected the keywords for a specific ad group, the next step is to create adverts for that ad group. Adwords recommends you create 3 slightly different adverts because you just don't know, one may perform better than the others. It's quite normal to create 3 adverts (or more) for each ad group. And it is the case too, one of those adverts always does perform better than the others. They might even read very similar but there is something about that advert that is performing the best that is making the difference and making Google users more interested in it than the others. The performance difference between adverts can, and just about always is, incredibly disproportionate. Google wants to take full advantage of this.
Previous to the Change
Whatever type of bidding strategy you were using, you had 4 choices; the following is taken directly from Adwords:
1. Optimize for clicks: Show ads expected to provide more clicks
Ideal setting for most advertisers.
2. Optimize for conversions: Show ads expected to provide more conversions
Ideal setting if you use Adwords or Google Analytics conversion tracking.
3. Rotate evenly: Show ads more evenly for at least 90 days, then optimize
May be appropriate if you optimize ads using your own data.
4. Rotate indefinitely: Show lower performing ads more evenly with higher performing ads, and do not optimize
Not recommended for most advertisers.
Now there are a lot of opinions on what was the best choice. I've always gone with rotating evenly for the first 30 days at least so that I could get a look at which advert was performing the best. Google actually recommends a minimum of 90 days. Google Adwords works through investment. It's just a fact. Accepting the fact that you will be spending your budget at the beginning and only be getting exposure until Google's machine learning technology (and your guidance through tightening up your keywords and removing unwanted incoming searches that are triggering your adverts with negative keywords) starts to take effect. You'll always hear your Adwords Expert (employed at Google) say "long term profitability with us at Adwords". That's more than a hint.
Why the Change?
Well, it seems pretty obvious. As campaigns progress and you build up a record of conversions, it pays to step your way up into assisted/smart bidding. For example, to raise the number of clicks on your adverts after your initial period of investment, you can switch to bidding where Google will "optimise for clicks". There are many more steps you can proceed along, as long as you have built up the data to do it. This change simply means that if you are using any kind of assisted/smart bidding strategy to get help from Google Adwords (which does work very well if you do it properly), your adverts will automatically be "optimised".
In other words, Google doesn't want to let you have control over the rotation of your adverts when it is responsible for assisting your bidding for better results. This is even more important for Google now they have assumed the right to spend up to double your daily budget in a single day - not that there's anything to complain about. Google Adwords is doing that to take better advantage of the waves of activity that take place every day on the Internet. Your total monthly budget will still be the same. If you've got your CTA assisted bidding setup right by someone we know, you will be getting massive returns and now struggling to spend all of your budget.
It's All Very Understandable
If you would like us to manage your Adwords account, we are more than interested. We can take a look at your position, your budget and work out an arrangement that helps you manage your costs.