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A single ad could limit the potential of your PPC campaign, which begs the question: how many ads per ad group is best? The answer is 3 (Three). You should have at least 3 ads per ad group so that it can help the system to optimize the performance and you can also check which is working well for your audience.
Paid advertising thrives on data, and the more data you can get, the better. With a strategy built on collecting and analyzing data, you can test and monitor different ad variants, and evaluate the results to figure out what works for your specific business, goals, and audience.
In this article, we’ll discuss how many ads per ad group is optimal, and explain how you can use Google Ads rotation to achieve the balance you need in your PPC campaign.
How Many Ads Per Ad Group Should You Have In Google Ads?
There are merits to a single keyword ad group (SKAG), but generally speaking, it’s recommended to have a minimum of 3 ads in each ad group. By including multiple ads, you can run A/B testing with minor variations to see which ads perform better, and which fall short. Choose the best-performing ones and pause the rest and rotate in new test ads.
Data insights on the test elements give you the knowledge to optimize your PPC ad campaigns, which, in turn, leads to smarter advertising decisions, and better results.
You can learn more about how to structure a search network campaign.
What is Ad Rotation in Google Ads?
Ad rotation is a customizable campaign setting in Google Ads that automatically rotates ads in your ad group to optimize performance on the Search and Display Networks.
Through machine learning, Google Ads can determine top-performing ads and can show them more often. Alternatively, you can choose the ads you wish to display more to your target audience and configure the settings to determine how often each ad in the ad group is served compared to one another.
What are the Ad Rotation Options in Google Ads?
It’s important to choose the right Ad rotation setting, as this will determine whether your best ads are shown to the right prospects. Automation in advertising is all about showing the right ads to the right people at the right time.
So, as well as figuring out how many ads per ad group, you must also think about which rotation option is best. Let’s take a closer look at your options:
1. Optimize: Prefer best performing ads
With this setting, Google Ads will use its advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automatically rotate and optimize your ads to achieve the maximum amount of clicks (and conversions if you’re using a Smart Bidding strategy). In every auction, Google selects and displays the best ads by taking a range of contextual signals into account, including:
- Physical Location & Location Intent
- Time of Day
- Remarketing Lists
- Ad Characteristics
- Browser & Operating System
- Keywords & Search Query
- Search Network Partner
- Web Placement
- Site behavior
- Product Attributes
So, how many ads per ad group is best for this setting?
If you have an optimized ad rotation with three or more ads per ad group, you can increase your impressions and ad clicks. The more ads you provide, the better the expected performance is, as Google’s AI has more data to work with when optimizing your ads.
If your top priority is to increase conversion rates, you should try Smart Bidding, as this helps you tailor your keyword bids based on the likelihood of a conversion. Then Google Ads chooses the ad most likely to generate that conversion.
How Does It Work?
As data accumulates, the signals mentioned above will indicate which ads are statistically more likely to deliver desirable results. If you’re using Smart Bidding, the ads that Google Ads expects to drive clicks and conversions will be entered into auctions more often than others in the ad group.
If all the ads within a single ad group have a similar performance level, Google will continue to rotate the ads evenly.
2. Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely
The second option, Rotate ads indefinitely, will rotate all the ads in the group evenly for an indefinite amount of time. Furthermore, it also enters each ad into an equal number of auctions. The benefit of this is that you have ample opportunity to conduct a thorough A/B test of every ad so that you can identify the best performers.
As such, you have more control over how you optimize your ads, which makes this option a good choice for people who like to do a lot of analysis and strategizing to hit their goals.
Depending on how much you spend on your campaign, you could potentially gather a lot of valuable data to base your decisions in regards to which ads are the best performers. With these insights, you can make informed adjustments to improve campaign performance.
How Does It Work?
With the “Rotate ads indefinitely” option, the percentage of impressions for ads served in the ad group will be more even than the other ad rotation options. However, as ad quality varies, and quality is a crucial factor in Ad Rank, the percentage of impressions for each ad may not be perfectly even. An ad with high quality may appear on the first page of search results, while an ad with low quality may show on the second page of search results, which reaches a smaller number of users.
3. Optimize for Conversions (Not Supported)
Optimize for Conversions was an older setting that relied on historical data, enabling Google Ads to analyze the data and choose the ad that was most likely to result in a conversion. The recommended method to optimize your campaign serving for focusing on conversions is to use Smart Bidding. It is no longer supported, so if you have this selected in Google Ads, it will automatically reset to the Optimize setting discussed above.
4. Rotate Evenly (Not Supported)
Rotate evenly is another legacy setting that was virtually identical to the Rotate Indefinitely setting discussed above. The big difference was that Google Ads automatically optimized all ads after 90 days.
How to Configure Ad Rotation in Google Ads
When you create a new PPC campaign in Google Ads, navigate to “Additional setting” to set up your Ad rotation from the beginning.
However, if this is for an existing campaign, you can change your rotation settings by following the steps below:
Step 1: Open Google Ads
Step 2: Select a campaign
Step 3: Select Settings > Campaign Settings
Step 4: Select the campaign that you want to change, and then “Edit” from the top menu bar. From the drop-down menu, select “Change ad rotation.”
Step 5: Change the setting here, then select “Apply” to confirm the change.
Rotating Ads vs. Optimizing Ads: Which Is Better?
In Google Ads, the default setting is Optimize, so the top-performing ads — those with a higher click through rate (CTR) — will show more often than other ads in the ad group. However, clicks are not a good barometer for success. Instead, you want to increase conversions in the form of downloads, sign-ups, leads, and sales.
With ad rotation, it doesn’t matter how many ads per ad group you have, as Google will force all the ads to show as often as one another. Doing this may be more profitable, as the platform can figure out which ads are best for your goals.
To illustrate this, consider the example below where you have an ad group with two ads – Ad A and Ad B. The ads were set to rotate, so each one is shown 2,000 times over the course of a month. Here are the results which you could expect:
- Ad A: 2,000 impressions, 3.0% CTR, 60 clicks
- Ad B: 2,000 impressions, 1.75% CTR, 35 clicks
- Ad Group Total: 4,000 impressions. average CTR 2.37% and 95 Clicks total
Now, what if the ads were set to optimize?
In this case, Google will choose Ad a more often based on its higher CTR. In doing so, this Ad will drive more clicks. However, it is conversions that matter. You should keep a close watch to see whether these clicks lead to conversion. If they don’t, you may be spending more on ads with little improvement in return on investment (ROI).
How many ads should be implemented per ad group?
Three to five should be implemented per ad group.
Knowing how many ads per ad group is just part of the puzzle. Ideally, you should use at least 3 or more ads in each group. Going beyond that, you should make ad rotation a priority as this feature helps you refine your ad quality and performance through data insights.
Google Ads is all about testing and monitoring, and with ad rotation, you can identify the best ads in each ad group, and make the changes you need to generate more clicks and a higher ROI in your PPC campaign.