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Using ad rotation and frequency capping

  • Find the ad rotation and frequency capping settings in your campaign’s “Advanced settings.”
  • Use ad rotation to determine how often we deliver your active ads in relation to one another in an ad group.
  • Use frequency capping with Display Network campaigns to set a limit on the number of times your ad appears to a unique visitor.

Choosing an ad rotation setting for your campaign

Ad rotation is the way we deliver your ads on both the Search Network and the Display Network. If you have multiple ads within an ad group, your ads will rotate because no more than one ad from your account can show at a time. Use the ad rotation setting, available for campaigns with "All features" enabled, to specify how often you'd like the ads in your ad group to be served relative to one another.

You have four options for ad rotation:

  • Optimize for clicks (default): Ads expected to attract more clicks are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group. These higher-quality ads gain more impressions than other ads in the ad group, resulting in higher ad-served percentages. With this option, your ad group will likely receive more impressions and clicks overall, since higher-quality ads attain better positions and attract more user attention.

    How it works
    The Optimized algorithm sends ads into auctions based on principles of statistical analysis. As data is accumulated, ad serving will become weighted more heavily in favor of the ads that appear statistically likely to perform better. It's possible for ad serving to remain relatively even within this setting, if ads in an ad group have similar performance or if the ad group does not receive a substantial amount of impressions and clicks for some period of time.
  • Optimize for conversions: Ads expected to provide more conversions are delivered more often into the ad auction than other ads in the ad group. Although this option may result in your ad group receiving fewer clicks than the previous option, it's more likely to receive more conversions, which can result in an improved return on investment.

    How it works

    This option takes both clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversion rate into consideration. If there isn't enough data to determine which ad will provide the most conversions, ads will rotate using "Optimize for clicks" data.

  • Rotate evenly: Delivers your ads more evenly into the ad auction. In general, rotating evenly allows ads with lower clickthrough rates and conversion rates to show more often, so this option could result in a lower average position or fewer clicks and conversions.

    How it works

    When a new ad group is enabled, or an ad in that ad group is added or changed, we’ll rotate the ads in the ad group evenly for a 90-day period. After the 90-day period, the campaign will automatically begin to optimize for clicks or conversions. If the campaign is using a conversion-based bidding strategy such as conversion optimizerEnhanced CPC, Target CPA, or Target ROAS, it will optimize for conversions, otherwise it will optimize for clicks.

    Even though this setting is at the campaign level, the even rotation period is tracked separately for each ad group. It starts (and resets) for an ad group whenever the ads in that ad group change: specifically, when a new ad gets added, when an existing ad is changed, or when a paused/deleted ad is enabled.

    When the even rotation period ends and we optimize for clicks, the campaign setting will continue to say "Rotate evenly." Note that for campaigns using the vCPM bidding option, ads will continue to rotate more evenly beyond the 90 days.

  • Rotate indefinitely: Similar to the "Rotate evenly" setting, this option delivers your ads more evenly into the ad auction, but does so for an indefinite amount of time and does not optimize. This option is not recommended for most advertisers.

Keep in mind

With the "Rotate evenly" and "Rotate indefinitely" options, the percentage of impressions for ads served in the ad group will be more even than the other ad rotation options. However, because the quality of the ads differ, and quality is used to determine where an ad shows, or if it even shows at all, 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.

Note

To simplify ad serving and campaign management, ad rotation settings will no longer be available for new video campaigns starting in December 2016. Instead, all video campaigns will be optimized for views by default.
Existing video campaigns using “Optimize for conversions” or “Rotate evenly” will automatically be changed to “Optimize for views” in January, and you’ll no longer see ad rotation options in campaign settings.
How to set the ad rotation for your campaign
  1. Sign in to your AdWords.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Under All campaigns, click the name of the campaign to be delivered.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
  5. In the "Advanced settings" section, click Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping. Note that the availability of certain settings, like this, may depend on the campaign type you choose. Compare campaign types in detail and learn how you can change yours.
  6. Next to "Ad rotation," click Edit to select a method for showing your ads. Ad rotation
  7. Click Save.
Try it out
How to set ad rotation for multiple campaigns at once
  1. Sign in to your AdWords.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Click the Settings sub-tab.
  4. Check the box next to any campaigns that you want to change.
  5. From the Edit menu, select Advanced settings > Ad rotation….
  6. In the box that appears, choose the ad rotation that you would like for the selected campaigns.
  7. Optional: We recommend you click Preview changes to see how your campaigns’ ad rotation will change.
  8. Click Make changes.

Tip

While on the campaign settings tab, you can click Filter to show only campaigns that match specific criteria. This can make it easier to make changes in bulk to certain campaigns.

Setting a frequency cap on impressions for Display Network ads

Frequency capping limits the number of times your ads appear to the same unique user on the Google Display Network. It doesn't apply to the Search Network. Only impressions that were viewable count towards frequency caps.  An ad is counted as viewable when 50% or more of the ad shows for one second or longer for display ads and two seconds or longer for video ads.

If you turn on frequency capping for a campaign, you specify a limit for the number of impressions you'll allow per day, per week, or per month for an individual user. You also choose whether the cap applies to each ad, ad group, or campaign. If you're advertising on websites that see a lot of repeat visitors (like The New York Times), this helps you avoid showing your ad too much to the same folks.

How to set a frequency cap

Here's how to set a frequency cap:

  1. Sign in to your AdWords.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
  3. Under All campaigns, click the name of the campaign to be delivered.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
  5. In the "Advanced settings" section, click Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping. Note that the availability of certain settings, like this, may depend on the campaign type you choose. Compare campaign types in detail and learn how you can change yours.
  6. Click Edit next to "Frequency capping."
  7. Enter the number of impressions. The value must be a whole number (such as 100, not 100.5). Frequency capping
  8. Select a time interval (per day, per week, or per month) and a level (per ad group, per ad, or for this campaign).
  9. Click Save.
Try it out
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