Everyone knows an ad at the top of the results page gets a better click-through-rate than one lower down. But, ask yourself this question; is the top AdWords ad position always the one that brings in most sales?
Just think about it, you are paying premium bid prices to keep your ad at the top of the results page. You pay because the top position gets you the most traffic. But, what if you could have the same or even more sales at a lower ad position?
Of course, everyone knows a lower ad position means less to pay in bids. And, it is a well-known fact that lower ad positions attract fewer visitors. But, fewer visitors does not always mean fewer sales and less profit.
Once you try your ads in different positions on the results page and see the results you may be surprised at what you find out.
Track Your Ads With Google Analytics
Before you can track different ad positions, you need to install Google Analytics on your website. It is only when you link your AdWords and Google Analytics accounts together that you get a powerful tool that is able to fully track your AdWords campaigns.
To get the most from your Google Analytics account, you must also configure goals for your business. Only then can you track your sales from the very ad that brought the visitor to your website to the “thank you” page they see after a purchase.
The statistics you gain will help you in many ways to optimize your account for better performance.
Monitoring Your AdWords Ad Position
Now you have setup Google Analytics, you can start to see which AdWords ad positions give the best return for your money. Now keep in mind, you are going to need at least a month of data from your website before you can come to any useful conclusions.
As time passes by, you need to vary the bid price of your keywords. Change your bids slowly so your ad averages every place on the results page. Try to keep it in each position for about the same amount of time.
Once you have tested all positions on the results page, log into your Google Analytics account. Expand the “Traffic Sources” and then the “AdWords” menus. Then click on the “Keyword Positions” option (figure 1).
The Keywords Position screen is divided into two parts. On the left are your AdWords keywords. Click on a keyword you have been testing and the right-hand screen will show the position breakdown (figure 2).
For this keyword, you can see there are good visitor numbers for the top ad positions. The side ads have also a good number of clicks down to position 5. But, the ads from side position 6 onwards have been clicked on far too few times to give any meaningful results. These should, therefore, be ignored.
Now let your thoughts focus on the number of conversions each ad position has obtained (figure 3). Select “Goals” from the “Position Breakdown” drop menu. The results for each ad position change to show conversions.
In this example, you can see the ad was clicked on many times (figure 2) whilst in the top 3 positions. But, surprisingly, it did not convert very well (figure 3).
The best results for this ad were obtained when it showed on the side panel in positions 1 or 5.
Let your thoughts focus on the significance of these findings for a few minutes.
The top sponsored ad positions, above the natural results are much prized by AdWords advertisers. They are supposed to provide more traffic and higher conversions.
Yet, our test results show that this ad bucks the trend.
A bidding policy to keep this ad showing at the very top of the results page would be a waste of money. For the best return, you need to reduce your bid so this ad shows at the side of the results page, in either position 1 or 5.
If you were like me, you would aim your ad at side position 1. The results for side position 5 are based on a much smaller sample of click-through’s and could be misleading you.
However, if want to be sure, you could always perform the test again. This time position your ad at side position 1 for a few days and then side position 5!
You should now appreciate from this example, the importance of testing your AdWords ad position. The results are sometimes surprising and can even save you some money. To run a successful AdWords campaign, you must assume nothing, and test everything.