• http://www.cpcsearch.com Terry Whalen

    I’d be more interested in what Hal has to say versus other agencies. You need an absolute TON of data to look at this – I don’t know of many agencies outside of maybe EF that have enough data. Part of the reason you need a ton of data for this is that you have to negate all the other reasons for changes in conversion rates, including ad rotation, changes on the landing page or to the funnel, conversion tracking changes, etc. With enough data from enough different accounts all the other variables can kind of cancel themselves out. But with smaller datasets, you’re likely to come to erroneous conclusions.

    In addition, I think the only data that really matters is the data of the specific advertiser. It may be true that in aggregate, conversion rates don’t vary a whole lot by ad position. But for specific advertisers, or possibly for specific categories, this may not be true. The problem is that for specific advertisers, there usually isn’t enough data from the account to form any conclusions about conversion rate by ad position.

  • Astru

    Why is this so surprising? When people click on a search ad, why would they act differently on the advertiser’s site based on the initial ad placement? Either the site satisfies their need (and the visit results in a conversion) or not.

  • mothner

    Interesting, though somewhat not surprising in that one could argue that lower positioned ads would have actually a better conversion rate, because once the users has made it down to lower positioned ads, he either did not see what he wanted or may have clicked on higher ads and returned to the SERP, so when he finally does click on the lower ads he has exhausted other options and is more likely to convert for this ad.


  • http://www.christophtrautmann.de Chris T.

    Whats about the Google Analytics. Conntected with AdWords you’ll find a lot of information about every position and keyword under “AdWords/Keywords Position”:

    Conversion Rate

    - Chris

  • http://www.periscopix.co.uk/ Periscopix

    Alistair in our team did a bit of thinking about this after Google published this blog. He thinks that actually Google may have used *too much* data and ended up aggregating several distinct populations, effectively erasing the differences between them.

    Read the article here: http://www.periscopix.co.uk/blog/index.php/do-conversion-rates-vary-by-ad-position/

  • http://www.summitwebconsultants.com SummitWebConsultants

    I check the keyword position report for all of my ecommerce customers and have yet to see anything significant enough to warrant using position preference.

    But I agree with Terry, every site is different and it’s something you should look at for yourself. I never assume my ad performance will mirror data that has been aggregated over different websites, industries, seasons ect. ect.

    - Dan

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com George Michie

    We reached this same conclusion years ago. Terry’s right, it takes a ton of data, and fancy stats to get to this conclusion.

    Indeed, this is the reason we’ve advocated against position bidding since we started the business. See eg: http://www.rimmkaufman.com/rkgblog/2008/09/30/position-bidding/

    What Hal didn’t mention, for obvious reasons, is that those “worst” positions are at the top of the page, and the bottom of the page is slightly better. Google doesn’t want folks chasing each other DOWN the page.

    However, people shouldn’t avoid position 1 on these grounds. The differences between 1 and 10 are terrifically slight, and well within the statistical noise of any coherent bidding system.