• April Riddle

    Stating that ad position does not affect conversion is the most ludicrous thing yet. If that is so, then why even put paid ads at the top and side, why not slap them at the bottom of the pages all together? They are at the top and sides for a reason. Usability studies have shown this is where the eyes move when scanning the pages, further usability studies have shown within those zones (paid advertising sections) where the eyes move, and they are to positions 1-4. There is no amount of crack you could have me smoke and expect to believe my ad will perform as well in position eight as it does in the coveted 1-4. The difference in this new method is all for Google’s benefit. Right now we can choose to say show my ad in positions x-x only – if you can’t put it in the stop don’t show it, because it is not worth it to have all the impressions and not the clicks in the lower positions (which kills CTR, affects QS and increases minimum required bids). Now I have to set up rules and hope they work, but if they don’t I have no guarantee my ad simply will not show if it is not in the coveted spot. Now I still have to bid and pay and risk my ad sitting in a bad position and not get clicked. Now my keywords with high CTRs are going to tank because I will have more impressions coming without position targeting, and thus lower click throughs. Accounts I have been nursing for months to get to excellent CTRs using top bid positioning will immediately be seeing more impressions and new placements not in my target zone. Some clients pay and expect to be in nothing but position one all the time. Now that can not truly be guaranteed. The difference between targeting a position and setting a position preference was simple: show my Ads in the coveted spots google, or you don’t get my money, because I am only willing to pay for those top slots. Now google can slap my ads on the side or toward the bottom and I am going to have to retool everything to prevent this.

  • Nick N

    Dear all,

    Google Shuts Down Position Preference:
    https://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&utm_content=cues&answer=1217374
    http://searchengineland.com/google-shuts-down-position-preference-for-adwords-bidding-71708

    We cannot let this happen!

    They must keep the Position Preference feature, because:
    1) Ads showing in positions 1 and 2 have much higher CTR. Without position preference Ad will have more impressions in lower positions which will inevitably bring the CTR down, it will then bring down the Quality Score so the Cost will go up and we’ll have to stop the Ad. Bottom line is: it will cost you 10 times more to maintain the same CTR.

    2) Many customers demand their Ads to show in positions 1 and 2. How are we going to explain it to them? We are going to lose customers whom we advertise for and hence will have to quit Google as an advertising channel. I am sure many of you are in the same position.

    3) For low-budget people it is a killer! If Google removes Position Preference low-budget people will simply have to find another channel. As you won’t be able to keep the same CTR for the same cost.

    4) Automation Rules is not a solution. They only get turned on at certain times during the day. And all they do is pause the ads or put them back on or adjust the bid. What Position Preference does is it literally monitors the situation in Real-time and ONLY puts your Ad at those very moments when it can be placed in positions 1 and 2 without affecting your costs. Position Preference is the only way to achieve the highest CTR and visibility while maintaining the same Cost.

    The bottom line is: it will cost us more to achieve the same CTR.
    How much more? Only God knows.
    Personally, if Google does that to us, I am going to quit. Seriously. I had enough.

    Really interested to hear your thoughts on that. What do people think?

  • http://braddlibby.wordpress.com Bradd Libby

    April says: “Stating that ad position does not affect conversion is the most ludicrous thing yet. If that is so, then why even put paid ads at the top and side, why not slap them at the bottom of the pages all together?”

    April, you are confusing CR and CTR. An ad’s position can affect CTR and still “have no impact on conversion rates”, exactly as Dr. Varian claimed.

    “Right now we can choose to say show my ad in positions x-x only – if you can’t put it in the stop don’t show it, because it is not worth it to have all the impressions and not the clicks in the lower positions (which kills CTR, affects QS and increases minimum required bids).”

    Quality Score calculations account for position. Your ad’s position does not affect your QS, even if reducing the position “kills” your CTR.

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

    Terrifying to see that at this late date there are still folks who don’t seem to understand the fundamentals of the channel. If all the folks upset by this change get out of the business perhaps bid landscapes will become more rational, and that should benefit those folks who play the game more shrewdly.

  • http://www.crealytics.com A. Meyer

    There was one good thing about ad position: if you knew that it was quite save to put your ad on position 4 you could just set a high bid and wouldn’t have to bother about bid management.

    Yet – there is another, nasty thing you could do with position preference. Imagine there is more than one agency bidding on the same url. If you knew on which position the other agency’s ad shows up, you could just set a high bid with position preference up to this very ad position (or maybe 1 position higher, I never really gave it a try). Now *your* ad would always show up but you wouldn’t have to pay more than your competitor …

    And this might actually be the reason why Google finally turns position preference off.

  • http://www.franchahyz.com Tom

    “chief economist Hal Varian that concluded that the ad’s position on a page has no impact on conversion rates.” Too funny!

  • Jakob

    Hal Varian concludes… that if you have a preference you risk not to show, hence the competition is lower, bids will be lower and Google makes less money. Am I missing something here?

  • http://www.semnoob.com mmarshall

    Man – you guys need to update your comment section to allow for comment likes and replys.

    @ George Michie \Terrifying to see that at this late date there are still folks who don’t seem to understand the fundamentals of the channel. If all the folks upset by this change get out of the business perhaps bid landscapes will become more rational, and that should benefit those folks who play the game more shrewdly.\

    It amazes me how little so many people behind the wheel understand basic search principles.

  • http://www.edeninteractive.com searchengineman

    Ok Mr Hal Varian & Google,

    If as you say position preference is a non-factor. Then offer us a client report based solution
    on Ad position that we can show our clients!- Clicks by position, in the Adwords UI.
    Then we can prove with authority that this holds true.

    I am personally tired of having to explain the Official Google line to small customers, who believe that if you’re not position 1-3, there is no value. (Don’t get me wrong, the landing page determines the outcome, not the click!)

    As Avinash Kaushkik says averages lie – Show me the segments!

    In fact why are we bidding more for these top positions in the first place! (Yes its Ego mainly which is inflating the price)

    If Ad position has no bearing on conversions/ROI! The only way to prove this to SMB’s is provide tools to prove this point so customers can fix lousy pages instead of throwing money away for top 3 placements.

    I don’t think Google will do this as they are more than happy to take peoples money.
    I understand the upset reactions of the top comments.

    IF you’re taking away position preference, then offer us advertisers sufficient tools to compensate for its removal.

    Searchengineman

  • http://www.onlinematters.com Arthur Coleman

    Others have already made the same comment – ad position on the page does, in our experience, impact conversion rates. And ROI is tied to spend and conversion rate. You can optimize your ROI not being in first position, and it just depends on what lower positions end up costing.

    I don’t get this at all. Clearly something else is causing this move on Google’s part that I don’t understand.