Pay the most money, and you can get your text-only ad to be number one on Google, right? The Google AdWords system is far more complicated than that.
A good “Quality Score” gives an edge to advertisers, even if they aren’t the highest bidder. “Ad Extensions” mean that ads can show pictures, maps, ratings and more.
The infographic below from the folks at Pulpmedia illustrates some of the many moving parts like this within AdWords.
Want the infographic for yourself? You’ll find it here: How does Google AdWords really work?
Technically, having a Quality Score under 4 doesn’t mean that your ad can’t show. You’ll get a message saying the ad doesn’t trigger because of a low AdRank. But if you were to pay much more, that would boost your AdRank and let the ad appear.
Of course, it would be far better to improve your ad itself! For tips on this, see our articles below, some of which come from the Google: AdWords area of the Search Engine Land Library and some from our Paid Search column — sign-up for that, to get great tactical tips emailed to you each week.