Google: Ad Position Doesn’t Affect Conversion

Good news for Pay Per Click advertisers, you can rest a little easier knowing that your lower-ranking text ads are likely converting at the same rate as higher-ranking ads.

Google set out to answer the question, “How does conversion rate vary by position?” (Note, “position” in this context refers to Average Position, or where your text ad appears on a search results page)

Google’s Chief Economist Hal Varian released these results on the Inside AdWords blog:

We have used a statistical model to account for these effects and found that, on average, there is very little variation in conversion rates by position for the same ad. For example, for pages where 11 ads are shown the conversion rate varies by less than 5% across positions. In other words, an ad that had a 1.0% conversion rate in the best position, would have about a 0.95% conversion rate in the worst position, on average. Ads above the search results have a conversion rate within ±2% of right-hand side positions.

Trust, But Verify: Test It Yourself

If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of testing findings like this. It may work for some but you don’t want to invest money in something that may hold true for your business.

To test Google’s findings, you can isolate your ads’ Average Position by activating the “Position Preference” setting in your Campaign settings:

AdWords Position Preference Setting

AdWords Position Preference Setting

Now you can set the position preference on a keyword-by-keyword basis simply by clicking on the Position Preference column. A small pop-up lets you indicate your desired range of positions:

Keyword Position Preference

Keyword Position Preference

Finally, set up a pre-period where you measure the conversion rates of your ads in the “any position” setting. Once your conversion rates seem to level out, try setting the Preferred Position to different settings and keep an eye on your conversion rates.

If they don’t change (or stay within a 5% deviation), you have just proven Google’s findings. If your conversion rates do fluctuate, you might try adjusting your ad text or landing page offers. Chances are you haven’t maximized the conversion potential of your site.

(hat tip Marketing Pilgrim)


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