How To Control Your Ad Position

Get the Flash Player to see this Google AdWords tutorial about building your keyword list.

With AdWords you might assume that the highest/first position is the most desirable place for your ads to be, but actually, what’s really important is taking control of your ad position.

In AdWords, controlling your position and your bids is more important than your ad being listed first. The reason for this is that you need to find the position (and the bidding price) that is most advantageous for you, otherwise always aiming for the highest position could mean unnecessarily wasting a big chunk of your budget.

The AdWords system decides your ad’s position through your bid and CTR. This article aims to guide you on how to tweak these two factors in order to maintain your most advantageous ad positions.

It’s All in the Strategy

Here are the bidding strategies you can easily apply to your campaigns:

Avoid the First Position. When?

Top three AdWords positions.

The first position in AdWords has the potential to lose you money.

If your site doesn’t convert well and your ad gains a lot of clicks because it appears first, it will definitely start losing you money. If competition for the keyword is high then the first position is going to be very expensive too. Also, the first position is more exposed to accidental clicks.

You can aim for the lower ad positions by lowering your bids. A good strategy is to maintain places 2 through 4, this ensures your ads will appear on both the search network and the display network. If you don’t run ads on the display network or have separate campaigns for display and search, a good strategy is to maintain places 2 through 4 for the display network (necessary for maximum exposure and results) and places 2 through 8 for the search network (this means your ad will appear on the first page of the search results).

You can also use the position preferences within AdWords to tell Google where you’d like your ad to appear, the system will then automatically try to lower your bid to move your ad down to your preferred position.

Evaluate Premium Listing

AdWords Premium Listings.

A maximum of 8 text ads can appear on the right-hand side of each Google search results pages. However, ads do sometimes appear above the Google search results. If your ad has a high quality score and a high CPC bid, AdWords can reward you by placing your ad in one of these three premium positions above the search results.

If your CTR grows at the same pace with your conversion rate, this can work in your favour. However, if your CTR grows faster than your conversion rate it means the extra traffic you get by occupying a premium position is low targeted. Therefore it’s important to evaluate whether these premium listings work for you or not, you should reduce your bid if they don’t.

Get the First Position on the Second Page

When a keyword is very popular it can be difficult to get into the top 8 positions (and appear on the first page), but by raising your bid to try compete you could find yourself getting into an expensive bidding war. When a keyword is expensive and you’ve done all you can to try improve Quality Score, you should consider aiming for the first position on the second page or even the third page.

The first position on the second and even third results page could prove profitable for you. This strategy can help when you have a lot of competitor ads that span several pages.

Maintain the Minimum Bid, no Matter What it Takes

This strategy is helpful when it is possible to find good keywords that have less competition, and you can enter the top four or three positions with the minimum bid.

If you have the time, start hunting for these types of keywords and your effort will be rewarded. This also helps increase the overall CTR history of your account.

Stay Ahead of Your Direct Competitors

This strategy works when the bidding prices are low. If you risk entering a bidding war, you should switch to new, undiscovered keywords.

Bid Less and Target Better

AdWords rewards advertisers that write highly relevant ads and who find good and relevant keywords, ahead of the ones that bid more and don’t take targeting into consideration.

Use Bidding Cycles

It can be advantageous to raise your bids during certain times of the day or week, the times when you know that your keyword gets more targeted traffic. Use the range of reports available in AdWords to determine what times are most profitable for you.

Remember, you can watch this and other AdWords Tutorials on our Youtube channel too.

Further Reading: We recommend reading How To Write Killer AdWords Ads next, or you could try out one of the other tutorials from the list below.

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