Announced this week, Google AdWords has a quick way to view campaign, ad group or keyword performance by ad slot position, top vs. side. Reports have shown that ads shown above natural search results tend to receive more clicks than ads that show on the right-hand section.
I can certainly understand the rationale behind this, but it led me to more questions than answers. However, let’s first take a look at the report, as well as how to access it:
Accessing the report is easy. In a campaign, ad group or keyword view, select the “Segment” button and select “Top vs. Side.”
As mentioned, the report raised a couple of questions. As an example, I looked at a keyword that reported an average position of 1.8 on top, and 4.7 on the side. It made me wonder, when it appeared on the side, was that position 4.7 like the example below, where the first three ads are at the top and position four starts at the top of the side:
Or is it like this example, where there are no ads in the top area and ads only appear on the side:
There is a significant difference in placement between a position 4, with three other ads on top vs. position 4 when no ads exist at the top.
Another keyword I looked reported an average position of 2 in both the top and side slots. The ad received more clicks when in the top slot vs. the side, even though the ad on the side received more impressions. Again, I have the problem mentioned above, but I also have another issue. How do I get my ad in position 2 at the top? If there is one competitor in position 1 at the top, obviously outbidding them will get me to the top, but what if the one competitor in the top position is also shown on the side? What then? Again I can outbid the competitor, but that does not necessarily get my ad to show at the top of natural search results.
Overall, the report provides an interesting view, but I find it hard to act on it without more data that does not seem to be available.