Why do some AdWords ads appear on top of the organic listing and not in the right-hand column?
So Google can make more money, of course.
How do you get your ads to appear on ‘top’? There is no guaranteed path, but here are the relevant facts.
- There will not be top slots available for all keywords. Google decides which searches will display any top-listed ads. They also decide if there are 1, 2, or 3 slots available.
- There is a minimum bid to get positioned on top. Of course it’s a secret. If you’re already at #1 on the right and want to force your way to the top, raise your bid – it may or may not work, Google will almost certainly get more money in either case, but at least you’ll find out.
- If your bid is above the minimum required to be on top, but your ad rank (bid x quality score) your ad may ‘jump over’ other advertisers who had a higher ad rank but a lower bid. This jump will put your ad on top, while your competitors stay on the right.
There are significantly higher click-through rates seen by ads that make it to the top, above even those ranked #1 on the right. I’ve heard estimates as high as 3x-4x.
Proving that the future will be ever-more interesting, Google has recently been testing AdWords text-ads with ‘site-links’. These are multiple hyper-links to different landing pages within the advertisers’ web site.
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Site-Links have existed in organic listings for popular and high ranking sites for some time. According to Google their appearance in AdWords is just ‘yet another test’:
As part of our ongoing commitment to help users find the information they’re looking for online, we are testing a feature in which links to various pages of an advertiser’s website may appear within the text ads on Google.com. Presenting multiple landing page options is intended to make specific website information such as gift registries, special deals, store locators and the like more easily accessible to users. It also offers brand marketers a new way to quickly engage potential customers. This feature is currently in a limited beta with a small number of advertisers.
It’s an interesting idea, which we could imagine helping some Broad Match keywords quite a bit. On the other hand, imagine having to test different link combinations within each ad, and trying to track the various conversion rates on each of the landing pages. Or maybe Google will automatically select the appropriate pages based on the search query of the user?
Tests like this often come and go and are never heard from again. It will be interesting to see what happens with this one.
Shane gave a great presentation on creative approaches to writing ad copy, and David shared his broad knowledge including a focus on how ads and ad copy needs to be different on the content network.
I focused on three aspects of success with text ads:
1. Organize campaigns so the ads are seen by the right people.
2. Develop recipes for your ad copy to help you test for different triggers.
3. Conduct formal tests to find dramatic CTR improvements.
Improvements in text ad performance – meaning higher click-through-rates -are within reach of every paid search advertisers. With a simple approach and a little effort, you can drive up CTR by 2x-4x or more, which brings a lot of advantages:
- Higher Quality Score
- Lower Cost-Per-Click
- Better Impression Share
- Higher Positions
Hopefully this 10-minute presentation will provide some insights, and inspire you to spend some time improving your text ads: