AdWords Position Preference Doesn’t Always Work
Overall, I’ve been pleased with position preference. Used in conjunction with Google Analytics; one can see the ROI of a keyword by position.
That’s powerful information to know. Do you need to be in the top positing as your offer depends on immediate response? Does your ad do well at the bottom of the page due to comparison shoppers? Do you just need to be in the middle of the page for branding reinforcement?
Whatever the answer is, if you want you ad to appear in a particular position – it’s pretty easy to do with Google AdWords.
Or is it?
The below quote is from AdWordsAdvisor2 (who I know personally, and understands many of the technical details with AdWords) in a WebmasterWorld thread that went largely unnoticed.
The lower limit on position preference is a hard limit, but the upper limit is not. The system will try and hold to the upper limit defined in your preferences, but we couldn’t make it a hard limit. In the unlikely scenario that the ads that would normally compete for the top few positions all had upper limits of position 4, for example, having that upper limit be a hard stop would cause issues for the auction.
For example, if there are 10 people with position preference turned on, and their top position is all 4, then if Google followed that ad serving, there would be 0 ads as no one wanted the top 3 spots.
I think in this case, its more important to inform than complain. If I were Google, in this instance, I’d do the same thing – serve the ads – don’t just serve a blank page.
So, advertisers, you’ve been informed. The bottom limit of position preference is a hard limit – the upper limit might not be.