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Is Ad Rank (or Ad Position) really important?

Well, up to a point. I think that you should be on the first page of the search result, else, you may get so few impressions & clicks, that it may really not be worth your time. But beyond that…… read on.

Advertisers naturally and understandably get into a competitive mindset where they want their ad to be on the top position. But from a strict profit maximizing mindset, my question is why? Lately, I have seen articles from “qualified consultants” who indicate that even though you should not try for the top position (because you may get useless clicks from tire kickers), your ad should be in positions 2 through 4. My question to them will also be why positions 2 through 4, and not position 5. Does an advertiser or consultant have data to indicate that there is something special about position 2 through 4 for any specific campaign?

In fact, I dare suggest here that all you should be tracking and measuring is how your sales (and profits, or whatever your measurable objectives) track against your bid for the different keywords, and optimize your campaign that way. Then, let your ad fall in whatever position it may. To try and do anything else is not worth it since competitors, quality scores and therefore ad positions are just too dynamic.

Let me go further. Given your expected profitability per click compared to the expected profitability per click of your competitors, one can mathematically prove that there is a “right” or profit maximizing ad position for you, and it could very well be position 7. The Mathematics of this is quite involved, but you can read my whole article on this at 

Bottom line: do not obsess about ad position, rather optimize campaigns by tracking how sales (or whatever your criteria for measurement) are tracking against Max CPCs at a keyword level. 

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