Top vs. Side Position PPC Management

Ever done a search, and noticed that there are no paid search ads above the organic listings? Then do the same search later, and notice that ads are suddenly above the organic listings?

This is a part of Google’s ongoing testing in combination with an advertiser’s quality score. This difference has a great impact on a PPC ad’s performance.

However, when running an average position report you don’t see the difference. The ad position could be on the top, or the side, and still be considered the number one spot.

Google allows you to run a report to understand the differences. I recently examined our clients’ performance in the top three spots to better understand some of the differences. What I found was really worth understanding.

When your report for your keyword performance says you ranked greater than second, there is a 90 percent chance that your ad was shown above the organic rankings. The number decreases with each ranking, and only 6 percent of ads in the third position appear on the top of the page.

This may not be that big of a surprise to most people. However, the key to this data point is to understand the vast differences in click-through rate (CTR) as you move from the top to the side. While only 10 percent of impressions of position one appear on the side less than 1 percent of the clicks come from that side position.

The chart shows over a 15 point difference in CTR from top to side positioning, and while the difference isn’t as great for positions two and three, the CTR difference is about 4 points. These are massive click differences.

Even with the vast difference in CTR position three splits the clicks about 50/50 when shown on the top or the side.



Why is all of this even important? The importance comes in the amount and cost of traffic to your site.

The top positions really do drive significantly more volume at a higher CTR. The biggest reason to care would be the difference in CPC from the top to the side rail.

Our data shows that for the top three positions on average clicks were $1 less for the top positions vs. the side positions. So not only is traffic higher it comes at a reduced cost.


This data is available to all AdWords accounts. You can access this data by adding a segment when pulling down a keyword performance report. Keep an eye on these swings over time and their impact to your performance.

This is just one more way that looking at data beyond just the surface layer. It can provide you insights that help drive your optimizations to create more impactful campaigns.

Mastering Mobile…or Not?

Nearly half (47%) of major brands are dissatisfied with the progress of their mobile marketing efforts because of a lack of resources and talent to develop and execute mobile engagements, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

The nonprofit organization’s survey of 250 global marketers released today found that another 37% are still evaluating the effectiveness of their mobile programs, and just 14% are happy with the results of their mobile marketing activities.

The finding jibes with a separate Forrester study last week that suggested mobile initiatives at a majority of companies in the U.S. are starved for funding. The CMO Council study, fielded with the Mobile Marketing Association and sponsored by Pandora and FUN Mobility, pointed to a lack of strategy as well as resources.

Only 16% of companies have a formal strategy for using mobile as a significant channel of customer engagement, 46% are reviewing the role of mobile, and 32% are allocating more budget to app development and other mobile projects. Another 40% are making sure desktop sites and content are mobile-optimized.

While interest is high, skepticism remains as many marketers perceive mobile falls short because of inflated claims, unmet expectations, and a lack of best practices.

The report, titled “Engage at Every Stage,” found that marketers are most interested in mobile as a marketing vehicle that is ubiquitous and always-on. The ability to target and create highly customized campaigns is seen as a key benefit. In addition to messaging, favored tactics in mobile include social media, service delivery, rich media, and search and location-based offerings.

“Given that marketers are looking to deepen relationships and improve service, it is surprising to see that mobile is not being widely activated as a service and support agent,” noted the study. Only 15% are using mobile to trigger consumption of a product or service, 18% are acquiring or reactivating customers, and 18% use mobile to enable transactions.

The companies surveyed also showed little confidence in mobile as a paid advertising medium. Only 29% are looking at mobile ad opportunities to reach customers through existing mobile content channels. That’s most likely because only 26% of marketers believe their current mobile investments have yielded inconsistent results.

Despite the skepticism and challenges, more than half (53%) of companies have or are developing a dedicated team assigned to mobile programs, and 51% are looking for ways to further mobile marketing capabilities via internal training and development.

The CMO Council also highlighted several high-profile mobile marketing initiatives from participating brands:

*More than 60% of guests checking into the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts now do so using an iPad, compared to none three years ago.

*Caesars Entertainment Total Rewards program allows members to view all aspects of their loyalty program on-demand through a mobile app.

*Consumers are using a mobile app to locate the nearest Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machine, find out what flavors are being dispensed, and provide feedback on the personalized drink they are consuming.

Other companies contributing to the study included Anheuser-Busch InBev, Beam Global, Caesars Entertainment, Eastman Kodak, JP Morgan Chase, NASCAR, SEGA of America, Sony Entertainment Television, Unilever, Virgin America, and Wyndham Hotel Group. Some 42% of businesses surveyed had more than $1 billion in annual sales.


‘Top Heavy’ Google Algorithm Update

The head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts announced the update today on Twitter and called it “minor,” saying it noticeably affects 0.7 percent of English-language queries:

Minor weather report: Update of launching today. ~0.7% of English queries noticeably affected.

The link in Cutts’ tweet points to Google’s original post about the Page Layout algorithm from January, which explains the algo thusly:

We’ve heard complaints from users that if they click on a result and it’s difficult to find the actual content, they aren’t happy with the experience. Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change. If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.

Google has promised more alerts for webmasters about its algorithm changes, and that’s certainly playing out over these past two weeks.

50 Business Directories for Local Marketing

[custom_frame_left shadow=”on”][/custom_frame_left] As a local business, attracting new customers can be a major challenge. Quickly disappearing are the days when people would go to the YellowPages to find local businesses. Today people are turning to the internet as a way to find trusted business recommendations. One way local businesses can get found is through inclusion in online directories. Adding a listing to these online directories is easy, but if you only list in a few you’re really missing a huge opportunity to get found by online searchers.

1. Google
2. Bing
3. Yahoo!
4. Yelp
5. Merchant Circle
6. LinkedIn
9. Whitepages
10. Supermedia
11. Yellowbook
12. CitySearch
13. Mapquest
14. Biznik
16. Foursquare
17. ThinkLocal
18. CitySlick
19. USYellowPages
20. MyCity
22. Dex
24. TeleAtlas
25. Justclicklocal
26. Discover our Town
27. Metrobot
28. Best Deals on
29. twibs
30. LocalEze
31. Kudzu
32. CityVoter
33. Manta
34. Zipweb
35. MatchPoint
37. Local Site submit
38. InfoUSA
39. Axciom
40. Infignos
41. Yellowassistance
42. Myhuckleberry
43. Genieknows
44. MojoPages
45. Brownbook
46. Magic Yellow
47. CitySquares
48. TeleAtlas
49. Navteq GPS
50. Judysbook 

Mobile Advertising

The following infographic from 2011 data shows us that mobile internet use is…well, useful. If you’re not on the mobile bandwagon yet – contact us – we’ll get you set up and running in no time!

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