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Preview Tool & Avg Position Errors

SCL
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# 1
SCL
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Hi,

 

There has been ongoing problems with the preview tool and avg position metrics within adwords accounts for quite a while now. Does anyone have any updates on the points below, or when they maybe fixed?

 

Preview Tool Broken – The adwords ''Preview Tool'' is replicating the same first page PPC advertisers on every page of the preview tool.

 

Avg. Position Metric Broken - The adwords Avg. Position Metric is always reporting click positions as being made on the first page of google results. Even if text ads are not on the first page of google results they are being attributed with first page positions.

 

Thanks

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Preview Tool & Avg Position Errors

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi SCL, I can't answer the first question as I'm not familiar with the issue and haven't seen it myself.  On the subject of Ad Position, can I ask some questions?

 

When you say "Even if text ads are not on the first page..." - how do you know they're not on the first page?  If you saw your own Ad on page 2, say, that doesn't mean that for other viewers it's not on page 1.  In fact, if you're in the habit of searching for your own Ads, it's quite likely Google will demote them for you and you alone, since you frequently search for terms triggering your Ads but never (hopefully) click them.  This is one reason why you should never search for your own Ads.

 

Bear in mind of course as well that this is an average position, not an absolute.  While for some Ads they may appear usually quite close to their average, for others it may be that they appear at quite disparate positions at different times over their display period.

 

Jon

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Preview Tool & Avg Position Errors

SCL
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# 3
SCL
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Hi Jon,

 

Both issues i have listed have been verified as being widespread by the tech team but have notified me they cannot find a fix/solution to the problems - Please note these have been present for 12 months plus.

 

Going back to my first point, not even the adwords customer service team can scroll through the different pages of the preview tool without seeing the same advertisers on each page. This issue can be seen either by being logged into your adwords account or just searching for the preview tool on google. - Pay close attention as you scroll through the preview tool pages to the PPC results (This test can be done for any keyword(s). The first page is just being replicated over and over again. Maybe you could email me what your seeing in the preview tool pages if i drop you an email via your website?

 

Secondly....with regards to the avg position metric being broken (yet again the tech team have confirmed they know about this issue but cannot find a fix/solution to the issue). I kept noticing that my avg position metrics were reporting my ads positions were always between 4-11 even though i was nowhere near the first page results (due to being in a competative market) so as an experiment i reduced my max cpc and performed a search for my keyword (gaining 1 impression only) My text ad was positioned on page 4 of googles search results but when the data filtered through to my adwords account the avg position metric displayed a position of 6.

 

There must be a connection between the two issues above, the preview tool is only displaying the first page results over and over again (Avg. Positions between 1-8) and the adwords interface avg. position metric is only ever reporting clicks as being in positions 1-8.

 

If you look at googles own guidelines you will see these issues are not natural;

 

''An average position of 1-8 is generally on the first page of search results, 9-16 is generally on the second page, and so on''

 

Thanks

Re: Preview Tool & Avg Position Errors

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Hi SCL, I am seeing what you're saying on the Preview Tool, and I'm afraid I really can't help.  If you've already had contact with Google and they've said they acknowledge the issue, then there's really nothing more we can do here.

 

On the average position issue I'm not as clear.  Unfortunately I have no way to verify what you're saying since I have no managed accounts with Ads not displaying high on the 1st page (this isn't a boast, simply a reason why I can't test the problem).  I will admit I'm still unclear on a couple of points from your description:  Firstly you haven't replied to my question about how you know your Ads aren't being shown on the first page.  The only reliable source of data for this metric are the Adwords statistics.  Neither the (admittedly rather odd) Preview Tool nor direct "real" searching can give you accurate information about how your Ad is displayed to other people in your catchment area/target.  

 

Again, as I said in my last post, when you search for your own Ads you don't see the same thing that other people see.  You may see your Ad on page 4 but it is quite possible that is only because you have searched for it before or because of other factors affecting your search only.  Ad position is affected by all manner of variables, hence why we always say that searching for your own Ads is highly unreliable and not recommended.

 

If you're looking at a detail of your clicks then bear in mind that the position shown for clicks is not your average position.  Your average includes all the impressions of your Ads.  It is well established that clicks are more frequent with higher positions so it makes logical sense that the average position for clicks will be higher than the overall average position for an Ad.

 

You are saying two different things in your message:  "my avg position metrics were reporting my ads positions were always between 4-11" and "the adwords interface avg. position metric is only ever reporting clicks as being in positions 1-8".  Two quite different stats.

 

As far as the two things being connected, I think this is highly unlikely.  The Average Position metric is based upon real data from your campaign(s).  The Preview Tool is, at best, an approximation of what might be seen by a user, it cannot be a fair representation of how your Ads are shown since it cannot be "all things to all men".

 

If you can explain how you know your Ads aren't being shown on page 1, not ever, for anybody, anywhere, at any time, then perhaps we can dig some more.

 

Jon

 

AdWords Top Contributor Google+ Profile | Partner Profile | AdWords Audits

Re: Preview Tool & Avg Position Errors

SCL
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# 5
SCL
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Hi Jon,

 

Thank you for your reply, and thank you for now acknowledging the Adwords Preview Tool is broken for all adwords users who arent on the first page of search results.

 

With regards to the Avg. Positioning Metric facility being broken anyone can test this theory as i have described before. For my test i knew i wasnt on the first page of search results as the 1 impression i accumilated was admittedly my own search.

 

As you correctly said ''If you search for your own Ads you don't see the same thing that other people see'' But even saying this my adwords avg. position metric should not have calculated/reported an avg. position of 6 when in fact it should have been between aprox: 32 - 43 (page 4 of google search results)

 

Please note Jon that i have also tested this theory with new keywords in my account with no past data and asking someone else on a seperate computer and location to perform the keyword search. Again to only gain 1 impression.

 

As you have rightly said in your last post ''Your average position includes all the impressions of your Ads'' - that is why you can only test the avg. position metric is broken by accumilating 1 impression to see what avg. position your adwords account is reporting back to you. You will see or anyone who cares to test this theory will see that no matter what page your advert is showing you will always be given an avg. position of between 1-8.

 

If the adwords system isnt calculating your avg. position correctly for 1 impression it certainly isnt calculating your correct positioning for all impressions. - Google can hide behind saying your ads rotate position everytime a search is performed so avg. position is calculated as an average. But if there has been only 1 impression made it cannot miscalculate your ad position.

 

So if you are a new advertiser to google adwords or are targeting new keyword(s) which havent accumilated enough data to make you eligable for the first page of results, as it stands the preview tool is useless, and your avg. position metric is reporting back false positions.

 

As with the preview tool issue, the google tech team have confirmed that they are aware of the avg. position metric being broken across adwords but cannot find a fix/solution to the problem - this has been present in all adwords accounts now for over 12 months!!

 

How on earth can the tech team not find a fix/solution to these issues after 12 months+ (they designed the adwords system) and why are they refusing to put the issues on the ''adwords known issues'' page. Im quite sure if the adwords ''add funds to account'' facility was broken this would be fixed within 24hrs

 

Strangely enough after speaking to adwords customer services (numerous times) they always advise me that due to the current problems if i would like to see my adverts positioning at present i will have to increase my max cpc to get to the first page.

 

So in summary any adwords facility to view your ads positioning is broken (unless you are on the first page of results), the tech team (who designed the adwords system) conveniently cannot fix these problems (12 months +), and are refusing to put them on the adwords known issues page!

 

Clever ploy by google adwords to push up advertiser spend to reach the holy grail of the 1st page?

 

Thanks