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My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

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# 1
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Our Adwords account reports an average position of 2 for one of our most important keywords (QS=7/10), yet whenever my boss performs a search on that keyword, our average position is 38 or so. He wants to know why. I've explained that search results are customized for each searcher (he is logged in to Google when searching) and about budget limitations but he is unconvinced those arguments. Am I missing something simple? Is there a better explanation than the one I gave him?

He is convinced that something has changed our Adwords accounts and demands that I fix it. I'm not sure where to start. I have duplicated his tests and, unfortunately, his results. It seems highly unlikely that we are actually showing up, on average, in the #2 slot based on our SER.

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Accepted by CassieH (Community Manager)
October 2015

Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi @Greg B

Show your boss this video, so he'll get  a better understanding of the Adwords' ad auction

Also -   remember that a statistical  average  could be misleading. What is the average of position 2 and position 7? 4.5 seems to be an average position  near the top right side of the page. Actually, one time the ad was shown  (almost) at the bottom of the page... Since Google does not report the "spread" of the results (aka standard deviation)  - this  could be a  misleading metric.

 

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

[ Edited ]
Rising Star
# 3
Rising Star

Well search result are not related to the searchers, infact these are related to the keywords that triggers your ads. Further these keywords depends on the location and number of competitors in that location.
For example in some part of US, a user searches for services related to your keyword and there are 50 competitors in that location(considering more local advertisers). At this instant your QS is 7 n bid is $2 then your ad will appear at position 5(assumption)


Now parameters are changed:
location is different part of US with only 6-7 competitors(considering less local advertisers). Still query is same/similar, QS is 7 and bid is $2. so at this instant your ad is appearing at position 2(assumption).
So now the average position is (5+2)/2= 3.5

 

And the same happens every time a user searches, and a particular keyword triggers your ad every time at different positions(due to competitions level). and hence you getting an average position of 2 because most of the time it is shown at top positions.

 

Hope this will help you.

 

 


Regards
Archit, AdWords Rising Star, Community Profile
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Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

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# 4
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I'd also get him to pay attention to CTR.

 

CTR for an ad in position 38 would be zero or near zero. CTR for an ad in position 2-3 is going to be 1%-3% or so, depending on keywords and ad quality. It's a good way to validate what the average is saying.

Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

@Jonathan E;

I think this was a typo and a meant 3.8

Honestly, I have never seen AdWords reporting position 38... Smiley Surprised

Moshe, AdWords Top Contributor , Twitter | Linkedin | Community Profile | Ad-Globe
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Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Rising Star
# 6
Rising Star
Hehe. Already got it, as this position is not available for adwords search ads.

Regards
Archit, AdWords Rising Star, Community Profile
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Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

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# 7
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Sorry, Adwords did not, of course, report a position 38. My boss used that term so lets not get hung up on it. He knows the difference between ads and organic results so, I think he means our ad just did not show up on pages 1 and 2, but showed up only on page 3 of the SER. Aren't ad placements calculated on a per page basis rather than spread over multiple pages like organic SER?

Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
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Jonathan,

That is a very good point. Our CTRs for the two exact match keywords are 6.15% and 1.83% so, not too bad, overall.

Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

Hi @Greg B the way Ads are shown over multiple pages isn't as simple as an ordered list.  Simply put, Ads that are eligible for "Top" positions can show in these positions over multiple pages (so they may show in the top slots on Page 2, 3, etc.).  Ads that show in "other" positions will usually be shown on later pages if they haven't already been shown.    This process is described in the lower part of this page:

 

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722122

 

(it's a pity, there used to be a much better visual explanation of this, but it's gone).  So yes, they are calculated on a page by page basis, but I can't think of a single reason why any advertiser would be happy being consistently on page 2 or beyond.

 

To be honest, I'm not sure I'd consider even 6% to be "not too bad" for an exact match Keyword, and less than 2% certainly isn't.  For exact matches I'd expect CTRs well into the double figures, but of course it does depend on the "precision" of the exact match; [blue ballet shoes] should get you a better CTR than [ballet shoes] and so on.

 

How much granularity do you have in your settings for your Campaign?  In almost all cases, "oddities" of Keyword stats can be explained by variations in region, time, device and in the case of the GDN, demographics, etc.

 

What region(s) are you targeting?  What are your Ad schedules?

 

Jon

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Re: My boss does not believe adwords report on average position

Badged Google Partner
# 10
Badged Google Partner
Beyond all the great advice already given, it doesn't appear that anyone mentioned that fact of:

Searching for your own ad on Google

If you repeatedly search for your own ad on Google Search but never click on it, you may stop seeing it. That's because Google's system recognizes your computer and stops showing you ads that it thinks you aren't interested in. Remember to use the Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool to view your ad as it appears in Google search results instead of performing a regular search. It prevents you from racking up impressions while you try to locate your ad.

This has been the case with many clients that constantly search for their own ad to see where it shows up.

The solution, Clear cookies and cache, or get them to login and use the Ad Preview Tool.