New Google Top vs. Side Tool is a Game Changer

by Mohamed Osman on July 15, 2011

On Wednesday 13 July 2011 Google AdWords launched a new Reporting Tool called Top vs. Side.

Top position ads are displayed above the natural search results (top of your screen) and side position ads are displayed in a column at the right hand side of the search results page.

The new tool provides clear stats on how your ads perform in each of these locations.

The tool can be accessed at all account levels, Campaign, Ad groups, Ads or Keywords. Here’s how to access it.

  1. Click on the Segment button in the tool bar above your data.
  2. Select Top vs. Side form the drop down menu. See below.

New Google Top vs. Side Tool

Above, the results have been segmented top/side and the results are astonishing.

The ads on the side have a considerably lower CTR and conversion rate. With the recent introduction of extended headlines we wondered if these trends were influenced by the new ad format.

No change. Looking at historic data the performance trends are consistent.

So what does this mean for Advertisers?

Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian says on the Adwords blog ‘this distinction is important, since, on average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side’.

No change there then!

On a positive note the CPC’s are lower for the top positions.

The obvious tactic is to target the top positions aggressively:

  • Increased traffic for a lower CPC
  • Increased CTR – helps quality score
  • Increased conversion rate – more sales

Not quite that simple. From an advertiser’s perspective the targets haven’t changed. It may not be feasible to target the top positions for all terms.

There will be a spike in clicks when increasing positions. This could lead to meeting your daily budgets quicker. You’ll need to adjust and manage the daily budgets accordingly.

If you don’t have sufficient budget to support the increase in clicks implement day parting tactics so you target the top positions at the right times for your business.

Mohamed Osman

About Mohamed Osman

Mo has been with Make It Rain from the early days and has worked his magic across every client. Arsenal fanatic. Loves a good blazer. Probably holds the world record for most number of Adwords uploads in a week. It’s a sign of affection if he forgets your name.

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