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Posted on May 28, 2008

Targeting Ad Positions

Targeting Ad Positions
Posted on May 28, 2008

No Accidental Positioning, Please!

Denver PPC Management likes to classify position targets (whether they are used as guidelines or in connection with Adwords’ Position Targeting feature) as follows:

  • Ad Position One Point Oh! (loosely = ad position 1 or 2)
  • Above the Fold (ad position 3 to 5)
  • At the fold (ad position 4 to 7)
  • Below the fold (ad position 5 to 9)
  • Lost in space (ad position 10+)

Why Ad Positions Matter

Ad positions are important, because within our framework of maintaining accounts in compliance with bid limits, the positions represent our mechanism for skewing spending towards those elements of the account which have the highest Return on Ad Spending.

“The fold” refers to the hypothetical bottom most place on your screen you can view when you arrive at a webpage without scrolling. It’s hypothetical because it differs according to your browser, computer, and toolbar settings.

Ad position may also depend on the competitiveness of an ad space.

Ad Position One Point Oh!

We never bid for position one or two, unless the client begs us to do so. The Advertisers vying for these positions are deteriorating the ad space for everyone. If we can convince the primary competitors within an ad space of the potential value of cooperating, then we can begin to claw back some of the advertising inflation which has occurred in many ad spaces throughout the past few years.

Sound optimistic? Sure, but the point is, why would we wish to be one of the idiots contributing to the deterioration of returns for PPC ad spending?

Above the Fold

This is a dominant position warranted for those aspects of your account which are best performing, as measured by Return on Ad Spending. If you’re starved for traffic, then you can get more clicks above the fold than at lower positions. To deserve positions above the fold, your website should be among the best of those in your ad space. Also, Above the Fold positions are more likely associated with premium price / quality web offers.

At the Fold

This is a middle of the road position range which works well for an Advertiser holding his own in an ad space. If you meet the qualifications for Above the Fold Advertisers, but your ad budget is constrained, or your price / quality is more middle of the road than Premium, then you might get the most bang for your PPC advertising buck and still attract sufficient traffic by positioning your ads at the fold.

Below the Fold

We purposefully position ads below the fold for those elements of an account which aren’t performing well. This position also works best for an Advertiser with bargain priced web offers, a relatively low ad budget (low impression share), and a not-quite-nice website. For such an advertiser, we can wring the most out of their ad dollars by trickling traffic at the cheapest possible CPC to long-tail keywords. This position is also used as a last resort for Advertisers hanging onto the bottom rung in their ad space. (Economic Condition is borderline “Unable to Compete in Ad Space”)

Lost in Space

Generally, we refer to any position worse than first page, as Lost in Space. Increasingly so, there are advocates of second and third page positions for hyper-competitive ad spaces. So, we are not dismissing the notion of purposefully positioning ads on the second and third page.

However, more typically, Lost in Space ad positions result accidentally, under conditions of historical increases in competition coupled with poor maintenance. In fact, we’ve taken over accounts where average positions for some keywords has been measured in triple digits. Who hits next 11x to find an ad? I’m not sure we need that visitor, whoever he is.

We don’t normally target Lost in Space ad positions, and we don’t tolerate accidental ad positions.

Documenting & Approving Targeted Ranges

For each client, the targeted ad positions are documented in the Road Map. Revising the targeted ad positions requires approval via a Recommendation in Client Reports. Maintaining ad positions in compliance with targeted ad positions and bid limits is part of daily maintenance. [Hint: use the desktop editor to identify positions outside your targeted ranges.]

For more information about targeting ad positions, contact us today.