The only exceptions will be Shopping ads, which will show either above or to the right of search results. This shrinks the total number of text ads that can appear on a results page from as many as eleven to a maximum of seven.
While this is a significant change for Google, understanding what it means for you is crucial.
Here are some tips and tools to help you make sense of your activity:
1.Top vs Other Reports
In your AdWords account, you can segment your campaigns, ad groups or keywords by top vs other. The Top vs. Other report is found in the “Segment” dropdown (shown below).
This shows your performance at either the Top positions (historically positions 1-3) or Other positions. You may see that most of your clicks and/or conversions were already coming from the top ad positions historically. After looking across hundreds of our own accounts, we noticed that on average about 84% of clicks, 88% of spend, and 88% of online conversions were already stemming from ads in top positions. Side and bottom ads accounted for less than 16% of total click volume, and less than 12% of spend.
2. How To View Top Ad Data in Google Analytics
In Google Analytics, you can utilize the secondary dimensions of Ad Slot and Ad Slot Position to view your reporting through the lens of ad position. Understanding performance in the context of positioning can help you understand where certain activity has historically come from, the Top or Right Hand Side (RHS) slots.
3. Which Queries Are Driving Your Leads?
The foundation of your paid search activity is in your search queries. High CTRs, low CPCs, and high positioning might look good but if they represent irrelevant queries, the metrics are meaningless. Take advantage of the Search Query reports in AdWords as well as the Matched Search Query dimension in Google analytics reporting to understand the quality of the searches that are generating your activity.
You can create a quick custom report that will help in understanding ad position and Top vs. Other placement in the context of search query quality or you can add this to your own Google Analytics account by clicking here (https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=8X9c6G8BQw2y32CS-YeTwg)
Using this report, you can understand what queries have led to online goal completions in the past, as well as how position may have impacted that activity.
Expanding your PPC program based on targeted, relevant search queries is a big opportunity in the context of the changing ad layout. Mine your queries for search trends and patterns, and build those into the program as their own keywords if they are in line with your goals. For specific searches, your detailed ads will stand out to users even if they are not in the #1 ad position.
Some aspects of the update might be a net benefit for AdWords advertisers: Having a 4th ad will allow for more available impressions in the highly visible top of page location. Further, ads in the four top spots will have the opportunity to show more ad extensions. Ads displayed on the side were unable to show sitelink, rating and callout extensions.
Ultimately, it’s important to investigate your data to understand where your activity has historically come from. It’s too soon to tell the exact impacts of Google’s update, however getting familiar with your performance data is a key place to start in understanding what to expect.