Google Ad Position and Ad Rank Tutorial to Increase ROI

By May 23, 2014April 25th, 2017Google Adwords

Learn the Basics of How to Use Google Ad Position and Google Ad Rank to Increase ROI

Google Ad Rank and Ad PositionThroughout the course of the life of an online retailer, many terms, acronyms, and phrases are thrown about. It’s virtually impossible to really know what each one means, which is why retailers choose to focus on those that seem to be most relevant to their success.

Of all the many coined terms Google and other search engines have manufactured over the last few years, two terms stick out as not only constant characters in your overall marketing strategy, but also as misunderstood. Google Ad Position and Google Ad Rank are phrases you’ll constantly hear, and will often use, but do you really know the differences between them? Knowing the specifics of each one can help you make the most of your strategies and enjoy the biggest return on investment.

We’re here to help.

Ad Position

Google Ad Position is, in short, the order in which your ad appears on a page, in relation to other ads. If, for example, your ad position is a “1,” well then, your ad will appear first on the page. It’s important to note that ads can appear in several areas of a search page (top, side, bottom), and studies show that the higher positioning your ad has, the more likely it’ll be seen by users.

Your goal is to make your ads have a high position value, so that they trump other ads, regardless of where they are placed on a page. How can you do that? Enter Ad Rank.

Ad Rank

Your ad position is based on your ad rank. Google Ad Rank is a formula that’s calculated by multiplying your keywords Quality Score and keywords Max CPC (for the visually affluent, it’s Ad Rank = Quality Score x Max CPC).

The ad with the highest Ad Rank score will show up in the first eligible position on a results page. This ranking calculation will happen every time your ad is eligible to appear on a page.

How to Determine Your Average Ad Position

It helps if you can determine your average ad position (average, since ad position is constantly being recalculated), so that you know how your strategies are working. To find your average ad position, first sign into your Adwords account, at

Then, click on the Campaigns tab at the top of the screen. Next, search for the Avg. Pos. column in the stats table. It’s possible that this column is hidden by default. If that’s the case, you can easily add this column by clicking the Columns button in the toolbar above the stats table.

Getting to Know Your Ad Cycle

It also helps to understand how your ads cycle through search results pages. Ads cycle through these pages based on their Ad Rank. The highest Ad Rank ad will appear in the first eligible spot. The second highest Ad Rank ad will fall beneath that one, and so on and so forth. But what happens when an end user browses to a second search page? How is your ad positioning affected?

Top placement – Up to three ads can appear in the top positions of each search. Any and all high-ranking ads are eligible to show up in this spot, regardless of the page, so long as they exceed a certain Quality Score and CPC (cost per click) bid threshold.

Side/Bottom placement – These placements are considered as “other” in your AdWords stats. These areas can show up to eight ads. For the most part, ads that haven’t previously appeared in one of these “other” positions are eligible to appear in subsequent pages. If, however, your ad appeared on the side of Page 1, it will likely not appear on the side of Page 2, 3, or any other page.

You may notice one of your ads appear on the top spot of one page, but on the side or bottom of another page. That’s because of the constant recalculations of Quality Score and thresholds. It is a safe bet, however, that once your ad appears in the “other” spots, it won’t appear there again in subsequent pages.

With Data Comes Great Responsibility

The purpose of this information is to provide online retailers with as much data as possible, in order to help you reshape and modify your marketing strategies. The more data you have at your fingertips, the more power and control you have over your destiny. Of course, the more data at your disposal, the more confusing and overwhelming things can get. OperationROI can help. As Google gurus, we’ve made it our mission to help clients maximize their marketing strategies and get the most bang for their buck. Call us at 1-888-277-5429 or fill out our contact form to learn how we can help you make the most of your Ad Rank and Position.

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