Discovering the best ad position for your business boils down to pay per clicking smarter, not harder. When I was first introduced to pay per click marketing, I thought the best position for any ad to land was the top position, #1. Maybe this was an assumption I made based on growing up with organic search results. However, things are different in the pay per click world and here are some reasons the top ad position might not be the optimal position for your business.
Big businesses can outbid small businesses
If you are a small business trying to compete with the juggernauts in the industry, you are going to lose that bidding war guaranteed. It wouldn’t be profitable for you to compete for a position that is locked up by the likes of State Farm (43.7 Million Adspend Annually) or Best Buy (23.7 Million Adspend Annually).
People usually check out several options before deciding to go forward
Generally, someone who is searching for a product or service clicks on several options before moving forward with one. The number 1 ad position sees the highest CTR (click through rate) over the other positions, but positions 3-5 see a higher conversion rate. Why is this? Because people are more ready to buy once they have made their way to those ads. So, you might not see as many clicks but you will find more profitable clicks.
Competitive Industries get enough traffic to go around
What does it mean when an industry like Finance and Insurance spends 4 billion dollars on pay per click marketing a year? It means that the industry is extremely competitive, which results in higher bids for ad positions. It also means that there is significant traffic searching for those services. This means that even if your ad is showing up a little bit lower, you will still get plenty of clicks due to the sheer number of people looking for what you have.
If you can see the ad, it’s working
If someone searches for what you offer and sees your relevant ad, even if it isn’t at the tippy top, you have spread your brand. You have gained visibility. You have made it onto their radar.
So what is the best position?
I would say it depends on your campaign, business model, and goals. If you have a huge budget and can absorb some of the higher CPC (cost per click) in the top spot, go for it. A great majority of businesses will have to aim for a profitable position, which doesn’t necessarily mean the top spot. Likely you will need to tweak your bids to find that sweet spot where your campaign is reaching profitability. Make small adjustments in your campaign, test, and measure your results. Pay per click smarter, not harder.