Layers of Digital Advertising

Ad Position 

Speaking with a client recently, I heard him think aloud how his ad spend relates to his average ad position. Comparing two campaigns, he noted that although he was spending more on one campaign, he was getting a better average position on the other. “I’m getting a lot more for my money over here,” he offered. Of course, all else equal, more money will afford you a better position. However, nothing about search engine marketing operates in a vacuum.

In most explanations of metrics, you’ll hear me start with two reminders.

  1. When you pay per click, there aren’t many ways to get more for your money changing what happened before the click. Look at which clicks are producing more afterward.
  2. If the goal is sales, any metric is only as important as its relationship to sales.

So we’re talking about Ad Position. If you’ve bid $4 to show in the number 2 position, but you could have bid $2 to show in the number 3 position, where did you really get more for your money.

We don’t have enough information to say.

Did both of those impressions result in clicks? If the goal was a sale, did both clicks result in sales? If both did, what was the value of each sale? Is there a higher lifetime value of one or the other customer?

Whoa! We were just talking about getting better position. In the example above, our client could have been comparing non-geographic, low intent terms in a campaign targeted 30 miles away to a geo-specific, high intent campaign targeted in his backyard. Which click is more likely to end up buying a vehicle? On this very basic information, we would guess the latter.

In that latter instance, we would probably be interested in paying more per click, attempting to show in better position where click-through rate is higher. We don’t want to miss an impression to that shopper. In essence I’m saying, we want that impression and we want to give ourselves the best chance to get that click.

In the former case, the remote shopper who appears to be in more of a research stage, we may like to show her an ad. However she may be several clicks, sessions, comparisons and videos away from visiting the dealership. I might argue we shouldn’t empty our wallets on these clicks until we’ve maximized our budget on other clicks more like the high-intent example above.

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