Are those successes with formerly "Inactive" keywords though? I hadn't thought of using Position Preference until you mentioned it so I did a test on a small campaign which wasn't doing well anyway.
Google wanted 20 cents for the keyword. When I did raise it to 20 cents earlier, it was always getting charged the full 20 cents and was in the #1-2 position. I didn't want that, too many curiousity seekers on that first ad.
Now the keyword had been around for 2 years, accumulated 17000 impressions with an all-time CTR of 4.59 and an average cost of 14 cents in the 4th position overall before it was suddenly "Inactive". Not shabby performance, IMHO.
When I enabled Position Preference, I went as far as to raise the bid to 19 cents (a penny shy of what was requested). I said I'd settle for positions 9 - 10+.
Still wouldn't show, still wouldn't go active. Even though currently there are only 2 ads showing for the keyword, one for an auction house that couldn't possibly provide the service. The other ad, I have no clue why it's showing. That ad is a textbook case of being irrelevant for a keyword!
Does my strategy appear sound? BTW, I also tried higher positions since there were only 2 ads anyway. A penny below the requested bid and asking for dead last I would think was enough for the darn word to qualify.
Even assuming one says they'll settle for 9+, if there were only 2 ads showing, one would think they'd place me third. Or would I have to wait for more advertisers to arrive to guarantee at least 9 ads showing? Keep in mind that I had already tested higher positions with no success too.
I'm glad it's working out for you of course. However, that was enough to discourage me from wasting more time on Position Preference.
I'm generally wary of new Google enhancements unless I hear tons of rave reviews first.
In fact, I think it was unwise of Google to roll out major interface revisions (and who knows what else behind the scenes) on the cusp of a major holiday in the US, when they're no doubt understaffed. No shop I ever worked in would dream of unleashing potential disaster by taking risks like that!
Thanks for the idea though!