If I show up #1, but want to show up #3 and pay less, what is the best strategy these days? If I drop my bids, which seems like the logical idea, I do drop in position but Google also shows my ad less. Personally I think this is stupid, but is there a workaround? Realistically spots 1 and 3 should receive the same amount of impressions and a lower bid shouldn't affect my quality score so I should receive the same amount of impressions.
Be careful with position preference, it can dramatically reduce the overall impressions of your campaigns. If you choose a certain position and AdWords decides you don't qualify for the target position in an auction it can just not bother to show your ad at all.
Taken from the link provided by RhinoFish
Finally, let us note that setting a position preference can sharply reduce the number of impressions and clicks you receive for that keyword. Targeting just one or two positions means your ad will not show at times when it otherwise might have. We encourage you to choose as broad a range of positions as you are comfortable with.
Yeah I know not to rely on that feature. Was hoping someone else would have another option? It's more than frustrating. If I drop my bid I should not have lower quality and should therefore just be lowered in my positioning, not be punished with less impressions.
when you set position pref above your usual position, this is when your imps get axed. you specifically asked above going in the other direction. there can still be issues (like your competitors trying the same thing), but the imp drought problem is when pipe dreamers paying (bid x qs) for position 4 set their prefs for position 1-2 and only a very few of their words were ever there to begin with... and it stops raining.