I'm amazed of how poor my results with adwords are resulting. I'm old advertiser, had adwords campaings since I remember, however this season I don't have a single conversion, I don't even get emails (and I used to) using and refining a very well targeted campaign.
I noticed 3 major players on top 3 spots - very well known companies with a lot of money to spend that I don't have - , they all have extensions. Since I'm not reaching the top 3, even when I've set up extensions they don't show (is that correct isn't it, you have to get top 3 spot to show them up?)
1) What factors are counting to get top 3 nowadays?
One interesting is that they surely are "verified" and I don't apply for "verification" since you need at least 1000 google+ votes. I realized today
2) How do I get 1000 google plus votes? (it's insane)
The problem I'm facing also is that my ads are showing sometimes barely up my organic result or even down. They are not converting and this far, my budget is being spent without return.
2. Obviously, ad ranking (QS times bid) which would place you there. But even if you bid high enough, if your QS is not 7 or more, you'll never get there.
I have no idea what you are talking about 1000 google+ votes. Maybe you are talking about the +1 button which has no impact.
Correct about the ad extensions showing only for the top 3 spots.
Relatively speaking, clicks from the top spot convert at a better rate. This means, given the same landing page, your rate will be higher in the top spots. The rate will be lower if you change to a poorer converting page. Have you changed it?