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Stuck at Low Average Position

Basic question on how to move up in the ranks

     
2:08 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think this will be an easy one for you pros...

I am trying to move to an average position 2-3 for one of my keywords, but increasing my max. CPC isn't doing the trick. My average CPC and average position (~5) seem to be staying the same even as I increase my max. CPC.

Can you tell me the possibilities for what might be holding me back?
> Could Google be repressing my position because of a low max. daily expense?
> Could a few competitors simply have the top spots locked-up with huge bids?
> Any other ideas?

2:12 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Have you tried running several ads to see which gets the highest CTR? Then taking the best CTR adcopy, and creating new ads off of the successful ad?

If you keep repeating the process, you'll find that certain ads work better than others (in terms of both CTR & conversion - and often the same ad isn't tops for both).

2:43 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the tip, eWhisper. I did an initial test between a few different ads when I first launched the campaign, but once I found the winner, I didn't continue to optimize. I need to rekindle the effort.

Are you also saying that Google might be holding back my placement because of relatively low CTR?

2:53 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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While I'm not sure of the exact formula, I think it's fair to say that CTR is as important as max CPC for determining adwords ranking.

One other thing to check is when you increased your max CPC did your actual average CPC change? It could be that the people above you in the rankings are bidding much more than you, and your increase wasn't enough to make any actual difference.

However, it is most likely that eWhisper is right and you should focus on CTR.

3:12 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Post 11 in this thread: [webmasterworld.com...] has info about how Google ranks your ads.

There are a couple general (when you start playing with formulas this will look VERY general) things to look at when increasing CPC & CTR. Remember, average position is keyword based - not ad based.

If your CTR made a significent increase, and your CPC was dropping BEFORE you jumped positions upwards, then there is a little room between some of the bidders. This means that you might be able to raise your CPC just a little, write better ad copy, and contine to climb a little bit (depending on how much you want to climb, obviousally means you might have to increase the max CPC even more).

If your CTR made a significent increase, and your CPC didn't change much before and after your position change, then there is probably a lot of competition, often searches for similiar keywords will result in several ads changing positions (i.e. no one has 'locked' the 3-7 positions) and it'll probably take both continued ad copy research for CTR and increasing the max bids to keep climbing.

If the keyword you are focusing on has a lot of comptition and no one has a premium position, then you have a whole different perspective. If you truly belive that your keyword is more targeted than the other ads (be realistic here), then you have a chance to hit the premium position by continuing the above efforts. (If it's a competitive keyword phrase, and no one can hit the premium position, it's usually because no one has managed to get a high enough CTR to be promoted to this position - if you are seeeing good ads that are relegated to the side, it could be your looking at a general keyword, and not a 'direct keyword').

If the keyword you are focusing on has a lot of competition and 2 premium bidders, then you have some work todo. First off, you know it's possible to hit the premium position because someone has already done it. It's a matter of bidding and writing great ad copy to displace that advertiser with your own ad.

The best advice is: test, test, test. If you want the top positions, don't be satisfied with a 'good' ad, keep testing even these.

5:20 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As the above posts suggested, you should work on several the ad-copies to select the best ad-copy so that you can improve on your CTR. If you double your keyword's CTR, your ad might jump to the next position without increasing your max. CPC or your cost might cut 50%. However, I just want to address your questions and give some advices.

Can you tell me the possibilities for what might be holding me back?

low CTR
low max CPC
These two factors control your ad position.

Could Google be repressing my position because of a low max. daily expense?

No. As long as your daily budget is higher than your Max. CPC, your ad will be shown and ad position will be granted. However, your daily budget will control the number of time your ad being shown.

Could a few competitors simply have the top spots locked-up with huge bids?

Google claims no one can locked-up the position. However, some positions especially the top position can be locked-up provided that their CTR and Max. CPC are high.

Any other ideas?

To jump to the next position, your CTRxMax.CPC should be higher than the next position's "CTRxMax. CPC". Two things you should increase are CTR or/and Max CPC.

To decide which way you want to do, you should do some homework first.

1. Go to your ad-group
2. Hit "Edit keyword"
3. Increase max. CPC of the keyword or phrase, which you want to jump the ad position.
4. Hit "Estimate Traffic" bottom and observe the changes on ad position and average CPC.
6. Do not hit "Save Change"
7. Repeat step 2 to 4 until you achieve the ad position you desire.
8. If this average CPC for the new position is acceptable base on your ROI, go for it and then work on ad-copy.
9. If not, work on your ad-copy and then try it once your CTR has been improved and new CPC is acceptable.

8:33 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have a question. At one time, I thought that Google only looked at each individual term's performance but then I was told by AdWord's support that the performance of the overall AdGroup was taken into consideration and could impact the cost and positioning of the individual terms. Because of what I was told on the phone, I went back and deleted or moved high impression / low or zero click through terms out of the AdGroups that were doing "okay" but could do better. My overall CTR's improved and my costs went down which seemed to agree with what I was told.

I took a few minutes to go over Google's support pages regarding how the discounter works and it's too vague. It still seems to refer to individual terms but it "could" be referring to entire adgroups. Advisor, do you know if the discounter is determined by individual term performance, AdGroup performance or even by an entire campaign's performance?

11:34 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have a question. At one time, I thought that Google only looked at each individual term's performance but then I was told by AdWord's support that the performance of the overall AdGroup was taken into consideration and could impact the cost and positioning of the individual terms.

Justshelley, I think you were either given the wrong information, or there was just a misunderstanding. After something like 5000 hour sitting in this chair working with AdWords, I am not aware of any direct connection between what you are referring to as the 'discounter' and the overall performance of Ad Groups and/or campaigns.

However, if you think about it in just right way, the overall CTR of an Ad Group is determined by the CTR of each of the keywords within it. And the overall CTR of a campaign is determined by the CTR of each of the Ad Groups within it. So, in a sense, there is an indirect connection - but not one that involves the discounter. I guess I would say that Ad Groups and Campaigns follow the performance of the individual keywords.

Because of what I was told on the phone, I went back and deleted or moved high impression / low or zero click through terms out of the AdGroups that were doing "okay" but could do better. My overall CTR's improved and my costs went down which seemed to agree with what I was told.

Well, the improvement makes total sense, but for a different reason. If you get rid of the not-so-good keywords, then you will be left with keywords that perform well. And taken together, this 'improved' performance will then be reflected in the Ad Groups, and in the Campaign. And costs could easily go down. But, again, it all starts with the keywords, and is not 'caused' directly by the overall performance of the Ad Groups or campaigns.

I took a few minutes to go over Google's support pages regarding how the discounter works and it's too vague. It still seems to refer to individual terms but it "could" be referring to entire adgroups. Advisor, do you know if the discounter is determined by individual term performance, AdGroup performance or even by an entire campaign's performance?

Everything I know says that it's the individual term performance.

AWA

2:21 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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First, thanks to those who took time to reply to my concern. You were all right of course -- the CTR on the keyword in question was low and holding back my ranking. The keyword is somewhat general, so CTR can only go so high, but I am testing some new copy and I already see a big lift in CTR.

Quick related question about comparing the CTR performance of one ad test against another... I am displaying ads both on the Search network and the Content network. Obviously, my CTR for the Content network is much lower than that of the Search network. Is there a way I can confirm that Google is running my tests in the same proportion on the two networks (to ensure I am doing an apples-to-apples comparison of test CTR results)?

2:31 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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AWA & justshelley,

There may be confusion about the word 'discounter'. Many also use the word 'discounter' to referrer to the content distribution 'smart pricing'.
[webmasterworld.com...]
[adwords.google.com...]

As AdSense works by all the keywords in the group, justshelly might be wondering how the 'smart pricing' is affected by the groups preformance.

Not sure if this is what's going on in this thread, but would make more sense to my way of thinking.