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Can a higher keyword bid lead my ads to a lower position?

Can a higher keyword bid lead my ads to a lower position?

The answer is yes.

Raising your keyword bid does not automatically lead your ads to a higher or lower position.

Your ad rank is influenced by your CPC (Cost per click) bid, your Quality Score and other factors. However, you should not only bid for positioning.

When you raise your keyword bid, your competitors may also raise their bids.

As a result, your bid may lower your position instead of raising it, and the lower position could potentially decrease your CTR (Click through rate).

Impressions averages
When you increase your bid, your ad receives more impressions.

Your average positions may increase, decrease or even stay put as a result of the average position of the new impressions.

For example, your current keyword bid receives 2,000 impressions a day in position #3 on the search results page.

A new bid receives 4,000 impressions a day in position #2, and 8,000 impressions a day in position #6.

If there were an equal number of impressions at positions #2 and #6, the bid would have an average position of #4. However, there were twice as many impressions at position #2, and four times more impressions at position #6, and therefore the bid average position is #4.7.

This new position #4.7 is lower than your original position #3, although you’ve raised your bid, and the higher bid raised your position from #3 to #2.

Different Factors

The average position is also affected by different factors, for example, Networks (Search partners and Display Network), Devices, Top vs Other, etc.

Network Segmentation
Keywords > SEGMENT > Network (with Search partners).

This is an example of a keyword Avg. pos. 1.8.

However, Network segmentation shows an Avg. pos. on Google Search 2.1, and 1.8 on Search partners.

Top vs Other segmentation
Tops vs Other compares how your ads perform when shown in the top positions versus other placements.

Keywords > SEGMENT > Top vs Other.

In this example, Top vs Other segmentation shows an Avg. pos. 1.8, but a lower Avg. pos. 2.2, on Google search, when the keyword was shown on Top, and same lower position on Search partners, 2.2, when the keyword was shown on Top.

Update
In September 2019, Google is sunsetting Average position.

Best practices
Bidding Strategy

– Your ad rank is influenced by your CPC (Cost per click) bid, your Quality Score and other factors.

However, you should not only bid for positioning.

Your bidding strategy should be based on your goals, such as conversions, conversation rate, profit, ROI, ROAS, etc., and these should determine your best position.

Ultimately, bid for the position that converts the most.


Extract from my Book ‘Making Google Ads Work’.

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