About ad position and Ad Rank
Ad position is the order in which your ad shows up on a page. For example, an ad position of "1" means that your ad has the highest position on the page relative to the other ads of the same type. It doesn't necessarily mean that your ad is above the search results. If there are no ads above the search results, then it means that your ad is the first ad shown beneath search results. In general, it's good to have your ad appear higher on a page because it's likely that more customers will see your ad.
Ads can appear on the top or bottom of a search results page. You can learn about how your ads are stacking up by checking your average position.
Before you begin
Keep in mind that “average position” is a metric best suited for checking your progress on the Search Network. Because of the diversity of websites on the Display Network, average position may be less useful for optimizing for display performance.
How ad position is determined
The ad auction is how Google decides which ads to show and how they're positioned.
AdWords calculates Ad Rank for every ad in the auction. Ad Rank determines your ad position and whether your ads are eligible to show at all. Generally speaking, the ad with the highest Ad Rank gets to show in the top position and the ad with the second-highest Ad Rank gets to show in the second position (assuming the ads clear the relevant thresholds), and so on. At a high level, think of Ad Rank as having five factors:
- Your bid - When you set your bid, you're telling AdWords the maximum amount you're willing to pay for a click on your ad. How much you actually end up paying is often less, and you can change your bid at any time.
- The quality of your ads and landing page - AdWords also looks at how relevant and useful your ad and the website it links to are to the person who'll see it. Our assessment of the quality of your ad is summarized in your Quality Score, which you can monitor—and work to improve—in your AdWords account.
- The Ad Rank thresholds - To help ensure high quality ads, we set minimum thresholds that an ad must achieve to show in a particular ad position.
- The context of the person’s search - With the ad auction, context matters. When calculating Ad Rank, we look at the search terms the person has entered, the person’s location at the time of the search, the type of device they’re using (e.g., mobile or desktop), the time of the search, the nature of the search terms, other ads and search results that show on the page, and other user signals and attributes.
- The expected impact from your ad extensions and other ad formats - When you create your ad, you have the option to add additional information to your ad, such as a phone number, or more links to specific pages on your site. These are called ad extensions. AdWords estimates how extensions and other ad formats you use will impact your ad's performance.
Assume five advertisers are competing for a maximum of four ad positions above search results on the Google search results page. The respective Ad Rank of each of the advertisers is, say, 80, 50, 30, 10, and 5.
If the minimum Ad Rank necessary to show above the search results is, say, 40, only the first two advertisers (with Ad Ranks of 80 and 50) exceed the minimum and show above the search results.
If the minimum Ad Rank necessary to show below the search results is 8, then two of the three remaining advertisers (with Ad Ranks of 30 and 10) will show beneath the search results. The advertiser with an Ad Rank of 5 didn’t meet the minimum Ad Rank and so won’t show at all.
For the purposes of the Average Position metric, the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 80 (in the first position above search results) will get position 1, the advertiser with Ad Rank of 50 (in the second position above search results) will get position 2, the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 30 (in the first position below search results) will get position 3, and the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 10 (in the second position below search results) will get position 4. “Position” therefore refers to an advertiser’s order in the auction, not a specific location on the search results page. So even though two of the four available ad positions above search results (the positions immediately below the advertisers with Ad Ranks of 80 and 50) were left empty, the next two advertisers in the ranking (the advertisers with Ad Ranks of 30 and 10) receive positions 3 and 4 for purposes of Average Position.
To improve your ad position, you can:
- Increase your bid
- Improve the quality of your ads and landing page experience
Better ads mean better Ad Rank
- Your ad's expected clickthrough rate: This is based in part on your ad's historical clicks and impressions (adjusting for factors such as ad position, extensions, and other formats that may have affected the visibility of an ad that someone previously clicked)
- Your ad’s relevance to the search: How relevant your ad is to what a person searches for
- The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent, and easy-to-navigate your page is
Why ad quality matters
- Ad auction eligibility: Our measures of ad quality help determine the Ad Rank thresholds for your ad, and therefore whether your ad is qualified to appear at all.
- Your actual cost-per-click (CPC): Higher quality ads can often lead to lower CPCs. That means you pay less per click when your ads are higher quality.
- Ad position: Higher quality ads often lead to higher ad positions, meaning they can show up higher on the page.
- Eligibility for ad extensions and other ad formats: Ad Rank determines whether or not your ad is eligible to be displayed with ad extensions and other ad formats, such as sitelinks.