About Ad Rank

Ad Rank is a value that's used to determine where ads are shown on a page relative to other ads, and whether your ads will show at all. Your Ad Rank is recalculated each time your ad is eligible to appear. It competes in an auction, which could result in it changing each time depending on your competition, the context of the person's search, and your ad quality at that moment. You can monitor where your ads are showing on the search results page by checking your top and absolute top metrics.

Tip

On the Search Network, if you want to understand the location of your ads on the search engine result pages (SERPs), you can use the top and absolute top impression rate metrics “Impr. (Abs.Top) %” and “Impr. (Top) %." If you want to bid on page location, you can use the top and absolute top impression share metrics “Search abs. top IS” and “Search top IS”. To do this, you can use the Target Impression Share bid strategy with the option to target the top or absolute top of the page.

How Ad Rank is determined

Elements of Ad Rank

The ad auction is how Google decides which ads to show and how they're positioned.

Google Ads calculates Ad Rank for every ad in the auction. Ad Rank determines 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 6 factors:

  • Your bid - When you set your bid, you're telling Google Ads 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 - Google Ads also checks how relevant and useful your ad and the website it links to are to the customer. Our assessment of the quality of your ad is summarized in your Quality Score, which you can monitor—and work to improve—in your Google Ads account.
  • The Ad Rank thresholds - To help ensure high quality ads, we set minimum thresholds that an ad must achieve to show.
  • The competitiveness of an auction - If two ads competing for the same position have similar ad ranks, each will have a similar opportunity to win that position. As the gap in ad rank between two advertisers’ ads grows, the higher-ranking ad will be more likely to win but also may pay a higher cost per click for the benefit of the increased certainty of winning.
  • The context of the person’s search - With the ad auction, context matters. When calculating Ad Rank, we check the search terms the person has entered, the person’s location at the time of the search, the type of device they’re using (For example, 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 assets 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 assets. Google Ads estimates how assets and other ad formats you use will impact your ad's performance.

Example

Here’s a simplified example of how Ad Rank works. It doesn’t account for all of the factors discussed above, but instead aims to give you a high-level overview of our algorithms:

Assume that the respective Ad Rank of each of the advertisers is 80, 50, 30, 10, and 5.

If the minimum Ad Rank necessary to show above the search results is 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 top and absolute top metrics, the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 80 (in the first position above the results) will have 1 impression counting both for top and absolute top. The advertiser with Ad Rank of 50 (in the second position above the search results) will have 1 impression on top. The advertiser with an Ad Rank of 30 (in the first position below the search results) will have 0 impressions on top or absolute top, same as the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 10 (in the second position below search results).

  Ad Rank Impr. on absolute top Impr. on top Impr. (Abs top) % Impr. (top) %
Advertiser A 80 1 1 100% 100%
Advertiser B 50 0 1 0% 100%
Advertiser C 30 0 0 0% 0%
Advertiser D 10 0 0 0% 0%

To improve your share of the top and absolute top location on the search result page, you can:

  • Improve the quality of your ads and landing page experience
  • Increase your bid

Better ads mean better Ad Rank

Every time someone does a search that triggers an ad that's competing in an auction, we calculate an Ad Rank. This calculation incorporates your bid and auction-time measurements of expected CTR, ad relevance, and landing page experience, among other factors. To determine the auction-time quality components, we weigh a number of different factors. By improving the following factors you can help improve the quality components of your Ad Rank:
  • Your ad's expected clickthrough rate: This is partly based on your ad's historical clicks and impressions (adjusting for factors such as assets, 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

The quality components of Ad Rank are used in several different ways and can affect the following things:
  • Ad auction eligibility: Our measures of ad quality help determine the Ad Rank thresholds for your ad, and 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.
  • Eligibility for ad assets and other ad formats: Ad Rank determines whether or not your ad is eligible to be displayed with ad assets and other ad formats, such as sitelinks.
Overall, higher quality ads typically lead to lower costs and more advertising success. The Google Ads system works best for everybody when the ads we show are relevant and closely match what customers are searching for.
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