About Ad Rank

Ad Rank is a set of values that are used to determine whether your ads are eligible to show and if eligible, where on the page your ads are shown (if at all) relative to other advertisers’ ads. In each auction, your Ad Rank is calculated first to determine whether your ad is eligible to show, and a second time to determine where your ad is ranked relative to other eligible advertisers’ ads. These Ad Rank values are calculated based on several factors, including 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 first which ads are eligible to show and second how they're ranked among eligible ads.

At both the eligibility and ranking stages, Google calculates Ad Rank scores. Generally speaking, the advertiser with the highest Ad Rank gets to show in the top position and the advertiser 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, Ad Rank scores are based on six factors:

  • Your bid – When you set your bid, you're telling Google Ads the maximum amount that 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 summarised in your Quality Score, which you can monitor 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 that the person has entered, the person’s location at the time of the search, the type of device that 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 that 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, -10, -30 and -35.

Let’s assume that the minimum Ad Rank to show anywhere on search results pages is 0, then the last three advertisers whose ads have scores of -10,-30 and -35 are ineligible to show in any position on the page.

Secondly, if the minimum Ad Rank necessary to show in the top ad location (generally above search results) is 40, only the first two advertisers (whose ads have Ad Ranks of 80 and 50) exceed the minimum and can show above the search results.

However, the advertisers whose ads have Ad Ranks of 30 and 10 are eligible to show in ad locations lower down the page.

For top and absolute top metrics, the advertiser with an Ad Rank of 80 (in the first position within the top ad location) will have one impression counting both for top and absolute top. The advertiser with Ad Rank of 50 (in the second position within the top ad location) will have one impression on top. The advertiser with an Ad Rank of 30 (in the first position below the search results) will have zero 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

The Ad Rank calculations incorporate your bid and auction-time quality that can include auction-time measurements like expected CTR, ad relevance and landing page experience, among other factors. Ad Rank is calculated every time a user does a search and is recalculated for different positions on the search results page.

Our assessment of the quality of your ad is summarised in your Quality Score, which you can monitor in your Google Ads account.

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 that 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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