New Adwords Segment: Top vs. Side Position

New Adwords Segment: Top vs. Side Position

In the world of Search Engine Marketing every bit of data is crucial to a campaign’s success or failure. For that reason we are always excited when Google releases a new metric or reporting feature. On the 13th of July, they announced the new Top vs. Side ad performance Segmentation.


We’ve always known that your ad position can have a huge impact on CTR and even conversions. And now Google has made it easier to see how your ads perform in the top positions vs the side positions. It’s a very easy report to run and gives some really valuable information.


  • You can access the report from the Campaigns, Ad groups, Ads, and Keywords tabs
  • Click the Segment button
  • Select Top vs. Side


This segment breaks down your ad performance by Ads shown in the top positions and ads shown in the side positions for both the Google Search Network and the Search Partners Network.


I was curious to see how the top measured up against the side positions so I ran a quick report and was amazed by what I found. I felt pretty confident that top positions would have a higher CTR for the most part, I just didn’t know how right I was.


I took a sample of 30 campaigns across a variety of our clients and compared the CTR of top position ads to side position ads. I found that in every case there was a difference of at least 186%. In some cases the difference was as great as 3,933%, where the top positions had a CTR of 10.89% and the side positions had a CTR of 0.27%. Across all 30 accounts, the average difference between top and side positions was 1,728%. 


So what does this mean? Does this mean I will never bid for position 4 again? Is it only worth running ads if they’re going to show in the top positions?… Not necessarily.


While CTR is an integral metric to the success and efficiency of any campaign it is not the end all be all. Some campaigns I run are solely focused on offline conversions like phone calls, in cases like these the CTR has a lot more weight because a higher CTR means more people visiting the site and having a chance to make a phone call. But if you are running a direct response campaign (lead gen or ecommerce) you should make all decisions based on conversion data. The bottom line is profitability, and that depends on how much you sell or how many leads you generate.


The top vs. side segment will also show you metrics like conversion rate and cost per conversion. In some cases I have seen a higher conversion rate and lower cost per conversion come from the side positions.


Once you know what the goals of your campaign are, running the top vs. side segmentation can help you determine the right bidding strategy to meet those goals.


If you would like a free consultation please contact us at 877 676 2010.

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