Most mornings in my life, and especially Monday mornings, start out with fist pumps in the air, shadow boxing, and visions of glory. Every morning I am PUMPED UP to go to battle and win on AdWords for my clients. Nothing gives me a rush like getting a moving client a handful of long distance moves in a day, or getting an injury lawyer client fifteen car accident cases in a day. I love the game, and every morning I wake up excited to play. I read, I write, I study the data in my AdWords accounts, and I harness my energy to make smart decisions.
Another group of people who wake up fired up every morning are my clients. My clients are law firm owners, moving company owners, and other small business owners. They’re the entrepreneurs of America and they’re fired up about their businesses. They are high-energy people, they take pride in their work, and they believe they offer the best services in town for their industry. All this energy and pride often leads to them checking Google’s search results and wanting to see themselves in the number one position, 100% of the time. But that goal on its own, with no other supporting data, is not a smart decision.
Many business owners equate the number one ad position with the status of being the best business, but solid AdWords managers equate the top position with higher costs. There is nothing wrong with going for the top position, but it should be earned. You should get to the top position only after your conversion rates and quality scores have gotten high enough to make the top position profitable.
You want to earn the top position, not just buy it. Because if you just “buy it,” without doing the work, you’re basically just “renting it,” because sooner or later your unprofitable bids will bring an end to your campaign.
Almost every aggressive business owner client I have is constantly worried about being in position 1.0. Their instincts are correct, but as I mentioned above, you have to earn your way to number 1.0 to make it profitable. Here are some tips regarding ad position and going for position 1.0.
- Position 1.0, all things being equal, will bring you more clicks and leads. If all advertisers’ ad copy was equally effective, the most clicks would go to the ad in position 1. More people click on position 1 then position 2, position 2 gets more clicks than position 3, and so on. Again, this is assuming all other things like ad copy effectiveness being equal.
- However, you don’t have to be in position 1 to get clicks. People do click on position 2, 3, and 4 ads, and to some extent they also click on position 5 and lower. But you can usually spend a full, normal small business-sized monthly budget by getting clicks in positions 2, 3, and sometimes 4.
- Don’t forget about the decimal. Many aggressive clients I have want to see 1.0 because in their mind anything less than position 1.0 is position 2 or lower. But that’s not the case. The truth is that your average position can be lower than 1.0 but higher than 2.0. You can have an average position of 1.1 to 1.9. A position of 1.1 to 1.4 means that most of the time you actually are in the top position, but sometimes you’re lower. And a position of 1.6 to 1.9 means that some of the time you show up in the top position, but more often you show up lower than position 1. Many advertisers think position 1 is a winner take all game, but it’s not. You can make position 1 affordable by showing up there some of the time and getting an average position of 1.1 to 1.9.
- Position 1.0 should be your goal, as being in position 1.0 is the best way to get the most quality traffic, assuming you don’t have any budget restraints. But you have to get there by earning it. To earn it, means to get your quality scores and/or conversion rates high enough to be able to profitably bid for the top spot. Higher quality scores will make the top spot cost per click lower (which lowers cost per conversion), and higher conversion rates will allow you to better-afford the top spot cost per click because higher conversion rates mean lower cost per conversions. If you don’t earn it, if your quality scores and/or conversion rates aren’t high enough, than the top spot bids will be unprofitable and you will end up sinking your campaign.
Position 1.0 is a noble goal, and it brings with it the benefits of more traffic and leads, but never forget that position 1.0 has to be earned and not artificially paid for on borrowed time.