Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Adwords 3rd top placement ad

Since around August 10th Google SERPs have been showing a 3rd top placement ad on select searches. I posed a question in the Adwords forum at SEW that I moderate seeing if I could get AdwordsRep to spill the beans. I figured there could be several variables that determine when that new ad inventory spot appeared such as:

  • Number of searches

  • Number of competitors

  • Pricing

  • CTRs

  • etc.

While AdwordsRep hasn’t posted yet some forum members have had some interesting comments such as this from Shor:

Our account rep was rather vague and reticient on this (as he didn't have a solid brief on the issue) but he did say that 3 ads appear only when the 3rd ad reaches a certain threshold of CTR comparable to the no.1 ranked keyword. He said CTR but he may have meant quality score as that would be a more useful ranking criteria ? He also confirmed that G were currently targeting high volume queries (loans/auto/jobs/dating etc.)

As further support for the CTR factor but a detractor to the idea of high volume queries Phoenix had this to say:

Well I have reason to believe its extending a bit farther than that. Noticed it tonight on a phrase (book title) I was checking for a client "play piano in a flash". It’s a rather low traffic phrase in none of the high traffic industries mentioned, and it’s a book written exclusively by the client only in its first printing. I would consider it a pretty much non-competitive phrase with only a few affiliates offering it. I guess for this phrase it may be more along "he did say that 3 ads appear only when the 3rd ad reaches a certain threshold of CTR comparable to the no.1 ranked keyword".

My co-moderator AussieWebmaster offered his own little tidbit:
So in effect the top organic results just got handed decreased CTR.

I wonder how long before Google goes completely PPC!!! <---- joking!

That may not be that far from the truth, especially considering research showing the difficulty searchers have in distinguishing paid from organic listings and the fact that this 3rd ad spot means fewer organic results above the fold.

This could be a 1-2 punch for Google, a new top inventory spot for advertisers to fight for and maybe more advertisers to fight for them with the reduction in organic results above the fold.


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