When it comes to search results pages, everyone wants the top spot. That goes for advertisers as well. But, a new analysis from Adobe Media Optimizer suggests the first ad on the page might not always be the best for your dollar. In fact, the 4th position may produce the best results in some situations.
The only catch is that sometimes Google doesn’t display the fourth ad.
According to the findings published in Adobe’s April 2016 Advertising Report, cost per click (CPC) is down ever since Google removed ads from the right side of the page. Meanwhile, click-through rates (CTR) has gone up.
The Adobe Advertising Report reviews three months of aggregated anonymous data from search advertising customers. The company specifically says they hoped this particular assessment would help customers understand Google’s decision to cut ads from the right-hand rail of desktop search results in February of this year.
Overall, the analysis found the changes impact smaller advertisers more because these advertisers generally depend on lower volume keywords. Due to the removal of the right-rail ads, smaller advertisers are having to pay our more to reach the top spots. They are also seeing 10% fewer clicks for less expensive keywords that appear in the lower ad spots.
The results also show that costs per click have risen for the number 1 and 2 positions by 6% and 7% respectively. Meanwhile, costs for the 3rd and 4th positions dropped by 8% and 10% respectively, showing advertisers are placing more of an emphasis on reaching the top spots.
Despite this, the lower positions are actually producing better click-through rates. CTRs for the 4th position jumped by 18% while the rates for the 1st and 3rd position rose by 13% and 2% respectively. Rates for the 2nd position have remained the same.
When all this is taken together it shows that the lowest spots on the AdWords results may provide the best value for advertisers, especially small businesses who are advertising on the platform. The results also suggest customers are responding well to the removal of right sidebar ads and engaging in ads more overall.