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When working with a limited budget, you’re really going to want to get down to the smallest of details to ensure money is being spent effectively. One item you’ll want to look at is how your ads are performing in different positions. By determining the different conversion rates for the different ad positions you might consider changing your bid strategy to help save money.

Many companies, regardless of budget, will go for the strategy of placing high bids to obtain the first position. Some have it set in their mind that the top position in paid search is the best position. What they might fail to realize is that not only are you paying a premium for that spot, but those top positions might also get you some inadvertent clicks by people clicking on the top position regardless of what it is. So the question is, is bidding for the top spot the most profitable strategy? Is this where your conversion rates are the highest? The answer for some may be yes and for others may be no. Generally though, with a limited budget, bidding for the top position can be a quick way to go through your money. Whatever the case, it’s important to have the information in hand so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

To find this information you’re going to want to open up Google Analytics and have a look at Keyword Positions within your AdWords tab. You can find an assortment of statistics such as visits, pages per visit, average time on site, but the stat you’re really going to want to look at is your conversion rate. What does that top position look like for this stat? Are you spending your money appropriately, or should you lower your bids in an attempt to move into that three or four slot.

Now this is an option, which you used to be able have control over. You could control your positioning with the Adwords ‘Position Preference’ feature, but unfortunately this no longer exists. In order to try and obtain positions you will need to manually manipulate bids. So no, you’re never going to always hit your target ad positions but you can manipulate your keyword bids to get close. Have a look at your avg. ad position for your top keyword and their avg. cpc and make changes accordingly.

Below is an example of a breakdown in ad position for visits and per visit value.

If you don’t have your analytics data attached to your AdWords account (which you should) there is another option to help you get some information about preferences. You can now segment your keywords into ‘Top’ or ‘Side’. This will allow you to gain an understanding on how your ads react when they’re at the top of the results compared to when they’re listed on the side.