The Hostway Blog

Testing Ad Positions

While marketers continue to vie for the top advertising position on search engines, many are beginning to question the wisdom and cost associated with the battle for first position. This evolution shows the wisdom of constantly refining your search engine marketing plans.

Many savvy marketers use a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model for online advertising. This defines the success of an ad based on the cost it takes to convert one visitor into a customer. Given this, a top position that costs $10 per click and generates a negative CPA may be less desirable than running the same ad in a lower position at $4 per click if a positive CPA is possible.

Although Yahoo had allowed marketers to target specific ad positions, until recently, it wasn't possible to do so on Google.

If you find that your ad gets the best results when it is ranked third or fourth among all Google ads, Google now allows you to set a preferred position for those spots. Google will then try to show your ad whenever it is ranked third or fourth, and avoid showing it when it is ranked higher or lower. If your ad is ranked higher than third for a given keyword, the system will automatically try to lower your bid to place your ad in your preferred position.
You can request that your Google ad be shown only when it meets your defined criteria, such as when it is higher than a given position, lower than a given position, within a range of positions, or in an exact position. Google position preferences are not immediate or guaranteed. It can take a few days for a preferred position to kick in. And ads will still appear in other positions, though Google makes every effort to display ads in the preferred spot.
MSN allows you to target ads by day and time. If individuals are logged into MSN as a user, you can also target them by location, age and gender.