Competing For Clicks in the Post Product Ads Google World
Google Analytics has always been a decent additional tracking mechanism for determining the efficacy of your pay per click AdWords advertising. Google has steadily improved the analytics interface to better represent which ads are causing your visitors to BUY, and which ones are just causing them to shop.
Recently, Google introduced Product Listing Ads, and my feeling is that using a particular metric study will now become even more
important to determining your keyword bid pricing. It used to be that ranking in the top 3 for your important keyword bids was the rule. Be there for your converting phrases, or be lost in the endless sidebar of competitor ads.
But if you do a product search now (lets say for flat panel TVs) you’ll see that the entire landscape has changed. You now see the Top 3 paid ads, then Google Merchant Center listings (in this case, the free variety, not the paid ones), then the natural results (lucky sons of guns…). Under the side column though you will see a new variety of “paid” listings. These are images with pricing, and depending on who you ask, they are either Google Affiliate Network merchants (see this post at ReveNews), or, based on the AdWords blog post, a connection between AdWords advertising and corresponding Google Merchant Center Accounts.
Personally, In think they are doing some of both. I won’t debate the merits or demerits associated with what Google is doing here. I promise you you’ll find plenty of that in your favorite affiliate marketing or webmaster forum.
Using Analytics to Get More Clicks
So, how can we use Google Analytics to determine if this has changed the AdWords bid strategy we should be using? Simple.
In GA, under Traffic Sources, there is an AdWords Drop Down. In there is a little used page by most called Keyword Positions. Here, you can learn your conversion rate of your ads based on WHERE THEY APPEAR in the search results.
In the above chart, taken directly from an Analytics account, we find that Keyword Position Top 1 converts at 6.67%, and Side 1 has converted recently at a whopping 11.11%! Three things we can glean from this:
A.) This ad pretty much kicks butt.
B.) The Side position, which is really the 4th most relevant/expensive ad per Google, is outperforming the Top Ad.
C.) IMHO, the pretty pictures now appearing JUST ABOVE position 4 (Side 1) are actually drawing eyeballs to a previously dead ad.
A few caveats here though. The data I’m presenting is from October 1st until December 5th. I’m not exactly positive when Google fully launched the enhanced Image Ad functionality. The blog post is dated November 11th, or, a little more than half way through my data range.
Sadly, as of the time of this writing, I’m not aware of a way to track a specific keyword position historically for results. Secondly, it’s REALLY hard to purposely rank #4 in AdWords for a search term.
So why bother even bringing it up? I believe it’s time for some experimenting, and seeing if your Sidebar ads can really start beating your Top 3 ads for both Click throughs and conversion rate.