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Bottom Ad Placement CTRs on the Rise and Other Google News

New statistics about Google’s search and related ad products made headlines in recent days, giving marketers more insight into how to better use these tools.

One news item came from a report by Global Equities Research, which believes that click-through-rates on ad placements in Google search—specifically the bottom ad placements—have improved over the last 30 to 45 days.

A stock research firm, Global Equities doesn’t necessarily focus on how any one product performs. In this case, though, it is relevant: performance of bottom ad placements could well be the reason if Google shows a positive revenue surprise for the 1Q’2012.

In 4Q’2011, CTR’s on the bottom Ads Placements on Google Search page results were very weak, it noted.

It found that CTR on the bottom ads placements on Google search results page are strong for the following types of queries:

  • Queries related to Shopping
  • Queries related to Schools
  • Queries related to any form of Comparison
  • Queries related to any form of Supplies
  • Queries related to any Text Books
  • Queries related to any form of Service.

Most Search Ad Clicks Incremental; Organic Ranking Has Some Impact

These findings follow new statistics released by Google that show that half of the search ad clicks that occur with a top rank organic result are incremental–meaning that visits to the advertiser’s site from the ad clicks are not replaced by organic clicks when the search ads are paused.

In a March 2012 follow-up to a 2011 report. Looking at 390 search ad pause studies, Google found that when the organic search result was between 2 and 4, incrementality of the ad clicks rose to 82%, while 96% of the ads were incremental when the organic result ranked lower than 4.

Last year’s report had found that 89% of clicks from search ads are incremental. Google’s March 2012 also found that search ads appear with no associated organic result on the first page an average of 81% of the time. In fact, a search ad shows up with an organic result in the top rank just 9% of the time, with an organic result in ranks 2-4 only 5% of the time, and in lower ranks on the first page roughly 4% of the time.

On average, 66% of ad clicks occurred without an associated organic result on the first page.

Ingredients of the Quality Score

A Google post by Tanmay Arora gave an in-depth explanation of how Google’s “Quality Score sauce”, works. She said the relevance of a keyword is not entirely determined by its presence on the landing page or the number of times it’s been mentioned. Nor is its relevance determined by how appropriate the keyword is to the product/landing page.

Rather it is how appropriate the users find it. Also, she said, when fresh keywords are added, initially they’re awarded a historical Quality Score based on their previous performance on Google.com.

“And only once the keyword starts accruing statistics, the system then evaluates its Quality Score based on its recent performance. This doesn’t happen dynamically but is a gradual process.” Also, she said, “We take into account the exact match CTR of the keyword, as it’s a better indicator of the effectiveness of the keyword.”

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