Google AdWords Position Preference Going Away

Apr 7, 2011 • 8:31 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdWords

Google announced that the position preference bidding option, which has been around since 2006, is being retired.

Why? Google said there are "pitfalls around targeting average position," and linked people over to Chief Economist, Hal Varian's post named understanding the Average Position metric from a few days ago. But not everyone agrees that this is a good thing. One advertiser in the WebmasterWorld forums said:

This is really bad news for the way I handle adwords - the top positions convert the best for me, while the lower ones do not. Hence with a limited budget I use position preference to make sure that when my ads appear, they do so in the best converting positions.

This is going to increase my cost per conversion and overall adspend considerably - great for Google, not so good for me!

In any event, this person can still do a position preference like bidding style but they have to use the automated rules feature in a interesting way.

(1) As of April 5th, position preference can no longer be enabled for campaigns through either the AdWords web interface or the API. Campaigns already using position preference will still have it enabled, but if you turn position preference off in one of your campaigns, you won't be able to turn it back on.

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(2) Starting in early May, Google will begin disabling position preference for any campaigns still using it.

(3) After you disable position preference (either manually or when the feature is retired starting in early May), the manual maximum CPC bids for those campaigns will be the bids position preference used most recently. Position preference tries to raise or lower your bids to target the positions you specify. So using the most recent position preference bid as your manual maximum CPC should minimize disruption to your traffic.

For more details see this help document.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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04/07/2011 02:21 pm

I am wondering how this will impact the cost-per click cost to those running AdWords. I suspect it will cause the cost to increase. As some have said elsewhere, being say 4th and thereunder is totally underperforming territory. So by saying 80% of the value in place 1-4 and mere 20% in remaining 6 ad slots means the money should reflect that reality also. Right? Doing away with this should have the intended consequences of making 1-10 slots nearly uniform. I suspect collectively even more valuable than before, to Google.

PPC Services

04/08/2011 04:57 am

This was one option which we have used few times around at the early stages of new campaigns.

John Allen

04/08/2011 01:19 pm

This was feature that I was advised from an early stage to avoid. As I understand it, you only got the position you requested if your bid justified it. If your bid was too low, your ad just didn't show. This could work well for phrases with a lot of volume, where bidders drop out because they are being trottled by their daily budget, but on lower volume phrases it could mean your ads are never seen.


04/08/2011 07:41 pm

Well played Google, well played -Now I'll just have to spend more to ensure top positions

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