Multiple Impressions Counted from One Search?

Aug 21, 2006 • 3:37 pm | comments (2) by twitter | Filed Under Google AdWords

The Google AdWords system charges advertisers every time someone clicks on one of the sponsored listings within google or Google network search results. One of the factors that is used in determining ad position is what is known as "click-through-rate" or CTR. Theoretically, if you have a higher CTR (more people click on your ad per impression), you will be able to bid less in order to appear in a high position. Conversely, a lower CTR requires an advertiser to bid more in order to keep a high position. This is not the only factor involved in ranking sponsored listings - bid amount and quality of the landing page also are very important.

Last month, there was an interesting question at the Search Engine Watch forums about the CTR and how it may be adversely affected if your ad is seen on more than one results page and not clicked on. The question was:

I've noticed that when you dig deep into the often unchartered territory of pages 2 onwards of Google search results, eventually you start seeing adverts from the same advertisers as on earlier pages...So, when this occurs are you registering two impressions (or more) from that one set of search results?

This seemed like a plausible concern, since in some cases the CTR might be the only factor that differentiates one advertiser from another. Fortunately, Google's official "AdWordsRep" came in and clarified everyone's questions. The bottom line, it turns out, is that the additional impressions do count. However, the other advertisers are also subject to the same impressions; therefore the issue should be mute.

What do you think? Read the thread at Search Engine Watch Forums.

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Kris Keimig

08/21/2006 10:00 pm

"The issue should be mute" - I don't see how this could be the case. Let’s say I am advertising on the phrase 'snack packs' and my ad (I only have one running; i.e. 1 keyword to 1 ad) is currently showing (intermittently) on both the first and second SERP on Let’s then say that a user does a search on ‘snack packs’ and clicks on my ad on the first page of results. The user liked my ad and liked my informative, intuitive site (quality all around) but didn’t see the type of ‘snack pack’ they wanted – so the user goes back to the SERP. In doing so, my CTR (I assume) is now at 50% (2 views on the same SERP with 1 click) – and I guess that is ‘fair.’ The user now clicks to the second page of search results and my ad (because I have been settling between the last ad on the first page and the first ad on the second page) shows up. At this point I am dead in the water – my ad has already been seen and the user already knows that the product they want isn’t on my site. I have a stale ad (point 1) and irrelevant ad (point 2) – there is no way that I will EVER gain a click off that second (technically third) impression – I will be charged with an impression with no way to possibly capitalize. Unless I am missing something – the issue isn’t mute.

chris boggs

08/22/2006 02:43 pm

Thanks for the commnet Kris. I see your point. The argument by Google is that the same thing could happen to the other advertisers bidding on "snack packs," which may be a popular term. Your point would be more relevant I think if you were speaking of a term that you were the only advertiser for, and somehow did not provide the product or price the searcher was seeking? Perhaps you should start the discussion back up in the forum?

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