Google AdWords “Top vs Side” Segmentation

 Google AdWords recently announced a new level of reporting for their paid search customers: Top versus Side Ad Performance Segmentation. This feature allows AdWords advertisers to compare the performance of their offers when they occupy the top position for a keyword above the organic results versus when they occupy the same position for sponsored ads shown to the right of the organic results.

The distinction between these two sets of data is important because of an increased number of first position clicks received when the top position ads are found above, as opposed to on the side, of the organic results. This was reported previously by the AdWords team in an article on the Average Position Metric found here .

After a bit of “hands-on” time reviewing this new data in some of our campaigns, I found myself with a few questions that need answering. First, will Google soon allow advertisers to choose whether they would prefer to occupy the top position only in search results that appear above the organic listings? Will “side organic” become the setting of choice for marketers who want all of “status” of occupying top position with only a portion of the spend?

Secondly, how does this data account for sponsored results that show ads both above and on the side of the organic feed?

Is there any positive difference in performance in occupying the top position on the right of the organic results? Could this spot actually become more desirable than bidding up to occupy, say 2nd or 3rd above the organic? Has Google unwittingly thrown users a “bone” by mentioning this distinction?

Alas, like the little child in the tootsie roll pops commercial, the world may never know. Still, it sure is nice to dream:)

How are you using the “Top vs Side” Segmentation to improve the performance of your paid results? Please feel free to comment below.