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Google: Ad Position Hardly Affects Conversion Rate

August 20, 2009

Google's Chief Economist Hal Varian and his team have conducted a research on the correlation between conversion rate and ad position, and came to a conclusion that ad position doesn’t affect much conversion rate.

Varian states that since Google ranks ads by ad quality, it is very likely ads in higher position to have better quality and, therefore, to lead to higher conversion rates. "Thus you may see a correlation between auction position and conversion rates just due to this ad quality effect," says Varian. “However, the real question is how the conversion rate for the same ad would change if it were displayed in a different position."

And the answer to this question is straightforward: there is very little variation in conversion rates by position for the same ad.

“We have used a statistical model to account for these effects and found that, on average, there is very little variation in conversion rates by position for the same ad. For example, for pages where 11 ads are shown the conversion rate varies by less than 5% across positions. In other words, an ad that had a 1.0% conversion rate in the best position, would have about a 0.95% conversion rate in the worst position, on average. Ads above the search results have a conversion rate within ±2% of right-hand side positions.”

We’d love to have your input in the comments on whether you have seen better conversion rates for ads in higher position, or your conversion rate is fairly steady.


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