PPC Tuesday – Top vs. Side Ad Performance

By Matthew


Last week Google AdWords introduced a new feature to the performance segmentation report called “Top vs. side” performance. This new report allows you to view the performance of your ads both above and to the right side of the organic results. Showing your ads above the organic results is beneficial as you have more options for how your ads will be seen. Some of the benefits of showing your ads above the organic results include:

  • The ability to utilize the sitelinks extensions
  • The ability to include description line 1 in your headline to look more like an organic listing
  • The ability to show description lines 1 and 2 on a single line
  • The ability for your display URL to show alongside your headline

You are now able to see how metrics like conversions, conversion rate, and click-thru-rate differ when your ads show above vs. the side of organic results.

To view the Top vs. Side reporting go into the AdWords interface and click the “Segment” drop down menu. Then click the “Top vs. Side” option and you will see the performance of your top and side ads on both Google Search and Google Search Partner sites. You will also see both networks show stats for “Other.” These numbers represent ad formats (like product listings ads) that are not designated as showing above or to the right of the organic results.

So what have my initial results and impressions been? Across the board I’m seeing many more conversions and much higher click-thru-rates from those ads showing above the organic results. I’m also seeing slightly higher average cost-per-clicks, which makes sense as one of the key elements of getting ranked higher is your bid (but not the only one). These numbers don’t surprise me as the top ads are often the first set of results searchers will see. Additionally, they have the potential to stand out more than side ads due to the reasons we discussed earlier.

Overall, I’m excited for this new report, especially since we can now see how much of an impact top ads make vs. side ads.