Google Adwords Will Be Removing Position Preference

Google Adwords will be removing position preference. The feature has already been disabled. But for those that would be grandfathered in, they are removing this option entirely come May 2011. This announcement came via a message within the Adwords.
Retiring the position preference setting
In early May, we’ll be removing the option to set position preferences. Learn more about what this means for your campaigns.
Position preference gave advertisers the ability to tell Google where they wanted their ad to appear in Google’s search ads on a given page.
We call it a preference because we can’t guarantee you’ll always get the position (or rank) you ask for. Here is an example of how you could set your position preference:
  • Higher than a given position (such as above 7)
  • Lower than a given position (such as below 4)
  • Within a range of positions (such as from 2-8)
  • In a single exact position (such as position 2)

On the same page, Google explains why an advertiser might like a specific position or range:

If you find that your own ad gets the best results when it is ranked (for example) third or fourth among all AdWords ads, you can set a position preference for those spots.


Sad to see the Ad Position Preference Go.

Many people in the Adwords world have found better conversions from lower positions. Positions 1 – 3 get the most clicks. They also get the most window shoppers. A window shopper is much less committed to buy then an individual that walks into a store. Searchers that take the time to read the ads are much more serious in their buying commitment.  So being in position 6-8 is like slapping a “Serious inquires only” label on your ad. You get individuals that are making a conscious effort to select which ad best fits their needs and wants. From a salesman’s perspective, this is a getting a little “yes”. Every sale comes from a lot of little “yes’s” to get the big “YES.” Truth be told, I found better conversion rates for many searches in positions 6-8. I would also bid on words that are profitable to me when I can get a user to stop and think, “Scorpions as in pest control” vs “Scorpions the band”. Position number 1 is not where I want to be, even if I am willing to pay more than a guy wanting to sell a CD.

Sorry Google, but it seems that you are moving away from listening to your advertisers. Call me old, but for me the phrase “the customer is always right” still has a nice ring to it.

How Advertisers target average positions without position preference?

So all is not lost. By staying on top of the changes in the internet marketing  industry you will find that you can still get a position preference. What is unclear by their automate suggestion is if you can aim for a lower position rather than a higher position. Selecting the automate tab gives you the default suggestion “Raise bids to first page CPC”. So one can target “Higher” positions with Google’s automate tool.

3 thoughts on “Google Adwords Will Be Removing Position Preference

  1. Stuart Draper says:

    The position preference feature never worked anyways for the majority of our clients. I think Google is ditching the service for 2 reasons:

    1. It will help their bottom line.
    2. Why keep offering a service that doesn’t work?

  2. Delena Silverfox says:

    I wonder if it is in any way related to their Panda Update that they did a couple of months ago? It seems as if Google is tightening up their search quality in a lot of areas, and if they’re disabling position preference, I bet they’re installing an algorithm that judges the quality of your ad and places it where the algorithm feels it most deserves to be. This could be forcing the advertisers to also tighten up the quality of their ads.

    This could be a very good thing. I’ve always found about 70% of the Google ads I see to be completely erroneous to whatever I was searching. So, sometimes, the customer isn’t always right.


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