If Google AdWords were a simple auction format than getting the top ad position would be relatively simple. Outbid your competition and you have the number 1 spot every time. Yet, just as it does with its search results Google has an algorithm to determine where your ad is placed. It’s why one day your ad could be number 1 and the next day dropped a few spots. Even from my own clients I often get calls asking “why isn’t my ad number one on Google AdWords anymore.”
To understand how your ads get positioned, you first have to understand Google’s reasoning for its system. Google only makes money if someone clicks on your ad. So it doesn’t matter if you’re bidding 10 dollars or 100 dollars, Google won’t make a cent if your ad isn’t clicked on. So while you’re bid is part of their ranking process it’s only one element. If you’re bidding significantly higher than your completion, it won’t matter if no one clicks on your ad.
For the advertiser there is also a benefit to this system. You don’t always have to outbid your competitors. If you have a strong ad and a relevant landing page your ad could appear above your competition, even if they’re outbidding you.
While that explains how Google AdWords work, it doesn’t necessarily answer the initial question of why an ad that was number 1 is no longer in the top position, even for a campaign that has been successful.
Here are some reasons your ad may have dropped out of the top spot.
You’ve been Outbid
Although it’s not strictly an auction, if a competitor has raised their bid and has an effective ad, then they’ll jump ahead of you. It could mean you just need to increase your bid. Keep in mind though that you don’t want to go too high that it’s no longer cost effective. In this case you might want to focus on other keywords that aren’t quite as expensive, but still relevant to what you offer.
There Are New Competitors On the Scene
It’s easy to become stagnant with your ads, particularly if you’re doing them yourselves and running your business at the same time. You might not even notice that a new entrant is on the AdWords scene. It could be business new in your area, or an old competitor who is just starting to advertise online. Suddenly they’re ad is more creative and seeing better results. This means you might have to come up with a new ad to beat them. This could take time as you might have to test a variety of ads before becoming successful. And increasing your bids could also help, in this case, as well.
Your Ad Sucks
This is often the case for a campaign that has only recently started or an ad that was just created. Your ads may have a strong history and when you created the new ad, Google simply gave you the benefit of the doubt and put it number 1. Then in a few days or even a few hours, depending on the number of searches, it might drop a few spots. People aren’t responding to it and so you’re click through rate has dropped significantly. This means you need to go back to your old ad, or better yet, try to create a new ad that improves even on the older one.
By the way you should always have 2 ads running anyway as part of your test. The better one that you’ll keep and a new one that you’re testing against it.
Your Daily Budget is Nearly Depleted
If it’s near the end of the day or sooner, depending on your budget, it might be finances that are keeping you from being number 1. If you’re bidding 10 dollars for a term, but your daily budget is down to 9 dollars than that 10-dollar bid isn’t feasible. Google will go over your budget a slight amount each day, but it always makes sure. So if your ad isn’t showing see if it’s because your account is depleted. If you’re seeing a good return on your investment, then consider increasing your daily budget to keep from losing potential customers.
You’ve Changed Your Landing Page
This is less common, but I have seen it where a client redesigned their website and now their content doesn’t relate as well to the ad they’re running. Landing page is an element of your Quality Score, part of the algorithm Google uses to rank ads. If you're considering changing the content of a landing page, make sure it's content is relevant to the issue that prompted a prospect to click on your ad. Google will let you know if they think your landing page, like your ad, is below average.
To learn more about creating a successful landing page, read my article on 10 Elements of a Successful Landing Page. To learn more about Google's ranking method for AdWords, then read my article on Quality Score.
Use Googles Tool To Determine if There is a Problem.
One thing you don’t want to do is to be constantly going onto Google to check your ad. This can negatively affect your campaign, albeit in a small way. Your search will count as an impression against your keyword and thus impact your click through rate. It’s a small impact, unless you check regularly, but still a negative impact. It’s better to use the Ad Preview Tool inside of your Google AdWords account. This not only doesn’t count as an impression, but if you’re ad isn’t running for a particular keyword, the tool will tell you why.
Don’t Be Focused on Being Number One
I have clients that tell me that they want to be number 1 for a specific keyword or for all their keywords all the time. While this is a good objective, it shouldn’t be the main objective of your campaign. Your goal is to generate business, either leads or sales. So if you’re reaching your daily spend and getting a high return on your investment, then being number 2 or 3 might be more cost effective. The goal of your campaign should be to generate as many relevant leads for your business as you can. It’s not about being number 1.
Let a Professional Run Your Campaign So That You Can Focus on the Business
If you’re not getting the results out of your campaign that you wish, from where your ads rank to the return on investment you’re seeing, then consider bringing in a professional. As a Google AdWords specialist I will examine your current campaign and give a brief assessment on your missed opportunities and wasted spend. Contact me today.