Why number 1 in Google is not always best

When it comes to SEO number 1 (or top) of the search listings is where most people want to be. When it comes to paid search (specifically Google Ads) this is not always the case. A client of ours recently wanted to be number 1 for everything related to their industry. They also wanted a very healthy ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). The two, unless you have an unlimited budget, are, unfortunately mutually exclusive. Here's why:

  • Ads in position one of Google are great as they increase brand awareness, and make that brand the most prominent amongst people searching for your products.
  • However, this comes at a cost to appear in position one, ads cost more per click, and if they appear in position one every time, many of those clicks will cost considerably more per click.
  • A second disadvantage, is that whilst more users will click through to the website if the ads are in position one (a higher click through rate), this means that the conversion rate will come down because there will be more clicks from users who are less likely to purchase.
  • Therefore there is an inverse relationship between position one impression share, and return on ad spend (lower ad in position one, means higher returns), but a positive relationship between position one impression share and traffic / sales (more ads in position one, more sales).
  • Therefore, it goes against our objective of maximising returns to place every ad in position one, as you would get extremely low returns.
  • Instead we work in the account to shift the optimal point demonstrated by the blue circle, through finding ways to more clicks that are more likely to convert. in other words we work to get getting more position one / two ads but only for the micro-moments (users, search terms, location, device etc) more likely to convert on the website.

Here's a nice chart that we think illustrates the point rather nicely:

Like most things when it comes to digital, it's all about finding the sweet-spot.

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