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Are My PPC Ads Really at the Top? Finally, an Answer!

By | July 18, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I know some of my fellow PPC’ers have been complaining for ages about position reporting on Google.  Sure, it seems enough just to know that we’re showing in position 1 for certain keywords.  That’s all fine and dandy except Google offered us no way to determine if we were appearing above or to the right of organic listings.  Our clients would ask, “How do I know if we showed up on top?” and we’d simply shrug and say, “We can’t tell”.

The metric that Google reports when it comes to position is actually based on auction position, not page position.  This essentially means that a position of 1 will always be the first ad but it can occur either at the top or along the right hand side.  In order to get that position above organic listings, you really need to have a solid quality score.  When it came down to knowing if we met the requirements for a top notch spot, we were left in the dark.

Well, my friends, those days are over.  Google just announced the release of the new “Top vs. side” reporting segment.  Hooray! While this may not be the most detailed or elaborate news Google has given us these days, it’s certainly a big win for us PPC geeks.

In order to see these segments broken out, all you need to do is:

1.)    Go to either the campaigns, ad groups, ads or keywords tab in your AdWords account

2.)    Click on the Segment drop down

3.)    Select Top vs. Side

You’ll then see six possible breakouts under each keyword: Google search top, Google search side, Google search other, search partners top, search partners other, and Google Display Network. It’s great to see these results on such a granular level and this new feature will be instrumental in determining whether or not bidding into a top position is worthwhile.

Hopefully this will clear up any misunderstandings about where the heck ads are appearing.  Albeit a small addition, it’s the little things in life that keep us PPC’ers  happy.

Are you curious about other new features within Google AdWords? Be sure to check out our other blog posts on Google Adwords Keyword Diagnostic Tool to see if you keywords are showing or read our blog post on What’s New at Google.

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About Amanda Jerele

Amanda is a Senior Account Executive at Fathom. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and has been with Fathom since 2010. She works primarily in the education industry and specializes in developing and executing digital marketing strategies to aid partners in driving new leads and enrollments. Her specialties include online advertising, search engine optimization, conversation optimization, email marketing, marketing automation and analytics. She is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords and Microsoft Bing.

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