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Old 07-27-2006   #1
SEWer Rat
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Multiple Impressions from 1 Search, Question

Hi,

I was hoping someone could answer this question for me. I've noticed that when you dig deep into the often unchartered territory of pages 2 onwards of Google search results, eventually you start seeing adverts from the same advertisers as on earlier pages.

So, when this occurs are you registering two impressions (or more) from that one set of search results?

This does technically, potentially, have CTR repercussions of course. However the reality is that searchers so rarely go this far into the results and this--in the scheme of things--isn't a big deal at all. But I would still like to know the deal here.
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Old 07-27-2006   #2
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My (unscientific) observation is that once Google reaches the end of the list of ad bidders (i.e. the lowest ranked ad), they start over from the top again. This is in contrast to, say, MSN who stops showing ads on subsequent pages after the lowest ranked ad.

If anyone else knows better, please chime in.

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Old 07-27-2006   #3
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Impressions are counted regardless of session variables. The famous back button contributes to the high numbers Google - and other engines - are getting!!!
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Old 07-27-2006   #4
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Quote:
I've noticed that when you dig deep into the often unchartered territory of pages 2 onwards of Google search results, eventually you start seeing adverts from the same advertisers as on earlier pages.

So, when this occurs are you registering two impressions (or more) from that one set of search results?
Quote:
once Google reaches the end of the list of ad bidders (i.e. the lowest ranked ad), they start over from the top again.
Welcome to the forum SEWer Rat. I'd like to add a bit to the answers posted already:

You and gan are correct; the ads do repeat. Given this, how do impressions accrue? Well, let's say that for the keyword 'automated decravinator cleaner' you have an ad that appears in the first and sixth page of search results. If this is the case, then:

* If a user searches for 'automated decravinator cleaner' and only looks at the first page (or the first two, three, four or five pages) of results then you accrue one (and only one) impression.

* If a user searches for 'automated decravinator cleaner' and becomes fascinated to the point that she navigates all the way to the sixth page and sees your ad again, then you accrue two impressions because the ad has appeared twice.

In other words, the ad has to appear on a page that a user sees in order for an impression to be counted.

Hope that makes sense - and I am sure that everyone knows that an advertiser is not charged for impressions for CPC advertising.

AWR
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Old 07-28-2006   #5
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Thanks everyone for the answers and the welcoming...much appreciated.
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Old 07-28-2006   #6
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sewerrat we should hopefully have some more comments in here soon, as I mentioned this thread in the SER blog.

I personally feel that AdWordsRep needs to clarify the question about how this may affect CTR and thus campaign performance - he mentioned correctly that most know that clicks, not impressions, are charged.

AWR, in your post you bring up an example with no "blue listings" (actually no results at all ) If I am an advertiser that pays good money for top three, am I not in danger of suffering due to this policy? (added: The top three do repeat on every results page) Aussie's Back-Button example may make some advertisers cringe, n'est-ce-pas?

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 07-28-2006 at 10:18 AM. Reason: make it less subtle :P
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Old 07-28-2006   #7
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Got to love the subtle questions there Chris.....
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Old 07-28-2006   #8
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IMO, this is a non-issue. This policy has been in place for a long time (since the advent of the blue listings?) and if it was going to destroy our CTR's it already would have.

I think the key reasons for the non-destruction are these:

1. Most people stick to page 1.

2. Even fewer people go past page 2.

3. SERPs that show 3 top level blue links are the most likely to keep visitors on page 1 (the top 3 ads are up there because they have high CTRs which means people are finding what they want right away).

4. The damage done by these 'extra impressions' is mitigated by the fact that your competition is also getting the 'extra impressions'. While the top 3 will generate more impressions than the sidebar crowd (potentially narrowing the gap in CTR), those top ads also have a lot more room to manuever when it comes to CTR.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 07-28-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rational Beaver
IMO, this is a non-issue. This policy has been in place for a long time (since the advent of the blue listings?) and if it was going to destroy our CTR's it already would have.

I think the key reasons for the non-destruction are these:

1. Most people stick to page 1.

2. Even fewer people go past page 2.

3. SERPs that show 3 top level blue links are the most likely to keep visitors on page 1 (the top 3 ads are up there because they have high CTRs which means people are finding what they want right away).

4. The damage done by these 'extra impressions' is mitigated by the fact that your competition is also getting the 'extra impressions'. While the top 3 will generate more impressions than the sidebar crowd (potentially narrowing the gap in CTR), those top ads also have a lot more room to manuever when it comes to CTR.

Just my 2 cents.
Well said... a great first post - welcome to the board!
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Old 07-28-2006   #10
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Why thank you!
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Old 07-28-2006   #11
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agreed with aussie, rational beaver. welcome and good points!

Yet with the increase in landing page scrutiny, more attention will be placed on other ways to help improve performance. I disagree that it is a non-issue for those in the top 3, because their CTR is more affected than #4-8 of 20+ advertisers, no?
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Old 07-28-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Boggs
Yet with the increase in landing page scrutiny, more attention will be placed on other ways to help improve performance. I disagree that it is a non-issue for those in the top 3, because their CTR is more affected than #4-8 of 20+ advertisers, no?
You're right. The top 3 would be more affected than #4 on down. If a searcher went on to page 6, the top 3 would get 6 impressions and the rest might get 1-3 impressions, depending on how many ads there were. That has the potential to suck.

However, IMO the bonus in clicks that those top spots receive far outways any damage that might be done by occasional extra impressions. To the best of my knowledge, Google bumps ads from the side to the top once they hit a 2.5% CTR threshold. So, if there are 3 ads in blue that implies that the ad in the 3 spot has at least a 2.5% CTR, probably more, and the top 2 would have even higher rates than that (I would expect 4-10% and even more on brand related terms). Since the organic results are going to be drawing the vast majority of clicks (say 60-80%), that doesn't leave very many clicks for the ads on the side.

Basically, when ads get into those top spots they automatically receive above average CTRs and, as a result, the ads on the side receive lower than average CTRs. This gives those top ads the leeway they need to deal with any extra impressions that might come along.

The bottom line is that if you have a top position and you maintain a strong CTR, your CPCs will start coming down as you build a solid history and a high Quality Score. As long as those CPCs keep sliding and your position stays strong, I don't think there's anything to worry about.
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Old 07-28-2006   #13
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RB - it is not just a 2.5% CTR - it is more conditional on the eCPC
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Old 07-28-2006   #14
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AW, thanks for pointing out the error of my ways. I took the liberty of speaking to a Google rep (how did I get so sucked into this? Must be Friday) and they told me that, while CTR is important, there are a "variety of factors" that get an ad up into the blue spots. So I concede that point (and I'd like to add that my call was not prompted by any doubt of your expertise but rather a questioning of my own knowledge of the subject).

Still, I think the premise of my arguement is sound. The click bonus to the top spots is powerful. Any thoughts?

Last edited by Rational Beaver : 07-28-2006 at 05:16 PM. Reason: To avoid sounding like a know-it-all.
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Old 07-30-2006   #15
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RB I agree that the blue spots have a huge improvement on their CTR... the top 2 spots can garner 15-25% or more CTR with careful wording etc.
The layout looks similiar to the organic results and many average searchers do not know they are ads.
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Old 07-31-2006   #16
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Quote:
AWR, in your post you bring up an example with no "blue listings" (actually no results at all ) If I am an advertiser that pays good money for top three, am I not in danger of suffering due to this policy? (added: The top three do repeat on every results page) Aussie's Back-Button example may make some advertisers cringe, n'est-ce-pas?
Sorry, missed this until now.

Quote:
...The top three do repeat on every results page
This is actually not accurate - and has not been so for the past 10 to 12 months or so (if I recall correctly). Instead, it has operated as outlined below:

Let's say there are three ads up top, and call them position 1, 2, and 3. In many cases, the ads in position 4 and lower may actually 'qualify' to be promoted, but with maximum of three ads up top, they can't be promoted on the first page.

When this is the case, those remaining eligible ads will be promoted on the second page (and so on, if applicable).

Once all ads eligible to be promoted have been shown up top, then the cycle starts again. I hope that make sense.



Now, is the quote below the "back-button example" as referred to above?

Quote:
Impressions are counted regardless of session variables. The famous back button contributes to the high numbers Google - and other engines - are getting!!!
To be honest, I'm not sure what 'regardless of session variables' means. I've mentioned more than once that I am not particularly technical (hey, I am a Customer Advocate, not an engineer! ) so I may be missing the point.

Still, my understanding is that standard browser behavior is to get the page from cache when clicking on the back button - so using the back button would typically not count as an additional impression. This is a browser-specific behavior, and it is not controlled by AdWords.

Finally, with all that said, I also think that Rational Beaver is on the money in post #8.

AWR

Last edited by AdWordsRep : 07-31-2006 at 10:16 PM. Reason: clarification (I hope!)
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Old 08-01-2006   #17
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thanks AWR for the clarifications. For some reasons all of the keywords I check have the same top 3 on each page...oh well.

I hate to try to pull it out of you Matt Cutts style, but can you please comment on whether or not this higher impression count could theoretically hurt on the CTR portion of the quality score, if searchers click through to many pages of results? Especially if for some reason, for example, you are bidding top three -worthy and listing on all pages and the particular search term has a tendency to get more results viewed?
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Old 08-01-2006   #18
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...can you please comment on whether or not this higher impression count could theoretically hurt on the CTR portion of the quality score, if searchers click through to many pages of results? Especially if for some reason, for example, you are bidding top three -worthy and listing on all pages and the particular search term has a tendency to get more results viewed?
As a preamble to answering this, I'd like to first say that in 4 years as an AdWords support person, I think this is the first time I've heard this subject come up for me. So I'm not exactly working with a big back-log of personal experience and research on this one.

That said, CTR is a part of Quality Score - and CTR is nothing but clicks as compared to impressions. So - could what we have been discussing theoretically hurt CTR? Sure. I'd have to say that, yes, theoretically, it could.

On the other hand the vast majority of the evidence I've seen and heard from advertisers over the years tells me that most advertisers find that CTR improves in the top spots. So if CTR is being damaged by the factors discussed, it is simultaneously being helped more by other factors.

I've heard about high CTRs up top most recently from our moderator, who wrote:
Quote:
I agree that the blue spots have a huge improvement on their CTR... the top 2 spots can garner 15-25% or more CTR with careful wording etc.
Beyond that, I think that Rational Beaver is quite correct in saying:
Quote:
The damage done by these 'extra impressions' is mitigated by the fact that your competition is also getting the 'extra impressions'...
In light of all of the above, I personally feel that advertisers need not be unduly concerned in this case.

AWR
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Old 08-02-2006   #19
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Thanks AWR! Hope to be able to meet you at the G Dance.

Quote:
On the other hand the vast majority of the evidence I've seen and heard from advertisers over the years tells me that most advertisers find that CTR improves in the top spots. So if CTR is being damaged by the factors discussed, it is simultaneously being helped more by other factors.
**LIGHTBULB** makes sense, coupled with the other argument that all impression counts in the top three are affected. Just wanted to make sure on this.

Last edited by Chris Boggs : 08-02-2006 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 08-02-2006   #20
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AWR - will you be at SES? Or at least at the Google Dance??? Would really like to have the face-to-face if the company allows that....
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