Position Preference – Was it so Important?

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In the beginning of April, Google AdWords said “In early May, we’ll be retiring the position preference bidding feature in AdWords. If you’re using position preference, we recommend that you disable the feature in your campaigns prior to that date to ensure a smooth transition for your bids.”

With the Position Preference feature, you could select a specific position as a target. If you had determined that you achieve highest ROI with positions 3 through 4, for example, you could set your position preference to these positions. The system then tried to show your ad in positions 3 through 4 by increasing or lowering its bid.

Position Preference for me was a tool that Google had rolled out and that, according to Google, could be used to complement my optimization efforts. Due to its retirement, it was no longer available to me. But was this a bigger loss than just that? On second thoughts, I think it was.

While Enhanced CPC bidding and Conversion Optimizer take a lot of the tedious bid management and ROI calculations out of managing an AdWords campaign, using these tools may not always be the best path to take. Conversion Optimizer gives Google the liberty to spend the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a conversion. In this case, even if the conversion was achievable at a better CPA at a lower position, Google would try to compete for higher position. Enhanced CPC bidding, although more under your control, still allows Google to modify your bids as it deems fit.

While optimizing your bids, you should test how adjusting your bids and changes in your ad ranking affect your return-on-investment (ROI). Testing your ads at multiple average positions early on in your campaign’s lifetime, makes you the best judge of which position gets you maximum conversions at the best CPA and maximum ROI. Once this optimum average position has been determined with your efforts, the Position Preference feature could have been used to maintain your ads at those positions. This would help you obtain the maximum number of conversions at the most lucrative ROI. From this perspective I realised, Position Preference retirement = Big Loss!!!

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