Google announced last month that by early May you will no longer have the option/preference of bidding for a particular position in AdWords. Without position preference enabled, your default AdWords position is determined by your Quality Score and maximum keyword bid.
In the official Google AdWords blog, no specific reason was given for the decision to retire position preference. It was stated in the AdWords Help Centre that not many people used this feature, and for those that were using it, there were other viable options for them should it be discontinued. So while the exact reasoning was unclear, if you have been making use of this feature, you can rest assured that there are alternatives available.
How could it affect you?
In April we saw ad position preference option being removed from preferences. However if you were running this preference it was still enabled until early May. From May onward, campaigns still running on preference ad positions will be disabled.
When position preference is disabled, the max CPC bids for those campaigns will be set to the bids that position preference used most recently. This will ensure the least disruption to your traffic/position.
What should you do?
Not too much. Before you disable position preference, Google recommends you export your manual bids (by downloading a keyword report) to back up any bids you set before you turned on position preference. Google also recommends that you may need to pay closer attention to bidding on keywords and your Quality Score to help control certain positions you ideally want to target.
What are my alternatives to position preference?
There are ‘automated rules’ in the AdWords interface where you can still target average positions without the position preference. Automated rules allow you to make changes to a big, budget, or status at a pre-set time. So if you are wanting a certain ad preference to remain in the top 4 positions, you can opt to ‘raise bid by 20% when the average ad position is worse than 4. It is also a good idea to get familiar with ‘understanding the average position metric’ used by Google AdWords, to help you better optimise your campaign.
Even if you are using position preference, then chances are, these updates will not affect you too greatly. As mentioned there are still other alternatives to help influence your ad position. If you would still like more information about this update, you can review the Google AdWords Blog Spot and Google AdWords Help Centre, or speak to one of the PPC Managers at E-Web Marketing for more information.