Yesterday, Felicia wrote about a game-changing announcement from Google about the reintroduction of keywords in Display Network campaigns. And today brings another curveball from Google: “Top vs. side” report segmentation.

Like Roy Halladay, this curveball sounds like it has the potential to be one of the most effective changes to AdWords in awhile. “Top vs. side” ad performance segmentation lets you compare an ad’s performance above and to the side of search results.

Screenshot of Google search resultsThis information will go along way in better understanding your ads’ performance on Google, and will help you better optimize your campaigns based on their best performing spots. This new feature comes on the heels of a post in April from Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian, about understanding the Average Position metric in AdWords.

As Hal points out, average position was easy to misinterpret since ads can appear at the top or side of search results. There’s a significant difference in an ad that shows in the first position at the top of the page and the first position on the side of the page. The ad at the top of the page is most likely to receive more clicks. But, with this performance segmentation you will no longer have to guess what your average position means and monitoring your ad’s specific position will help you manage your bids more efficiently.

You can view this data on the Campaigns, Ad groups or Keywords tabs in your AdWords account. If you’re on one of these tabs, expand the segment menu in the gray bar above your report data and select “Top vs. Side.” You will see the data displayed for each line item on your report, as illustrated below:

I think the accessibility of this data will be the catalyst of many more tool developments from Google, like maybe a top page bid estimate, similar to their current first page bid estimate. But regardless of what future enhancements Google may or may not roll out in the future, I think this new data segmentation will be very helpful in understanding ad performance as it is directly related to specific ad position.

What do you think about this new data segmentation? Are you surprised by the information this has shed about your ad performance? Do you find this addition helpful in monitoring ads and making adjustments to your campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates from PPC Hero!