Last week, Google announced the launch of its new segmentation feature that now allows AdWords advertisers to see when their ads have appeared above the organic search results, ie.’Top’ or to the right hand side of the results, ie. ‘side’.

According to Google, this new feature came about as a result of a post written be their Chief Economist, Hal Varian, which confirmed that there is a large difference in ad performance when ads appear on the ‘top’ of the results or to the ‘side’.

Varian stated: “This distinction is important, since, on average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side.”

Considering this ‘important distinction’ made by Varian Google is now allowing its advertiser to segment when their ads have been shown on the ‘top’ or ‘side’ so that they can distinguish whether or not the positioning of their ads on the page does dramatically affect their click through and conversion rates.

In order to see your ‘top vs. side’ results data log in to AdWords and from either the Campaign, Ad Group, Ads or Keyword tab, click the ‘Segment’ button above the data table and select ‘top vs. side’ from the drop down.

The results should then appear below each row, segmented by top and side separately for both the Google search and search partners. You can also see when your ad did not appear at the top or side, labelled ‘other’ and your impressions, clicks etc. for the Display Network, if you have opted to show your ads on the Display Network too.

This is a really useful addition to AdWords as it is a lot more useful than simply looking at the average position of your ads.

The Average position metric is obviously just an average across whichever time scale you are analysing and if your average position is around 3 or 4 it is interesting to see how much difference it makes when your ads are on the ‘top’ of the page or to the ‘side’.

However, the cynic may argue that  it is another way for Google to encourage its advertisers to increase their keyword bids as if they see that their click through rate is a lot better when in one of the top spots it is likely to result in a bidding war for those positions.