The Subtle Science of Thinking

Is it honestly the case that nobody thinks before speaking anymore? In this article, ‘The Subtle Science Of Bidding Part 2: Brand Keyword Management‘, the author, Dr. Siddharth Shah, is talking about how often an ad gets shown in the top position (aka, position 1) on a search engine results page, and how often it gets shown in other positions. He says:

“Most people don’t realize that there is a big difference between position 1.0 and any other position. For instance, consider average position 1.05. At this position, you are still not seeing position one 5% of the time.”

This math is so simple a third-grader could have done it properly. What Dr. Shah is saying is that if your ad is shown 95 times in position 1 and 5 times in position 2, then your average position is 1.05. So, your ad is not seeing position one 5% of the time.

However, consider the case where your ad was shown 99 times in position one and just one time in position 6. Your average position will be (0.99 x 1 + 0.01 x 6) = 1.05.

So, if you see that your average position is 1.05, you cannot say that you are “not seeing position one 5% of the time”. You could be in position one 99% of the time, or more.


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