Google AdWords can now segment performance based on whether your ad was shown in a top position or a side (right-hand) position on a search results page. This provides SEM managers insight into the value of ads being at a certain position and can help you determine if there's an opportunity to improve placement. This segmentation also allows you to calculate what percent of time your ads appear at the top or side of the page.
Image source: ‘Top vs. Side’ Ad Performance Segmentation
This new reporting capability in AdWords is important. It’s well known that being in a top position drives a higher CTR than being on the side. CTR is directly proportional to sales, so being in the top position will translate directly to increased revenue. CTR is also directionally proportional to cost. Of course, CVR and AOV should stay constant by position.
To be positioned at the top, you’ll need a high Quality Score, high CPC, and high CTR. Since Google doesn’t want to annoy searchers with ads if a particular query is more apt for organic search results than paid search results, you cannot control whether an ad is shown at the top or side of a page. But insight into placement is a good step forward.
For more information, read Google’s article on the Inside AdWords blog.