Whatever business you’re in, it’s always easy to overestimate the extent of your customers’ knowledge. It’s usually best to assume nothing, and quickly move up through the gears if they turn out to know as much as you do. I still have to remind myself to do this, such as the other day when we were talking to a marketing manager about starting a Google AdWords campaign. We were asked the question: “…and will this help us to rank higher in the normal Google results?” and I realised I’d not covered this basic point. The answer is no (as you’d expect), and there’s no evidence that it has ever had any impact. It’s a reasonable question to ask though, and it leads me to a related issue, which is the effect of being top of the Google search results and having an AdWords advertisement above that. According to a fairly old (2007) study, it’s an awesome combination for branding. Anyone being confronted with this combination is almost certainly going to think that you dominate the market, so don’t ever think it’s a waste.
For those of you who think that getting to the top of the natural Google listings is everything, never forget that any of your competitors can buy the space above your top result any time they wish. Putting your own ad there is a very sensible – and affordable – defensive move.