How the 3rd or 4th Google Ad Can Be Better than the First

Great Leap Studios runs Adwords campaigns for several clients. Some of these clients have very limited budgets and a very targeted audience. Often most potential clients looking for Adwords help expect, or want, to be the number one ad to show up in search.

But if you’re a targeted client on a limited budget, number one may not actually be where you want to be. You may benefit more from being advertisement number 3, 4, or 5.

Why First Isn’t Always the Best

One of the only reasons to be first in Google Adwords is because you want to generate a lot of clicks. But when you have a limited budget, you don’t have that many clicks before that budget is used up. After 5 to 10 clicks, your budget is gone for the day, which means that showing up first in Google Ads doesn’t really matter – it simply means you’re likely to use up your budget faster.

Now, in general, clicks are clicks – whether you get them right away because you’re first in Google Ads, or you get them later in the day because you show up lower on the page, it may seem as though it doesn’t matter. But the truth is that it can, and it often does:

  • The First Ads Are More Expensive – Let’s start with the obvious. When you’re first in Google Ads, you’re spending more per click. That means fewer clicks total. If you were able to get 10 clicks when your ad was 4th on the page, chances are you’ll only get 3 to 5 clicks when you show up first. If you want more leads, you’d benefit from being lower in search.
  • The First Ads Are Clicked More Haphazardly – Yet there is another, forgotten reason that showing up first isn’t always ideal. People are more likely to click the first ad on a whim, without necessarily seeing if it’s something they’re interested in. I know that when I’m using Google, sometimes I click the first Google ad without even realizing it’s an ad. Google’s placements can be very subtle. Then I see that it’s not what I wanted and I immediately click out. But when the ad shows up 4th or 5th, anyone that clicks on it is doing so because they’ve read it and they want to see what it is. Your clicks are not only cheaper: with a specific, well written ad, they are going to be more targeted to your audience.

If your keywords are searched for often enough that you are essentially guaranteed to use up your budget, then placing your ad lower on the page has the potential to give you a lower cost per click, and hits from those that may, or should, be more interested in what you’re offering. While there may be some trial and error involved, a well written ad that is only likely to get clicks from those that really want what you offer may be your best option.


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

Skip to content