Has removing ‘average position’ on Google affected anything?

Digital

It has now been over a month since we said goodbye to one of the original search metrics in Google Ads - average position.

Written By

Thomas Coughlan

Posted On

06 Nov 2019

What exactly was the average position metric? In a Google Ads auction, Ad Rank determines the position of an ad based on bid and quality score. However, ad position refers to the order of the paid search results instead of where the ad is located. This means that having a number one position doesn’t mean the ad is at the top of the results. Also, Google Ads has changed over time. They removed the right column with ads and shopping ads took a more prominent position in the paid search results. These changes have meant the average position of an ad became less clear.

What’s replacing the average position metric?

Google has brought out new metrics to replace the outgoing average position which Google Ads Product Manager, Pallavi Naresh, has said it will “give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does”. These metrics include:

  • Top Impression Rate – the percentage of your total impressions that are shown above organic results.
  • Absolute Top Impression Rate –  the percentage of your total impressions that are shown as the first ad.
  • Top Impression Share – the percentage of the impressions you received at the top compared to the total impressions eligible.
  • Absolute Top Impression Share – the percentage of impressions you received as the first ad compared to the total impressions eligible.

These new metrics offer marketers a more accurate sense of where ads appear in the search results.

What has been affected?

With the metric no longer available, any rules, custom conversions and reports that used the metric have also been disabled. To replace them, you should use the top impression rate and absolute top impression rate metrics as discussed earlier. Many marketers used the metric to adjust their manual bidding strategies. Removing it is another way Google is trying to focus more on automated bidding strategies.

In most cases, the removal of the metric shouldn’t have too much of an impact as the newly introduced metrics provide marketers with a more accurate reading of where the ads are placed. They also make it easier for marketers to target the top positions.

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