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Average Position Metric to Disappear from Google Ads

Average position has always been an important metric for advertisers to use in Google Ads (AdWords), but in recent months this has been demoted from the default report view, and Google has now announced that it will be completely removed in September this year. So why is this happening, and what are the implications?

The average position metric indicates to advertisers where in the ad auction their ad has appeared over a selected time period, and was one of the key performance indicators that appeared on most reports. It would also be a core driver for bid management to determine where the ad was shown and whether bids needed to be increased (or decreased). However, in the past few months the average position figure has disappeared from the default columns, and has also become harder to find in the Modify Columns area of the Google Ads account.

The recent announcement by Google of the ‘sunsetting’ of this metric in September is due to the complexity of the average position tracking, and what the figure actually meant. Average position indicated the position in the auction but not how the location of the ad was on the search results page. So now, Google is replacing this figure with some new metrics, which they hope will be more meaningful for advertisers and will give them a clearer view of real prominence on the page than average position does.

These new metrics are as follows:
* Impression (Top) % – this describes what % of your ads appeared at the top of the page of search results (usually between 1 and 4 ads being listed).
* Impression (Absolute Top) % – indicates the % of search impressions where the ad was appearing at the very top of the search results, in first position.
* Search (Top) Impression Share (IS) – this indicates how many times your ads appear at the top of the search results out of the possible opportunities, since Google doesn’t always show ads above the organic results.
* Search absolute top impression share – this is similar and indicates the % of times the ad appears at the very top of the page out of the possible times when ads are shown there.

These new metrics should give advertisers a better idea of their ad coverage for their keywords and how often they appear when Google shows ads at the top of the page. These are now more complex than the simple average position but should give advertisers a better understanding of their ad visibility and position when ads are shown at the top of the page.

These figures also reflect the move to automated bidding strategies, where Google’s system determines ad position based on the requirements of the advertiser. They will therefore reflect how Google’s system shows ads, and the advertiser then has to make the decision as to what changes should be made to improve impression share, if required, or leave it to Google’s system to work the ads to the best performance requirements (conversions, clicks or ad position).

If you’d like to know more about these new metrics and what they tell you about your Google Ads performance, please get in touch.