Google has introduced a number of new metrics in Google Ads which can be added and viewed in the data columns for ads to help advertisers understand where their ads appear on the search results page. This allows for greater transparency of rankings and search results visibility, based on the way Google decides to present the ads for a search term.
The usual metric that is viewed for ads is ‘average position’, although contrary to common perception, average position does not indicate where the ad appears on the page. Instead, average position reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the ad auction, so that an ad position of “1” means that your ad shows ahead of all other ads, but it doesn’t mean the ad was at the very top of the page. Sometimes Google will decide to show no ads above the organic search results – particularly for terms deemed to be more ‘informational’ than commercial – so the ad with a position of “1” will then appear at the bottom of the page of results.
Therefore the new metrics that have been introduced will provide clearer information on whether your ad shows more (or less) often at the very top of the results, which can help you diagnose significant changes in clickthrough rate. Also, by knowing what percentage of eligible top impressions you are already capturing helps you determine if you should do more to increase your bids and quality score.
The following new metrics will therefore be appearing soon in the Google Ads interface and they will provide clearer insights on where ads are appearing on the search results page:
- Impr. (Absolute Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
- Impr. (Top) % – the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
- Search (Absolute Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
- Search (Top) IS – the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
The first two metrics, “Impression (Absolute Top) %” and “Impression (Top) %” are specific indicators of page location, so that you can use these metrics to determine when and where your advert impressions are showing above the organic search results.
The last two metrics, “Search absolute top impression share” and “Search (Top) IS” will show your share of eligible top impressions. They are the best indicators of the available opportunity to show your ads in more prominent positions, although Google’s system may not show ads at the top of the results, regardless of bid level. However, Google say that if your goal is to bid on page location, you should use these metrics and they are also working on incorporating these metrics into automated bidding options in Google Ads.
With the introduction of these new metrics, if you are using average position to understand the location of your ads on the page, it’s better to use Impression (Absolute Top) % and Impression (Top) %. However, if you are using average position to bid to a page location, it’s better to use Search (Abs Top) IS and Search (Top) IS.
If you’d like more information about these new metrics and what they mean for your Google Ads campaign management, please get in touch.