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What to Expect from Average Position, The Performance Metric by Google Ads

November 13, 2019 // By: Rachel Steinberg

Akin to growing up with your childhood best friend, Google Ads and the average position were like two peas in a pod since the invention of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

As time goes by, though, and you and your friend grow apart, there may come a time to cut the cord. So is the case with Google, who is getting rid of the average position come September 2019.While this does shake things up in the PPC world, you may be wondering how it’ll affect your management of ads moving forward. Keep reading to learn all about the average position, why it’s going away, and what you can do with the new “friends” moving into town.

What Is the Average Position?

Whenever you participate in a Google Ads auction, you get an Ad Rank based on your bid and Quality Score. This rank would then determine where your ad lands in paid search results, otherwise known as its position. This is best illustrated here:

Google Ads Auction

Because of these metrics, marketers were always expected to have:

  • Quality ads
  • Post-click landing pages
  • Keywords that maintained a decent average position for campaigns

Keep in mind, though, that when we refer to the position, we’re talking about the order of the paid search results and not the location. For instance, you may achieve the top ad position in an auction; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean your ad will show up at the top of a search engine results page (SERP).

Why Is It Disappearing?

Because the average position doesn’t tell you the whole story of where your search ads are showing, Google doesn’t think it’s an especially useful metric anymore.

That’s why it’s doing away with this feature in the fall. Instead, Google Ads has decided to roll out four new metrics for auction performance and SERP visibility:

  • Top Impression Rate: This tells you the percentage of your total impressions that are coming from the top of SERP, above organic results.
  • Absolute Top Impression Rate: This gives you the percentage of the total impressions that are coming from the very top of a SERP.
  • Top Impression Share: This is the rate at which you’re turning opportunities to appear at the top of a SERP into actual impressions.
  • Absolute Top Impression Share: This is exactly like the Top Impression Share, except it’s happening at the very top of the SERP, above organic results.
new metrics

In addition to these new metrics, you’ll have a new feature arriving on the scene: click share. This tells you how many clicks your ads received out of the total number of times Google estimated your ads could have been clicked.

What Does This Mean for Marketers?

Digital marketing may be changing at a constant rate, but the average position metric has been around since paid search ads began.

Yet according to Google Ads product manager, Pallavi Naresh, “These new metrics give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does.”

Overall, the metrics above can serve dual purposes: Metrics on the location of your ads and ones that you can bid on to improve the location of your ads.

When you have a clear idea of your distinction on search engine results pages, you can effectively make informed bidding decisions.

How to Take Advantage of This Change

With the average position being taken out of the performance metric equation, you’ll need to change the way you evaluate an ad’s position in a SERP.

There are several ways you can go about doing this, including:

Mastering the Metrics Now

Rather than waiting until the average position is gone, you can start playing around with different metrics now. See what performs better on different devices or how you can use the new metrics in your campaigns in general.

Focusing on Your Audience

By removing average position, a searcher’s experience can be greatly enhanced. You can use that to your advantage by matching your ads to search intent.

Take a look at your campaigns and see what searchers are really trying to find. The more you know about your audience and their behaviors, the easier it can be to make informed decisions about your paid ad tactics.

Adjusting to a Future Without Average Position

Anyone in the PPC world knows that the way you build and analyze ad campaigns changes constantly. The removal of the average position just gives you an opportunity to benefit more from search intent and not just your Quality Score.

To get the most out of your advertising campaigns, let the experts at Stream Companies help. Since we know the ins and outs of this pay-per-click advertising, we can help you adapt to the new performance metrics in no time.

Topics: google ads, PPC, average position