Google says goodbye to ‘Average Position’ – What next?

It was announced earlier this year, that the Average Position metric will be removed from Google Ads on the week starting September 30th and users will no longer be able to use or see the metric.

If the news has thrown your PPC team into a flurry of panic, fear not – Google is introducing new metrics to replace Average position and we’ve got the answers to your most pressing questions.

Why did Average Position have to go?

The clincher about Average Position is that it is a mean calculation and doesn’t take real-time auction changes into account. This means that you may have been getting an inaccurate representation of your ads position.

Its results let advertisers know where their ads were in comparison to other ads, rather than on SERPs. So, if your ad was coming in at number 2, it didn’t necessarily mean that this was your accurate position.

Ultimately, the new metrics focus aim to give a more accurate view of your ads position in auctions in comparison to average position.

What other features will I lose?

While the main reason for the change revolves around giving the advertiser more control about their journey to the top of the SERPs, there are some more central features that will be lost due to the metric being removed:

  • Rules and custom columns using average position
  • Saved reports and filters with average position
  • Scorecards that use average position in dashboards

What can I do instead?

It’s time to adopt the new prominence metrics introduced by Google to replace Average Position. In these metrics, ‘top’ refers to ads which rank above the organic results and ‘absolute top’ refers to the number 1 ad on SERPs. Let’s take a closer look at them:

google ads average position diagram showing the difference between 'top' and 'absolute top'

Top Impression Rate

This is the percentage of ads in any of the positions above the organic results.

Absolute Top Impression Rate

Similar to the top impression rate, this is the percentage of ads in the number 1 spot on SERPs.

Search Top Impression Rate

This metric measures how frequently your ad was above the organic results compared to the estimate number of impressions you were eligible to get. 

Use this as a target to set your bid, if you are looking to increase the percentage of your ads that appear in a position above organic results.

Search Absolute Top Impression Rate

This shows the number of impressions your ad received as the top result, compared to the estimate number of impressions you were eligible to get. Again, use this as a target to set your bid.

Ultimately, it seems that the new metrics are going to be even more helpful than average position, by providing advertisers with a much better understanding of their accurate rankings.

We recommend that to make the most of the new metrics, it is important to start mastering them now. By gaining a basic understanding of each of the metrics, it will be easier to incorporate them into your PPC strategy. For more information or advice on the changes to Google Ads, get in touch with the Colewood team today.

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