Google Ads Update - Farewell Average Position!

Google Ads Update - Farewell Average Position!

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Written by: James Gunson

Google Ads is an ever-evolving space with features being introduced and retired all the time.  One recent change is particularly significant – the sun setting of the Average Position metric.

Let’s take a closer look at this change and what you need to know.

What’s Changing?


As of 30th September 2019, Average Position will no longer be available as a metric in Google Ads. This means you’ll no longer see it as a column when you log into your account:

Average Position Column

 

It has been effectively replaced by a handful of new metrics that Google rolled out at the end of last year – including:

  • (Absolute Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • (Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.

Absolute Top Impression Rate & Top Impression Rate - Google ADs

Why Has Google Made This Change?


Essentially, Google no longer views this is a very useful metric.  According to the 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”.

This change also seems to fit with Google’s current trend of trying to move advertisers away from manual bid management and towards automation – as we’ve seen with their recent streamlining of Smart Bidding Strategies, the new “Maximise Conversion Value” bid strategy, and the introduction of Responsive Search and Responsive Display Ads.

Is This A Good Thing?


While any disruption is challenging, we think this change is a positive one.  Average Position has always been a misleading and difficult metric to work with.  Given that the number of ads that appear above the organic results differs depending on the type of query and other factors, Average Position never actually told you where your ads appeared on the page. 

Moreover, focusing on this metric – e.g. desperately trying to get your ad position up from 2.5 to 2 – has never actually guaranteed a higher click-through rate, particularly since the introduction of so many different Ad Extensions that can draw the eye from lower ad positions. 

Overall, we think the new Top Impression Rate and Absolute Top Impression Rate metrics will give advertisers a clearer overall picture of how and where their ads are appearing in the search results. 

Other Things To Watch Out For


Not only will Average Position disappear from the Google Ads interface, you’ll also need to think about how it may affect any of the following things that use that metric:

  1. Scripts
  2. Rules
  3. Reports within Google Ads
  4. Reports in third party solutions like Google Data Studio
  5. Third party bid management tools


If you have a question about any of the above, or just want a fresh pair of eyes on your Google Ads account, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

 

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About James Gunson

James advises NZ businesses on their digital marketing strategy, and handles everything from Google and Facebook Ads campaigns to Analytics implementation and SEO. His focus is on fine-tuning online campaigns for better ROI and creating long-term success for our clients.