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Google Removes “Average Position” Metric from Google Ads: What Does it Mean?

Paid search campaigns can be a bit overwhelming, especially for small business owners who wear many different hats each day. Google Ads, the most popular platform on which to run paid search ads, bombards users with a cascade of metrics and numbers to sift through in order to determine whether or not their campaign was a success. Luckily, that list of metrics got a little smaller earlier this year.

As of September 30, Google has completely removed average position from the Google Ads platform. Instead, they have informed marketers to instead look to two other existing metrics: top impression rate and absolute top impression rate.

Average Position: A Popular-Yet-Flawed Tool of the Past

Average position has long been a popular metric among digital marketers. Simply put, it tells you where your ad appears, on average, on a Google search engine results page (SERP).

For example, an average position of 1.5 means that your ad is usually seen as either the first or second result on a SERP. Makes sense, right? It’s easy to understand and explain, and that’s why some marketers liked it; however, there was also one big issue with average position. The number of ads that appear on a SERP can vary. Sometimes there are two ads, other times four, and occasionally none at all. If your business had an average position of 3.5, would you know if your ad was usually on the first page or the second page? You would not, and that’s a problem.

When you do a Google search, how often are going to page two of the results? If you’re like most people, the answer is almost never. After all, the reason those results aren’t on that first page is because the search engine didn’t find them relevant enough. You want your business to be relevant. You want to be on that first page. That is why Google is giving average position the boot.

New Metrics to be Aware of

Those two new metrics – top impression rate and absolute top impression rate – take the limitations of their predecessor into consideration. Instead of giving you an average of where your ad appears in all searches, they tell you how often your ad appears in a given area of a SERP.

Top impression rate describes how often your ad appears above the organic results on the first Google SERP. That could mean it is in the first position or possibly the fourth position as long as it is above any organic results.

Absolute top impression rate describes how often your ad appears at the very top of search results on the first Google SERP. There is no guessing here. This only includes the times your ad was the very first result.

Looking at these two metrics and comparing campaign performance is much more beneficial than looking at just average position. You may discover that getting to that first position isn’t worth it and therefore find value in placing lower while remaining above the organic results. Or perhaps you find the exact opposite to be true. Every campaign is different. Top impression share and absolute top impression share allow advertisers to take a more nuanced view of their campaigns in order to evaluate performance.

Are you interested in running a paid search campaign, but aren’t sure where to start? Allow our team to do the heavy lifting. Call Compulse Integrated Marketing today at 844-821-2154 to learn more about how we can help!