For over 15 years, advertisers have been able to report on an average position metric to understand the order their ad appears in against other ads in the auction via Google Ads. However, in recent years, this position metric has become less useful as it was unclear where ads were located on the page, especially after Google removed right hand ads in 2016. Due to the increased competition a lot of industries face, it’s crucial that advertisers understand their ads’ prominence within the search engine results pages (SERPs). Since average position was never supposed to reflect where ads were shown in the SERPs, Google rolled out four new ad position metrics in November 2018: Impression (Absolute Top) %, Impression (Top) %, Search (Absolute Top) Impression Share, and Search (Top) Impression Share.
The four new ad position metrics
- Impression (Absolute Top) %: The percentage of ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results
- Impression (Top) %: The percentage of ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results
- Search (Absolute Top) Impression Share: The impressions that a brand has received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions that a brand was eligible to receive in the top location
- Search (Top) Impression Share: The impressions that a brad has received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions that a brand was eligible to receive in the top location
Average position is mostly used for reporting or bid strategies. Advertisers should review aspects of their campaign management that use or rely too heavily on the average position metric; it’s common for brand advertisers to use a position 1.0 bid strategy to try and gain full brand visibility for all brand searches. The new position metrics aren’t yet available in Search Ads 360, therefore we anticipate that Search Ads 360 will provide an update soon, and will also offer an alternative bidding strategy based on the new position metrics.
With the removal of average position, Google is making way for more beneficial metrics that offer greater clarity when analysing ad position. This means advertisers can ensure 100% brand visibility as they can now optimise their ads to be at the absolute top of the page.