Google Pay Per Click

Google Ads Removing Average Position: What Does that Mean?


A few weeks ago, Google announced that they plan to remove the average position metric from the Google Ads interface in September 2019. We dive into what impact the removal of this popular metric will have on managing your Google Ads campaign and evaluate alternative ways of monitoring the performance of your PPC campaign.

What is Average Position?

If you are running PPC search ads in Google Ads, the position that your search appears in is determined by an auction process. Your Ad Rank is calculated based on your bid level and Quality Score and then compared that of the other bidders. The bidder with the highest Ad Rank appears in position 1, at the top of the search engine results page, and so on down through the available paid search positions on the page. Knowing your ad position has always been a useful guide to visibility – a high average ad position means your ad appears towards the bottom of the page and has less chance of being seen.

Why is Google taking Average Position away?

With the advent of mobile and the continuous development of the format of the Google search engine results page, the average position metric can sometimes be misleading. For example, many mobile searches will only display 2 paid search results before the organic results. A desktop search may display four. In this case, an average position of 3 may be satisfactory for desktop, but not so for mobile. Google has therefore developed a more informative metric that can be used to assess the visibility of an ad across multiple page formats.

What Google Ads metrics are replacing Average Position?

  1. Impr. (Abs. Top) %
    The percent of your search ad impressions that are shown in first place at the very top of the page, above the organic search results.
  2. Impr. (Top)
    The percent of your search ad impressions that are shown in any of the positions at the top of the page, above the organic search results.
  3. Search abs. top IS
    The number of impressions your ads received in the absolute top location (the very first ad on the page, above the organic search results) divided by the estimated total number of eligible impressions for the top ads location.
  4. Search top IS
    The impressions you’ve received any of the positions at the top of the page (i.e. anywhere above the organic search results) divided by the estimated total number of eligible impressions for the those locations.

Google Average Position

What do these new metrics mean going forward?

Average position is a metric that has been around forever and we are all familiar with its operation. However, these new metrics from Google provide more valuable insight into campaign performance than average position ever could. By using these new metrics it is possible to quickly optimize campaigns and make adjustments to bidding strategies to improve visibility of your ads and keywords where needed. Where average position could blur the performance of individual ads or keywords, top & absolute top impression shares provide immediate clarity of performance. They provide what we all need to effectively manage a PPC campaign; clear and actionable data.


Posted In - Digital Marketing, Pay-Per-Click