Sep 06 2019

Google Ads Average Position: Survival Guide

Posted by Peach Angeles , ,

In a previous post, we briefly talked about Google’s decision to phase out the average position—one of their oldest metrics that formed the foundation of most digital marketing strategies for almost the past two decades. 

The search engine will officially bid goodbye to the average position on the 30th of September (EDIT: We first reported that average position will be removed on the 29th of September). It means that you still have plenty of time to get used to the alternative metrics Google has provided—and you thought you’re left empty-handed? We don’t think so. 

Google seemed to have long prepared for the sunset of the average position by providing a suite of new alternative metrics nearly a year ahead of time. So, how would you survive in the event of such changes with them? Read more to find out.

The Alternatives to Average Position

In November 2018, Google introduced two new metrics for measuring auction performance and SERP Visibility: the Top and Absolute Top metrics.

1. Top Impression Rate shows you the percentage of your impressions that appear anywhere on top of the organic results. 

Rate = Top Impressions/Total Impressions

2. Absolute Top Impression Rate, on the other hand, is the percentage of your ads that appear on the very top of the SERP, above the organic results. 

Rate = Absolute Top Impressions/Total Impressions 

Google announces its phasing out the average position metric on Sept. 30. 2019.

To complement these metrics, Google also rolled out the search top and search absolute top metrics. Whereas the top impression rates are used to tell the location of your ads, the impression rates are metrics you can bid to improve your ad locations:

3. Top Impression Share is the rate at which you turned opportunities to appear at the top of the SERP into actual top impressions. 

Share = Top Impressions/Eligible Top Impressions

4. Absolute Top Impression Share is the rate at which you turned opportunities to appear at the topmost part of the SERP into actual absolute top impressions. 

Share = Absolute Top Impressions/Eligible Absolute Top Impressions 

Why is Google Removing Average Position Anyway?

There’s hardly any better explanation than this: Google thinks the metric isn’t useful anymore.

The signs of the impending retirement of average position have been popping up since last year—and two key indicators were the rolling out of the new ad position metrics in 2018 as well as the addition of click share reporting to Search campaigns in February. 

The announcement about the average position came at the foot of the news about the click share, a metric that was first available for Shopping campaigns since 2015. It’s the estimated share of all achievable clicks that you have received in an ad. 

What Happens Next?

In light of the removal of the average position, we should now transition to using the new metrics introduced last year. We should also be prepared for what the update entails. 

  • Along with the average position, its functions will also be disabled which are as follows: 
  1. Rules using average position 
  2. Custom columns using average position 
  3. Saved reports that filter on average position 
  4. Saved filters on average position 
  • The average position will be removed from any saved column sets, reports, and scorecards in dashboards. 

Say Goodbye to Average Position on September 30

Your next step seems pretty clear. Although the metric has provided you with valuable insights into your advertising strategies, you should by now, be ready for its looming removal from your Google ads account. 

In summary, here are some actionable tips you can walk away with: 

First, while still there, continue to take advantage of the average position. If you’ve found the metric useful in optimising your bids in the past, there’s no reason you move past it before September. While at it, it also isn’t too early to start familiarising yourself with the new metrics. It’s now also time to review your campaigns and its factors—reporting and bidding, to name a few—that rely heavily on average position before it’s gone for good. 

Google isn’t likely to backtrack and so shouldn’t you, too. Learn what the new metrics, top and absolute impressions mean to your account and reconfigure your reports to adapt to them. If you’re clueless on how to adapt to these changes, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! As a digital marketing agency in Singapore, we have been working on advertising strategies that make the most sense for our clients. We’re excited to what lies ahead of average position’s phasing out. 

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our SEM services in Singapore can help you. 

How do you think you’ll survive at the impending sunset of the average position? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment! 


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