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Farewell to Google Ads Average Position & Why It’s Ok

Antonella Saravia

5 years ago



The average position metric is being removed from Google Ads starting the week of September 30, 2019. This metric was helpful to Google advertisers as it served as a connection to the Search Results page; the number was meant to indicate an average position for their ads on a page. 

In an attempt to continue to support advertisers through machine learning, this move is a departure from manual bidding. The multiple options that Google Ads offers to advertisers are all machine-learning bids that are designed to deliver better results than the manual bidding options currently offered.  

As a result of this change, the following features will be disabled after September 30:

  • Rules using average position
  • Custom columns using average position
  • Saved reports that filter on average position
  • Saved filters with the average position

The average position metric will no longer be available for the following: 

  • Saved column sets
  • Saved reports that use the average position column, but don’t filter on it
  • Scorecards that use average position in dashboards

To compensate for this upcoming change, Google Adwords rolled out “Impression (Absolute Top) %” and “Impression (Top) %,” which describe what percent of your ads appear at the top of the page and absolute top of the page. These new metrics give you a much clearer view of your prominence on the page than average position does. Advertisers are recommended to add two Search metrics to their Google Ads campaigns that will help reflect the actual placements of ads on the Search Results page:

  • Search top impression rate: the percent of ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results. Search top impression rate = Impressions on top/Impressions
  • Search absolute top impression rate: the percent of ad impressions show the very first ad above the organic search results. Search absolute top impression rate = Impressions on the absolute top/Impressions.

Illustration of Google new metrics: Top and Absolute Top

Unlike average position, these metrics don’t reflect the order of your ads compared to other ads, but the actual location of your ads on the SERPs. 

Though many advertisers aren’t happy about this change, many will soon understand that the average position doesn’t tell the whole story on their Search Ads. The term referred to the order of paid search results, not the location; this mixup caused a great deal of confusion. The new options will serve advertisers with more accurate information on their placements. 

Reach out to your Digital Marketing Strategist to see how this will impact your campaign’s performance and how we’re one step ahead of the game.


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