Google AdWords is taking an ax to its average position metric – how will it be replaced and how could this affect your campaigns?
On Sept. 30, 2019, Google will be removing the average position metrics from Google Ads.
Google has introduced two new metrics to replace average position: search top impression rate and search absolute top impression rate. Let’s breakdown the differences in all of these metrics.
This has always been a number with a decimal and not a percentage. It gives you an average of what position your ad was in compared to other advertisers. The lower the number, the more advertisers you were ahead of.
Search Top Impression Rate
This is a percentage number and this tells you how often your ad appeared above the organic results. The higher the percentage, the more your ad was shown above the organic links.
Search Absolute Top Impression Rate
This is also a percentage number, but this shows you the percentage of time your ad was in the No. 1 spot.
Why did Google make this change?
There is a lot of speculation around the “why.” Google has made quite a few changes to the search results page since Google Adwords was first introduced.
One of the main issues with average position is that with some of the changes, Google does not always show ads above the organic results. In fact, many times, the ads are only at the bottom of the search results page, but advertisers would still see an average position of 1.0 if they were the first ad. This became a misleading metric. On the flip side, with these new metrics, Google is probably betting on users increasing bids in an attempt to move ads to the top of the page.
If ads only show at the bottom of the search results page, you would see a 0% for both of the new metrics, but potentially a 1.0 for average position. This means that no ads were shown at the top, but you only know this because right now we can see the average position metric.
Once the average position metric is removed, seeing the 0% will cause more aggressive bidding if your agency is not double-checking where the ads were shown.
Google is a business, after all, so you can’t blame them for going in this direction. While I personally wish average position was kept around in addition to the new metrics, this doesn’t seem like it will be the case for much longer.
Remember, the Google Ad Preview tool is a great tool to see how your ads look, where they are, and who you are up against. As metrics come and go, this may become an even more important tool to utilize!