Updated January 7, 2023Reading Time: 3 minutes
Google Ads‘ Average Position metric is going away on September 29th. The average position metric will be replaced by two new metrics:
- Impressions. (Top)%.
- Impressions. (Absolute Top)%
So any rules, scripts, reports, filters, scorecards in dashboards, or custom columns that include the ‘average position’ metric will be affected and should be updated accordingly. Because come the end of September, they’re all going to stop working!
A knock-on effect of this change is that advertisers will need to change how they bid for ad prominence on the search results page. The removal of this metric is effectively forcing advertisers to rely on Google’s algorithm for deciding bids, rather than their own analysis of the average position metric.
With all the new features Google is testing on the search results page (SERP), we think the updated metrics make sense. We think they give a better understanding of your ads’ prominence, on the page when compared to the old average position metric. For example, you may think an average position of 2.0 is good, but an ad showing on position 2 could still be at the bottom of the SERP if the algorithm decides to show only one ad above the organic search results. So seeing a position 2.0 doesn’t tell you much about where the ad is actually showing on the SERP. It’s just the position in relation to other ads.The new metric however will show if your ads are showing at the top of the page (above the fold), or at the absolute top of the page, which is much clearer.
While we feel that the two new metrics logically make sense, we are concerned that now bigger brands, with larger digital marketing budgets, are going to overpower these metrics. By focusing their budget on higher impressions (either at the top, or absolute top). In the past, being able to focus on a specific position allowed you to focus your ads on position two, effectively not bidding for first position. Which allowed brands with lower budgets to compete for the front page.
But, with the new metrics smaller brands may lose some impression share, and will have to rely more heavily on Google’s recommended “first page” and “top of page” bids. Which, when you’re bidding in a blind auction, might make some advertisers feel uneasy.
How Do You Get Ready?
So the change is coming, but what do you need to do?
- Firstly, as mentioned above, if you’re running any reports, or automated rules using this metric, be ready to update them come September 29th.
- Next, it’s important for all Google Ads customers to understand the new metrics and learn how to use them for measuring ad prominence on the search results page.
- We also think that all Google Ads users and advertisers should understand and take advantage of the new Target Impression Share Smart Bidding strategy which optimizes bids based on the two new metrics.
Saying Goodbye to Google Ads Average Position
The digital marketing world never stops moving. What do you think about the latest changes to Google Ads? Are you worried that Google are replacing tried-and tested metrics with AI-controlled options?