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It’s time to say goodbye to Avg. Position; it’s been a part of Google Ads (formally Google AdWords) from the start, but now it’s no more, starting from September 30th 2019.

bye goodbye jake jake gyllenhaal leaving GIF

Why is Google Removing Average Position?

In the announcement post, Google Ads Product Manager Pallavi Naresh gave the following reason for this decision:

“These metrics reflect the actual placement of your ad on the page, rather than the position of your ad compared to others.” 

The main reason is that Google doesn’t think it’s a useful metric anymore – and the vast majority of PPC professionals agree. In reality, Average Position has always been misunderstood by those using Google Ads.

Average Position: The Misunderstood Metric

Contrary to what a lot of Google Ads user believe, Average Position has always referred to where your ads appear in the order of the paid search results, not the location of your adThis may sound like semantics, but it’s actually a huge distinction and is one reason why Google Ads users often misunderstood Average Position as a metric to measure the success of a campaign.

What this means in practice is that even if you achieve an Average Position of 1 in an ad auction, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your ad will show at the top of the search results page (SERPs). It simply means it will be the highest placed ad – even though that could theoretically mean it shows at the bottom of SERPs, underneath a page of organic results.

Average Position Google AdsIn the example above both Bloom and Wild and Hello Fresh are the top placed ads in their respective ad auctions. In both cases, they are at position 1 except Bloom and Wild appear at the very tops of SERPs while HelloFresh appears at the bottom. So really, Avg. Position doesn’t tell you the whole story in terms of where your ads are showing.

Google Ads New Position Metrics

All of this means you will have to change the way you evaluate an ad’s position in the SERPs.

When Google Ads announced it was being removed, the platform also said it would be replaced with new metrics. The new metrics have been labelled top and absolute top metrics, and ads will be measured by their auction performance alongside their SERP visibility

The new metrics tell you how often your ad is at the top of a page, and what share of all the top of page impressions they’re getting. Here’s a breakdown of the new metrics.

Absolute Top Metrics Google Ads

Top Impression Rate

This is the % of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results

Top Impressions / Total Impressions

Absolute Top Impression Rate

This is the % of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.

Absolute Top Impressions / Total Impressions

Top Impression Share

This is the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Top Impression Share = Top Impressions / Eligible Top Impressions

Absolute Top Impression Share

This is the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

Absolute Top Impression Share = Absolute top impressions / Eligible Absolute Top Impressions

What Should You Do Now?

As a result of the Average Position metric being removed, the following features will also be disabled:

  • Rules using Average Position
  • Custom columns using Average Position
  • Saved reports that filter on Average Position
  • Saved filters with Average Position

This means that you need to start amending any rules, scripts, saved filters & reports that are using Avg. Position.  If you use Data Studio, it’s time to remove Avg. Position from all tables and widgets and replace these the new metrics listed above.