Where has Average Position Gone?

You may have seen a small change in Google Ads in the last month. Average Position, a staple of client reports has gone. Vanishing like magician’s assistant or the last soft centre in a box of chocolates, many Google Ads professionals have lamented the loss of this key metric. But are they right to do so? What exactly was Average Position trying to show?

So what happened to average position?

It used to be, three or four years ago, the Average Position was a simple way of telling the advertiser where their advert was likely to appear. Average Position is 3? That’s where you expect to see your advert, third on the page of search results.

Times have changed. Now, there is no such thing as ‘the page of search results.’ That SERP changes depending on who you are, where you are, which device you are viewing it on and how you have phrased your search. And times will continue to change, those pages will never stop updating, improving for us in some ways, presenting new challenges in others. So what has replaced Average Position? How can you get the answer to the question ‘Where do my Ads appear?’

When people ask that, they are asking one of two questions. They either want to know if their advert is above the competition’s adverts or they want to know how often their ads are being shown. When it comes to competitive metrics like this Google allows you to get reports on three levels. The first is your Impressions, the old metric that should be in every report, however, when reporting this at an account level, you need to be aware that Shopping and Display campaigns should have a much higher baseline for impressions. More useful can be the ‘Top’ Impressions Share, which tells you how many times your advert was seen above organic results. Cleverly, this statistic doesn’t tell you if there were two ads or twenty ads before the organic results were shown, but it reassures you that your budget has been spent to at least put your advert before your competitor’s organic landing page. Finally, Google will also let you see how many times your advert was ‘Abs. Top’ or Absolute Top of the listings, above other adverts and above the organics.

Of course, all these metrics need context and have a variable value depending on the type of campaign you are running, but they more than replace the old Average Position metric in the everchanging world of Search Engine Results and Pay-Per-Click Advertising.

For more advice on your pay-per-click marketing campaigns, get in touch with the experts at AdPilot today.