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Google is Rolling Out New Metrics For More Clarity Into Ad Position

Google is Rolling Out New Metrics For More Clarity Into Ad Position Blog Feature

November 8th, 2018 min read

If you’re not measuring, are you even marketing?

Just yesterday, Google announced its going to make our lives as marketers and strategists much easier in this department by rolling out four new metrics to better explain where ads appear in Google search results.

[cue fist pump]

Before this update, it  offered marketers insight into just the ads average position; however, even the tech giant itself  noted that there has been some confusion around what that metric actually meant. In the latest announcement, Google provided the following:

Contrary to common perception, average position is not meant to describe where the ad appears on the page. Average position reflects the order that your ad appears versus the other ads in the ad auction.

As a result, an ad position of "1" means that your ad shows ahead of all other ads, but it doesn't mean the ad was at the very top of the page. Sometimes no ads are displayed above the organic search results so the ad with a position of “1” appears at the bottom of the page.”

Confusing, right?
Yeah, I think so too.

So, let’s talk about these new updates and put the days of simply average position behind us, shall we?

Google’s New Search Ad Position Metrics

Google announced the following metrics would now be shared:

Impr. (Absolute Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions t shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.

Impr. (Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions  shown anywhere above the organic search results.

Search (Absolute Top) 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.

Search (Top) 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.

These new metrics can be found directly in your Ads dashboard: 

Why These New Metrics Matter to Marketers

Simple -- they make us smarter.

Okay, so I guess there’s a little more explaining to do there but these new metrics help us in three major ways.

These metrics give us more insight into how our ads are performing and arm us with the right information we need to discuss these ad positions with our boss. Plus, this will help us better understand the impact the ads are having on our current metrics.

If you’re currently running a Google AdWords campaign, you might not know exactly where your ad is being placed (cough cough -- that sneaky average position metric -- cough cough) but with these new metrics, that guesswork has (mostly) been taken out of the equation.Before, you may not have been able to tell your boss how often your ad had taken the Absolute Top position or how often your ad has shown up below organic search results.

You have just been able to say, “our average ad position is 4” which doesn’t mean much.

These new metrics arm us with the information we need to better describe our current performance, how and where it’s showing up, and that will also shed light on perhaps why your other metrics are performing how they are.

Think about it this way -- If your ad is currently being displayed below organic search or even on page 2 or 3 BUT you thought it was being displayed above organic results, this may explain a lack of clicks or page views of your landing page.
There’s a big difference between Search (Top) IS and Search (Absolute Top) IS.

Having more clarity into what your ads average position actually means allows you to understand what’s happening, why there may be a lack of views, and lack of action being taken.

You can become smarter when it comes to your ads and creating the right data benchmarks based on where the ad is being displayed.

Get Excited


From where I sit, there really isn’t a downside to Google rolling out these new metrics to us.

This clarity and insight really gives us more information on how our ads are performing and to arm us with the information we need to have the right conversations with others around performance.

Are you as excited as I am?

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