Soon, average position for paid search will be retired in the Google Ads interface in favor of some different competitive metrics. But is this a good thing? It is being survived by more robust percentage metrics that are focused on impression share for the top of the page and the absolute top of the page. Click share is also supposed to estimate where you could be missing out on potential clicks due to current campaign limits.
What is Average Position for Paid Search?
This article by Frederick Vallaeys sums up where average position came from and why it’s being looked on as an obsolete statistic. It is also worth noting that this stat has engendered a lot of confusion over the years with people misunderstanding what it was reporting. Average position is a notation of where in the paid ads results your ad showed on average, and oftentimes it was confused for your ads true position on the search engine results pages. An average position of 1.0 does not necessarily mean that you showed at the top of the page, it just means that your paid ad was the first paid search ad shown. This could have been on the right-hand side back when there were still ads there, or worse, it could also have been the bottom of the page, which does happen if Google finds that the paid search ads are not more relevant than the organic results for that search page.
Top and Absolute Top Impression Share
The metrics that will remain are designed to give you more clarity since ad position can mean something different than most people would think. These metrics will allow you to see how much of the impression share you’re getting at the top of page and at the absolute top (ad position 1) for your paid search ads. This can give you insights on whether you need to optimize for your ad rank, or you need to increase your budget to achieve a higher impression share. These are in addition to the original impression share metrics that are overall measures that do not take your ad position into account.
Paid Search Automated Bidding Options that Target Position
With the variety of automated bidding options available, it’s much easier and is also recommended to have Google manage the bidding for your campaigns. This allows you to free up your time for more important strategic tasks rather than spending time in the weeds adjusting manual bids. It generally also gives you better results in terms of clicks and results, depending on what your key performance indicator is. Google’s automated bidding has a few different options for targeting a specific position on the page. These include targeting search page location as well as targeting outranking share.
Targeting search page location allows you to optimize your bidding for anywhere on the first page or at the top of the results on the first page. You also have the option to set manual bids while allowing Google to adjust them as needed to meet your goal, or let it automatically control the bids.
Target outranking share optimizes your bidding to outrank a competitor advertising for the same keywords, so it’s automatically adjusting bids to keep your ads above that competitor.
While the stat for average position going away is a big change, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. With the confusion surrounding this statistic and it’s loss of relevance with the elimination of ads showing on the right-hand side of the page, it doesn’t offer the clarity that it once had. The more robust impression share metrics that have been added to Google Ads provide more clarity than average position does now. Also, with the ability to bid based on page position or to outrank a competitor, you can easily optimize for a more ideal ad position.
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