New Ad Position Metrics in Google Ads

Google recently announced new metrics to measure ad position. Since right rail ads no longer exist, and search results often vary the number of ads placed at the top or bottom, Average Position has become a more ambiguous measurement. Position 1 could mean the very top of the page, or the bottom of the page below all organic results.

As of now, the old Average Position metric is still available; however, these new metrics offer greater insight as to where ads appear in relation to organic results. Here’s an overview of these metrics and some practical suggestions for using them in your accounts.

Two of the metrics relate to the position of your ad in search results:

  • Impr. (Absolute Top) % measures the percentage of impressions shown as the first ad above organic search results
  • Impr. (Top) % measures the percentage of impressions shown in any position above organic results

The next two relate to impression share:

  • Search (Absolute Top) IS measures the impression share for the absolute top position, dividing total impressions for that position by the estimated number of eligible impressions for your ad in that spot.
  • Search (Top) IS divides the total impressions received in any position above organic results by the estimated number of eligible impressions you could have received in that placement.

In addition to the above metrics announced by Google, we also spotted four other new metrics in the interface:

  • Search lost top IS (budget): Missed top impressions due to budget
  • Search lost top IS (rank): Missed top impressions due to Ad Rank
  • Search lost abs. top IS (budget): Missed absolute top impressions due to budget
  • Search lost abs. top IS (rank): Missed absolute top impressions due to Ad Rank

How are these metrics useful to advertisers?

First of all, you can get greater insight than purely looking at average position and the old impression share metrics. Average position just tells you a number for the spot in which your ad appeared. However, it doesn’t tell you if the first ad slot was at the top or the bottom of the page; in some cases, the first ad appears after all of the organic results on the first page.

Looking at top metrics will help determine what performance was like when the ad actually showed above organic results. This data may also reveal which keywords have a higher minimum bid barrier to get into a “top”’placement, even in the absence of competitors.

The new metrics can also be incorporated into automated rules. For instance, you can set up a rule that will increase bids for converting keywords with a low CPA and a Search (Top) IS below a certain threshold, to ensure those keywords are more likely to show up above organic results.

You can also compare the breakdown of “top” position by device. In this example, we’ve added a column for Impr. (Top) %  and segmented by device. We can see that mobile phones had a significantly higher percentage of “top” impressions than other devices. While Average Position only shows a difference of 0.2 between mobile phones and computers, phones had a 13% greater top impression percentage. Along with other metrics, this data can help inform decisions about bidding by device.

In summation, we’re pleased to see these new metrics provide better insight into how your ads actually appeared in results. Opportunities abound to incorporate the metrics into campaign management and reporting. To learn more, see Google’s official announcement.

How do you plan to use the new ad position metrics in your campaign optimization? Share in the comments below!

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