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Google Ads Gets Rid Of Average Position

September 30, 2019
written by Jess Kirkbride

As of today, the average position metric will no longer be available on the Google Ads platform.


  • Google have offically removed the Average Position metric from their ads.
  • The removal is down to the misleading nature of the metric, which didn’t offer much information about the actual position of your ads.
  • Average position will be replaced with different metrics that will offer adverisers better insights.

So it’s gone. Average position is no more.

Moving forward, advertisers have been recommended to use the top and absolute top metrics – both of which can provide accurate data surrounding click-through rate (CTR) and the location of your ads.

Why is it being removed?

While average position gave an insight into where your ads were appearing, the data wasn’t clear. For example, if your average position was three, and ads with a position of 1-8 generally landed on the first results page, you’d assume your ad would perform quite well.

But that wasn’t always the case. Average position was often misleading in the sense that you couldn’t guarantee the exact location of your ad, despite how high or low the number. Advertisers with the same position as you could also place much higher than you in the search results, making your ads less effective.

Average position didn’t hold much weight on its own. Because SERPs also take relevance and Ad Rank into account, average position was simply an additional factor – rather than an accurate measure on its own.

What does it mean for advertisers?

Though advertisers will need to rethink their bidding strategies, the new impression metrics will unleash a whole new data set they can get their hands on.

Rather than offering a general overview, like average position, the new metrics provide a clear insight into impression share at the top of the search results. This gives advertisers more clarity, prompting them to increase their bids or optimise their Quality Score to achieve a better position, or maintain their strategy to maximise results.

They can also find out what’s affecting their ad position through metrics such as ‘Search lost absolute impression share’ and ‘Search lost top impression share’, and use this data to improve their campaigns.

The main metrics replacing average position

There are four main metrics replacing average position:

  • Impression (Top) %: The percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Impression (Absolute Top) %: The percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very ad above the organic search results.
  • Search Absolute Top IS: The number of impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  • Search Top IS: The number of impressions you’ve received in the top location compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.

All of these metrics are useful in understanding changes in click-through rate caused by a change in the location of your ads, though according to Google, they shouldn’t be used as a target to set your bids.

Our opinion:

“As search advertising evolves, we must expect certain metrics to do the same. It wouldn’t make sense for Google Ads to keep average position when they could’ve offered something with much clearer insight.”

Mark Neale, Adzooma Head of Paid Media

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Jess Kirkbride

Digital PR Copywriter at Adzooma writing about all things digital marketing. I love innovative campaigns and wish it was acceptable to make up my own stats. Don't be surprised if you read a wild, off-topic or beauty-related analogy in one of my articles or see me totting around in only black clothes.

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