Performance Marketing Expert

Google has Retired the Average Position Metric

As some of you have heard, the retirement party for Google's average position metric has come and gone. Google officially retired the Average Position metric over the week of September 30 and it is no longer visible within Google Ads accounts. In celebration, Google has added some additional columns to better assist marketers.

Why did Google do this?

Average Position used to be a staple metric for understanding where your ad is typically placed on a page. While marketers want to know this information, what they really care about are two specific questions:

  • Is my ad in the top position?
  • Is my ad above the fold?


While the Average Position can help in answering these, sometimes it will be inaccurate. A great example would be when an ad shows on page position 3. While it’s true that sometimes that position is at the top of the page, other times Google SERPs can limit the number of ads above the fold to 1 or 2. That means an Average Position of 3 might not be above the fold! “The fold” is what users see when the SERP initially loads. A large percentage of users do not scroll down the page meaning that when an ad does not appear above the fold it can result in a huge drop in click traffic.

With Average Position being retired, Google will be adding new metrics that will help advertisers understand where on the page their ads are appearing.

What are the new metrics going to look like?

Marketers will still be able to access:

  • Search IS: shows % share of impressions for auctions that were available.


The below new metrics are already available within the platform:

  • Search Top IS: Similar to Search IS, Top IS shows % share of impressions at the top of the page.
  • Search Abs Top IS: This goes a step further to show % share of impressions in the top position.


Note: any rule-based CPC changes that use Average Position will need to be adjusted towards IS based metrics.

What is Rise doing about this?

What we always do: measure, optimize, and report!

In order to understand how the Top IS and Abs Top IS percentages translate to Average Position, Rise analyzed thousands of keywords across multiple accounts to determine the correlations between them. The below data was weighted in order to show proper averages:

How Google's new metrics, Top IS and Abs Top IS, translate to Average Position Metric

As you can see, Abs Top IS % drops substantially after the 1.1 position and the highlighted section at the bottom is where the data flat-lines (stating <10% for most of the data points).

How to Optimize Using New Metrics

Now that we have looked at the data and understand how these new metrics stack up against what we were previously using, any decisions that were based on Average Position can migrate to an IS metric. Let's go through some use cases:

1. I want to be above the fold but pay as little as possible.

  • We recommend that you target a Search Top IS of ~40%.


2. I want to always be in the top position but avoid overpaying.

  • We recommend you target Search Abs Top IS of ~92%.


Keep in mind that you have options when governing your keyword bids. While there is always the manual option, you can easily govern this with automated rules or target IS based bid strategies.

Contact Rise to have our Search experts examine your program and determine how to best restructure your campaigns with these new changes.

10/08/2019 at 03:17