After 15 years Google is getting rid of its beloved ‘Average Position’ metric.

Don’t panic – we’ve taken some time to get used to the four new metrics Google has introduced.

What is ‘Average Position’ & why are they getting rid of it?

‘Average Position’ has always been calculated as the mean average of where your ad was positioned against your competitors’ ads within SERPs. Google works out this position based on your bid and overall quality score. This number is then used to determine how visible the ads are on the users’ search, but the problem with using average position is that you don’t know if your ads are at the top or the bottom of the page.

Let’s say your average position is 3. This doesn’t mean that your ad showed in the third position on the results page, and it could even have been below the organic results. The average position means that your ad’s position is in 3rd place in comparison to those of your competitors.

In an age of smart bidding strategies and machine learning it makes sense to replace ‘Average Position’, as an ad’s position could also vary from one user to another.

What is Google replacing ‘Average Position’ with?

To give a clearer indication of where you stand against your competitors – in both search and display – Google recommends four different metrics which were initially rolled out at the end of 2018:

1. Search Top Impression Rate: The percentage of your ad impressions that will appear anywhere above the organic search results.

2. Search Absolute Top Impression Rate: The percentage of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first result above the organic search results.

These metrics can help us understand why a click-through rate (CTR) can change in line with the location of your ads on the search result pages changing. Additionally, with these two metrics, you can tell how often the ad is in the first result above the organic results and its location on the search results page.

3. Search Top Impression Share: This is the percentage of impressions received in the top location which are above the organic search results, divided by all potential top impressions.

4. Search Absolute Top Impression Share: These are impressions received in the absolute top location above organic search results, divided by all possible impressions in this position.

This decision by Google isn’t going to have a huge impact on paid search activity – it just means we must approach optimisation and the reporting of campaign performance slightly differently.

Our PPC team go above and beyond to provide expert advice on search marketing strategies. If you have any specific questions relating to your Google Ads campaigns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!