On September 30th, Google is sunsetting the Average Position metric in favor of a new suite of positional metrics. These new metrics, Top Impression Share and Absolute Top Impression Share, will be the only way to measure the positioning of ads moving forward. While this may seem like a drastic change, it should be a benefit to all advertisers. Here’s why Google is getting rid of the Average Position metric, and how you can best use these new metrics to optimize your search campaigns.

Average Position’s Declining Relevance

Google is removing the Average Position metric because it was becoming less and less useful with the expansion of new ad types and formats that Google has rolled out. Average Position made sense when we could reliably expect to see three or four ads above the organic listings. In that situation, you could aim for position one with your brand ads and highly relevant non-brand terms. You could also target positions two or three for other terms where you wanted to show up, but not pay the CPCs necessary to show first.

Google Sunsetting Average Position: What It Means For You

However, this model has been going away, especially with the increased prominence being given to shopping. In the example below, the second-placed search ad could show up below the organic results. The old model for average position was thus becoming irrelevant.

Google Sunsetting Average Position: What It Means For You
Top Impression Share & Absolute Top Impression Share

This is where the new metrics step in, as they tell you where your ad is actually showing up on the page, not just its position relative to the other text ads. Top Impression Share tells you how often your ad shows above the organic search results, i.e. at the top of the page. Absolute Top Impression Share tells you how often your ad shows up as the top search ad, i.e. in position 1.

These new metrics, therefore, allow for all of the same optimizations as average position, but with even greater accuracy. For your brand terms and highly relevant non-brand terms, you can still use Absolute Top Impression Share to target the first position on the page. For those terms where you want to show up, but not pay the CPCs of top position, you can optimize for Top Impression Share. Moreover, Google’s Target Impression Share bid algorithm can be set to use either of these two new metrics to automate this process.

Conclusion

While the sunsetting of Average Position may feel like a drastic change, it’s really just a reflection of the current text ad landscape. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the new positional metrics and put yourself in the best position to optimize your search campaigns.

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