Why Google Is Retiring Its Average Position Metric for Ads

Written by Team SI on Monday, September 23, 2019

This month, Google is removing its “Average Position” metric that showed businesses how prominently their ads appeared on a search engine results page. Instead, Google has decided to replace this metric with two new ones.

Here, we’ll break down why Google says Average Position is leaving and what exactly is taking its place.

Removing the Average Position Metric

The Average Position metric has been used by many as a key performance indicator (KPI), but Google says there are a few reasons why it is being retired. According to Wordstream, this metric assigned your advertisements with an ad rank based on your ad’s quality score within Google and the bid you placed on your ad. But instead of the “average position” metric correlating to your ad’s location on a page, this metric simply referred to the order of your ad. If your ad had a position 1 ranking, this could mean that your ad was at the very top of the first page of search results, as you would typically expect, or that your ad was at the bottom of the page or even on page two if that was the first ad position available. So, just because you received the top ad position in a bid auction, it didn’t mean your ad would show at the very top of a search engine results page (SERP).

What’s Replacing the Average Position Metric

To replace this, Google is now providing the “Absolute Top Impression Rate” and the “Top Impression Rate” metrics. These more accurately measure the average location of your ads. According to Google, the Absolute Top Impression Rate measures the percentage of your ad impressions that come from your ad appearing as the very first ad above organic search results on a SERP, and the Top Impression Rate measures the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results on a SERP.


Photo Courtesy Of Google

What This Means For Businesses

Together, these two metrics should help you better understand where your ads are located on a SERP and if there is a possibility that they will appear at the top or absolute top of a SERP.