This month (September 2019) Google is implementing changes to the information and statistics available when managing Google Ads campaigns (otherwise known as PPC, Pay-Per-Click or Paid Search).
One of the most significant is the removal of ‘Average Position’. It’s important to ensure the digital agency or individual managing your campaign is aware and understands the potential impact.
Google announced that the Average Position metric will be officially ‘retired’ on Monday 30th September.
Where your business or organisation’s ad appears on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) is dependent on your Ad Rank. Ad Rank is determined by your ad’s Quality Score and how much you bid per click, impression or conversion. Broadly, your Quality Score depends on how well your advert and website landing page relate to the keyword (the search term entered into Google).
Until now, Google Ads (formally known as Google AdWords) has provided a statistic called Average Position for each advert. It details where your ad appears relative to others. For example, an Average Position of 1 indicates your ad is always the first on the search engine results page. An average position of 3 indicates there are typically two ads which appear before it.
As the way paid search results and organic search results are displayed can vary, Average Position indicates how your ad compares to others, rather than its absolute position on the page. Though positions 1 to 3 are often at the top of the page (above the organic results) and positions 4-7 are at the bottom, this is increasingly not the case!
From 30th September 2019, Average Position is being removed and more focus is being placed on four new metrics introduced in November 2018:
1 – ‘Top Impression Rate’ details the percentage of impressions of your advert that appear above organic results at the top of the page
2 – ‘Absolute Top Impression’ details the percentage of total impressions that appear at the very top of the page
3 – ‘Top Impression Share’ details the frequency with which your ad appears in search results at the top of page relative to the number of times it could feasibly appear. It may not appear 100% of the time due to a limited budget.
4 – ‘Absolute Top Impression Share’ details the frequency with which your ad appears at the very top of search results, compared with the total number of opportunities to do so. Again, this may be limited by budget.
What Does It Mean for Your Campaign?
Assuming your PPC manager is aware, they will need to understand the changes and potentially revise their strategy.
Many campaign managers use Average Position a help them set the level they are willing to bid for an impression, click or conversion, for a given keyword. For example, though position 1 is typically at the top of the page, some statistics (especially for desktop computers) indicate adverts in position 3 are more likely to be clicked. A campaign manager may establish your campaign to target position 3 as the necessary bids are lower.
However, following September, this tactic will no longer work and managers will need to interpret the four new metrics and set objectives to match.
Google believes that Average Position is an unreliable measure and does not accurately indicate where your adverts appear. However, some PPC experts believe Google’s change is part of a long-term strategy to encourage more campaign automation; a move many believe gives Google too much control and increases costs.
Regardless, even effective automation is dependent on setting the right goals and needs thorough knowledge of your business, customers and objectives. The four new metrics also require thorough understanding and increase the importance of proactive, human and common-sense management.
At Full Mix Marketing, we’ve long been fans of Average Position but began the transition to the new metrics some months ago. Though complex, they do indeed provide more accurate information with which to boost results and reduce costs.
Many clients have come to us with campaigns which have been previously been delegate to automation and other software by digital marketing agencies. Whilst we can often see why this has identified certain keywords, created certain ads or established certain bids; the results often lack true understanding of what users actively search to find your products and services. We deliver a much more proactive and human approach to get more from your budget.
Google announced that average position will officially retire on Monday 30th September. If your PPC manager isn’t aware, contact us. https://fullmixmarketing.co.uk/digital-marketing/