It’s another sad day for Google as they say goodbye to yet another of their previously key features. There have been signs over the last few months, but now the time has finally happened, and Google Ads has retired the average position reporting metric for good. For some of you this may not mean a lot, while others are frantically searching for new ways to keep up with the performance of our Google Ads. To help you understand what’s changes (and what you can do about it), we wanted to go over what average position reporting was, what’s replaced it, and why that should matter to you.


What Was the Average Position Reporting Metric?

To understand what average position reporting is, we first need to understand how ad rank works. First, ad position is determined by ad rank, which is a score that Google calculated based on your bid and your quality score. This allows Google to reward advertisers with a good ad position because of quality ads, keywords ad landing pages, instead of just how has the highest bids.

The average position rank is a number that tells you how well your ad typically ranks against other ads. This rank number determines where your ads appear on the search results page. An average of positions 1-4 are all on the first page – and while it would be nice, it’s pretty rare to find yourself in position 1.0 all the time. Most of the time if your ads are good, you will tend to see 1.2 or 2.3 as an average position, which is typically between positions 1 and 2, and still very good!

So why is Google retiring it? Well, mainly because they don’t think it’s a very useful metric anymore! With all the changes they have been making behind the scenes, the folks at Google have decided that a more detailed view of ad performance would benefit all users.


What Will Replace It?

As with most things in google, when they take one thing away, they add a whole host of new things to take its place! In this case they launched 4 new metrics to replace the average position reporting metric, which have actually been in place since November. These metrics will help users get a clearer picture of where their ads are actually showing up on the search engine results page. They are:


  • IMPR (Absolute Top) % – The percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • IMPR (top) % – The percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results. 
  • Search (absolute top) IS – The impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location. 
  • Search (top) IS – The impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.



Why Should You Care?

Of course, all of that is very nice, but why should it matter to you, the average business owner? Well, because this isn’t a small or insignificant change, no matter how much it seems so. Search engines change on a daily basis, but most of those changes are so small you wouldn’t even notice. But the average position has been one of the few constants in search advertising for over 15 years which makes its removal a bit of a milestone. The main reason for its removal seems to be a sharp decline in utility over a few years – ever since Google sunsetted the right rail ads.


At Ad-Extra, it’s our job to keep up with what Google are doing so that we can pass the info on to you – including things like the retirement of old features and the launch of new replacements. We’ve been fiddling with the new metrics for a while now, so if you have any questions about how they work, or concerns about how your ads are performing, just get in touch with the team today and we’ll be happy to help.