Average position is one of Google’s original search metrics, and up to this point it’s been the clearest way to describe the order of appearance in paid search results. While ads are generally found above organic search results, that’s not always the case; they’re sometimes served at the very bottom of page 1, below organic! When you consider that average position is often believed to be the ultimate metric of page 1 ordering, there’s a need to be clearer about where ads appear in relation to other content found on the first page of search results.
On October 1st, that’s about to change. The average position metric will be removed in favor of expanded metrics that better interpret ad ordering in relation to all other content on the page, including organic. When ads appear on top of organic results, this is considered “top” space. The first ad in the top space is considered “absolute top”. This means the expanded metrics include:
- Top Impression Share
Impressions On Top / Eligible Impressions On Top
- Top Impression Rate
Impressions On Top / All Impressions On Page
- Absolute Top Impression Share
Impressions On Absolute Top / Eligible Impressions On Top
- Absolute Top Impression Rate
Impressions On Absolute Top / All Impressions On Page
The best way to evaluate performance is to use these metrics in combination with standard impression share (the % of served impressions / total impressions for the same auctions) to evaluate how often your ad appears and where, in relation to organic results. While the Top Impression Share should be relatively close to the standard one, Absolute Top paints a clearer picture of how often #1 is achieved in the ad space in relation to all other page content.