Living without Average Position in Google Ads

In the next few days, Google will ”sunset” the average position metric from their ads platform. There is an ongoing debate if this move is designed to work to Google’s advantage (i.e creating the illusion of unlimited ad space in the SERPs thus encouraging more participation and ad spend from advertisers), or if it is better for the advertisers (relative positions across differing screen sizes and devices render average position obsolete, and new metrics handle this better). The reasons are likely a combination of the two, and the answer will lie in longer-term results and adopting the change into your management strategies.

So the metrics Google has earmarked over the last year or so in preparation for this are:

  • Search top impression rate – the percentage of times that your ad is above natural search.
  • Search absolute top impression rate – the percentage of times that your ad is at the absolute top of the page.
  • Search top impression share – the impressions that you receive at the top of the page divided by the estimated number of eligible impressions.
  • Search absolute top impression share – the impressions that you receive at the absolute top of the page divided by the estimated number of eligible impressions

Straight away you can see that establishing where your ads are showing is going to be a slightly more complex task than simply counting down from the top of the page! Bearing in mind average position is about as fundamental to paid search as clicks and cost, there are going to be a more than a few PPC old timers like myself wondering what the long term outcome will be – let alone how advertisers will reconcile the fee that they pay vs. position the ad is awarded etc.

But that’s for speculation further down the road. What is important to us here at Goldladder is that we carry out preparations in advance of the change, and have a roadmap ready for when we come out on the other side. Most of these steps are common sense and can easily be adapted into your plan too.

Pre-change actions (do it now!)

The tasks here concern data collection ready for comparative analysis of old metrics against new:

  • Timeframe: 30, 90, and 365 day reports
  • Components: keywords and ads, focusing on brand and non-brand, an prioritizing the tier 1 level KWs that make up majority of your sales
  • Dimensions: time of day, location,
  • Metrics: Average Position, all the above search impression metrics,  quality score + as many others as possible
  • Identify any bid rules/ strategies based on position
  • Setup 3rd party tools to independently scrape SERPs during the change period.

Post change checklist (ready to go in next few days)

These tasks seek to protect your search market share against immediate threats:

  • Review 24hr & 1 week and 30 day data points against new metrics
  • Apply analysis from historical data to indicate position fluctuations
  • Be aware of bid changes from competitors looking to ”secretly” gain ground/ ad visibility
  • Review ALL rule-based bid strategies, not just position-based ones

Follow up milestones

Results of tracking the changes and consultancy for business metrics going forwards:

  • Week 1 report to client with impact observations
  • 30 day analysis session to verify data against expectations and adjust for change
  • Client dashboard updates and KPI additions
  • Competitor analysis and audit the new search space market share situation
  • Review of quality core algorithm changes 

Thanks for reading and best of luck with it all -as always, if Goldladder can assist you in achieving campaign success, do let us know!

By | 2019-09-27T15:21:06+00:00 September 27th, 2019|Search Engine Marketing | Goldladder Blog|Comments Off on Living without Average Position in Google Ads

About the Author:

Matt is a Goldladder co-founder and Director, and is not afraid to get his hands dirty on any project! With a technical background and healthy dislike of marketing in general, Matt looks towards data and conversions in a project rather than jumping on the latest bandwagon. He is Exeter based, often in London, and enjoys visiting the sharp end and exploring how the online world translates into real business for his clients. Matt has Google and Microsoft accreditations, enjoys Basecamp’s project management approach, and refuses to believe anything is real until it can be tracked in Google Analytics.