Google is up to its tricks again. It is no longer going to report the average position of PPC ads on its SERPs. Instead, it is introducing two completely new statistics!
Confusing? Indeed, there is anxiety amongst the digital marketing community. But in reality, how will it affect your PPC campaigns? Should you be worried?
September 2019, it was all change at Google once again. No longer will they show you the “Average Position” of your ad; instead, they will quote two different statistics. We explain it all below.
Google does this kind of thing to us occasionally and, unsurprisingly we all start to worry a little. After all, some of the changes Google has introduced over the years have hit some people hard, especially for those who have not kept up to speed with the new changes. But there is no need to worry this time; you might need to change the way you optimise your PPC marketing if you use “Avg. Pos” as a key metric to optimise, but we think you will find this latest change to be your benefit as it will give you better data to help you hone your PPC strategies.
What is Google’s “Average Position” metric?
Simply, the “Average Position” is a statistic that shows where your ad ranks on the SERPs (search engine results pages) when compared to other ads. But what does that really mean? In fact, it can be a little confusing. For many people, an average position of 2 means the highest position at the time, but it actually means that your ad is displayed at position 2, within a given date range. It makes sense, doesn’t it?
It’s all to do with the difference between mean and mode. The position where your ad appears most frequently is known as the mode, while the average position is the mean. In other words, if it appeared twice in position 1 and twice in position 5, then the average would be ((2 x 1) + (2 x 5))/4 = 3.
So, in reality, the average position doesn’t tell you very much at all, and for many people, it can be confusing and misleading. Thus, losing it is no big loss.
What are the new statistics, and what do they mean?
Instead of quoting the “Average Position”, Google is quoting “Top Impression Share” and “Absolute Top Impression Share”. These are very much better and far more accurate a description of how your ad is working.
The “Top Impression Share” is the percentage of impressions your ad has that appear above the organic search results rather than anywhere else on the SERPs.
The “Absolute Top Impression Share” is the percentage of impressions your ad has that is placed in the first position above organic search results. Naturally, this is usually perceived as the most valuable position for your ad to appear.
How should you respond to the new metrics?
There are many theories concerning the best PPC strategy. Some marketers advocate that, while being in Position 1 drives lots of clicks, the cost of acquisition is too high and that the optimum position is 2.5. There are many such theories, yet there is a lack of reliable evidence that any of them are correct. And, as you can see from above, what does an average position of 2.5 indicate anyway?
With the new metrics, you can see what is really happening to your ad, and you can discover how changing your strategy modifies this. We think that you will prefer the new reports. This time Google has got it right!
I’ll be releasing a new article soon which will go into depth about how best to use Top Impression Share and Absolute Impression Share, too optimise your Google Ads campaigns.
Need help with your Google Ads? Or just want an independent review of your Google Ads/SEO? Contact us or call 07866 555 555