Google announced earlier this year that it would be phasing out its average position metric in Google Ads, and now we know exactly when this change will occur. Starting on September 30, 2019, average position will be retired in Google Ads. To fill the average position void, Google recommends using average position’s newer alternatives: search top impression and search absolute top impression.
Google sunsetting the average position metric comes as both a shock and an expected change. Average position has been used for years to measure where an ad appeared in search results, however, as digital marketing continued to develop, this metric started to become less reliable. Google has made changes to the layout of ads on its platform, and average position cannot tell you if your ad is placed as a top-of-the-page ad or bottom-of-the-page ad. Marketers are now interested in seeing if their ad is placed at the top or bottom of a page, and average position does not answer this question.
According to Google, the following functions will be disabled beginning the week of September 30, 2019:
- Rules using average position
- Custom columns using average position
- Saved reports that filter on average position
- Saved filters with average position
To prepare for average position’s termination, Google released two new metrics in November 2018 that are being suggested to take the place of average position: search top position and search absolute top impression. Search top position shows the percentage of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results, and search absolute top impressions shows the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
While the retirement of average position is over six weeks out, marketers should be proactive in learning about average position’s alternative metrics and considering new ways to report on these metrics. By staying on top of these changes in Google Ads, marketers will enjoy a smooth transition to newer, more reliable metrics in place of average position.