Best Practices After “Average Position” – Google Ads Top Impression Metrics Explained

Google Ads removed average position in September 2019. And whenever there’s a removal of a metric, advertisers want to understand the why behind removal- especially if it was a useful metric. 

Google explains the removal by citing that average position resulted in runaway rising CPCs, and the removal attempts to curtail quickly rising CPCs. This is likely true because it’s become much harder for gung-ho advertisers to vie for the number one average position. If they want the number one position, they also have to aim for absolute top impression share and rate.  

We’ve developed some clear best practices when it comes to optimizing your campaigns after Google eliminated average position six months ago. But first, it’s important to recap some of the most important competitive metrics in Google Ads: 

Metrics for your impressions – useful for bidding and CTR optimization:

– Search top impression rate = Impressions on top/Impressions

The % of your impressions that showed above organic results (~1-4 position) out of all of your impressions.

– Search absolute top impression rate = Impressions on the absolute top/Impressions

The % of your impressions that showed in the number one position out of all of your impressions.

Metrics for all eligible impressions – useful for budget and reach (impression share) optimization:

– Absolute top impression share = Impressions on absolute top/eligible impressions on top

The % of your impressions that showed above organic results (~1-4 position) out of all eligible impressions

– Search top impression share = Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top

The % of your impressions that showed in the number one position out of all eligible impressions

Overall, top impression metrics are more precise than average position. Also, the new top impression rate and share metrics show what has the most effect on an ad’s position, bids, or budget. Average position told us the position of the ad, but this varied wildly depending on budgets and bids. Overall, the new “top impression” metrics are a more reliable gauge of your ad’s reach and cost-efficiency.

Best Practices for Google Ads “Top Impression” Metrics

In the past, advertisers targeted an average position of 2.5 to maximize the ad’s reach and visibility while minimizing costs. Now that average position is gone, it’s essential to focus on the % top metrics to optimize the ad’s reach and efficiency. 

Generally speaking, we recommend applying the 80/20 rule whenever possible, and this situation is no exception. Focus on optimizing the following three metrics to around ~80%:


1. Search Exact Match IS = especially for exact match keywords. You can push this above 80% without worrying about diminishing returns.

2. Search Top IS = this should be around 80% for most keywords, above that maybe pushing towards diminishing returns

3. Impr. (Top) % = this should be around 80% for most keywords, above that maybe pushing towards diminishing returns

Contact DELVE if you’d like us to do a free audit of your SEM campaigns. We’ll look at your competitive metrics and 49 other critical components to successful SEM campaigns and deliver the scorecard for your review.


Ready to take your ads to the next level?  
DELVE is your strategic partner for site-side analytics, campaign management, and advanced marketing science. As experts in the Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform, DELVE drives client growth through a data-driven mindset that converts digital inefficiency into hard ROI.
SEE EXAMPLES of our experience and reviews from our clients.
Contact us to learn more about how we help our clients get advertising right.
DELVE Experts
delve.experts@delvepartners.com


Best Practices After “Average Position” – Google Ads Top Impression Metrics Explained

Google Ads removed average position in September 2019. And whenever there’s a removal of a…

Best Practices After “Average Position” – Google Ads Top Impression Metrics Explained

Google Ads removed average position in September 2019. And whenever there’s a removal of a metric, advertisers want to understand the why behind removal- especially if it was a useful metric. 

Google explains the removal by citing that average position resulted in runaway rising CPCs, and the removal attempts to curtail quickly rising CPCs. This is likely true because it’s become much harder for gung-ho advertisers to vie for the number one average position. If they want the number one position, they also have to aim for absolute top impression share and rate.  

We’ve developed some clear best practices when it comes to optimizing your campaigns after Google eliminated average position six months ago. But first, it’s important to recap some of the most important competitive metrics in Google Ads: 

Metrics for your impressions – useful for bidding and CTR optimization:

– Search top impression rate = Impressions on top/Impressions

The % of your impressions that showed above organic results (~1-4 position) out of all of your impressions.

– Search absolute top impression rate = Impressions on the absolute top/Impressions

The % of your impressions that showed in the number one position out of all of your impressions.

Metrics for all eligible impressions – useful for budget and reach (impression share) optimization:

– Absolute top impression share = Impressions on absolute top/eligible impressions on top

The % of your impressions that showed above organic results (~1-4 position) out of all eligible impressions

– Search top impression share = Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top

The % of your impressions that showed in the number one position out of all eligible impressions

Overall, top impression metrics are more precise than average position. Also, the new top impression rate and share metrics show what has the most effect on an ad’s position, bids, or budget. Average position told us the position of the ad, but this varied wildly depending on budgets and bids. Overall, the new “top impression” metrics are a more reliable gauge of your ad’s reach and cost-efficiency.

Best Practices for Google Ads “Top Impression” Metrics

In the past, advertisers targeted an average position of 2.5 to maximize the ad’s reach and visibility while minimizing costs. Now that average position is gone, it’s essential to focus on the % top metrics to optimize the ad’s reach and efficiency. 

Generally speaking, we recommend applying the 80/20 rule whenever possible, and this situation is no exception. Focus on optimizing the following three metrics to around ~80%:


1. Search Exact Match IS = especially for exact match keywords. You can push this above 80% without worrying about diminishing returns.

2. Search Top IS = this should be around 80% for most keywords, above that maybe pushing towards diminishing returns

3. Impr. (Top) % = this should be around 80% for most keywords, above that maybe pushing towards diminishing returns

Contact DELVE if you’d like us to do a free audit of your SEM campaigns. We’ll look at your competitive metrics and 49 other critical components to successful SEM campaigns and deliver the scorecard for your review.


Ready to take your ads to the next level?  
DELVE is your strategic partner for site-side analytics, campaign management, and advanced marketing science. As experts in the Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform, DELVE drives client growth through a data-driven mindset that converts digital inefficiency into hard ROI.
SEE EXAMPLES of our experience and reviews from our clients.
Contact us to learn more about how we help our clients get advertising right.

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