Google has announced that as of September 30th, 2019 their ads platform data will no longer include average position within the available competitive metrics. A quick review of the Google “Help” content will show you that they are now recommending use of the top and absolute top impression rates. Google also points out that this change will cause issues with scripts or automated bidding tools that work off of avg position to automatically increase bids. It could also cause disruption within reports that currently showcase or use this metric within filtered data.
Outside of the small headaches that this change may cause for reporting or automation tools, is this a big a deal? We don’t think so. One of EdwardsStrategies’ best practices is to consider the economy of impressions when optimizing search campaigns. With search ads, charges only occur when someone “clicks” on your ad. When it comes to updating various campaign settings to garner a lower cost per lead, it can be easy to overlook impressions as they do not directly relate to ad spend. However, this ignores the fact that specific portions of your ad spend could be spread too thin by covering too many keywords. Afterall, when you run out of daily budget Google will no longer show your ads (no more impressions). If your ads cannot be seen, they certainly can’t continue to drive traffic to your site.
The good news here is that a few quick filters applied to your data set will show you exactly where certain keywords are siphoning money away from your top performers. Simply take a look at the words that convert at a rate less than your campaign average (or desired goal) and calculate the amount of spend for these words vs the account as a whole. Our guess is that you may easily find 15% or more of your budget is being wasted on available impressions, and thus clicks, for terms that are not as likely to convert as their counterparts. Unless you are running an unlimited budget, the impact of this is likely costing you lead volume. Throw in a few more filters to see exact match impression share and lost impression share and you can start to see the big picture of how to squeeze more leads out of your current budget.
The removal of the average position metric, potentially taking away the crutch of relying on knowing that 1.2 means that your ad is in the top spot more often than not (when it shows), will assist in providing an even better understanding of where your ads actually show within the search results pages. Not only can you see how many impressions are coming in for ads above the “organic fold”, you can also see what portion are falling in the #1 position overall. Couple this with your impression share data and your bid decisions can now be based on the likelihood of your ads to show as well as which position you are likely to receive when they do.