Google Average Position Deprecation FAQ

What is changing?

Google is deprecating the Avg. Position metrics in 3Q 2019. Advertisers looking for information about search ad positions will need to rely on the four “prominence metrics” that were launched in November:

  • Impr (Abs. Top) %
  • Impr. (Top) %
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS
  • Search (Top) IS

Why are they making this change?

With an increasing share of searches coming from mobile and new ad format, position is not as easy to define as it once was. The new metrics aim to provide a better measurement of the reach of your ads across eligible impressions.

In the old system, a position of 1 didn’t necessarily mean top of page so these new metrics will provide a more accurate view of your position in the auction.

Can you explain the new metrics?

We’ll let Google take this one, (from their blog post about launching the metrics):

  • Impr. (Absolute Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Impr. (Top) % - the percent of your ad impressions that are shown anywhere above the organic search results.
  • Search (Absolute Top) IS - the impressions you’ve received in the absolute top location (the very first ad above the organic search results) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.
  • Search (Top) IS - the impressions you’ve received in the top location (anywhere above the organic search results) compared to the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location.

So...what does that mean?

The first two metrics show the percent of YOUR impressions that are above the organic results. The IS metrics show what percentage of the total available metrics your impressions represent.

How does this impact Marin?

The new metrics will be available in Marin in Q2; we are waiting on some API changes from Google before the can be fully incorporated.

The existing Impr. Share % metric will continue to be reported as it is today, the additional metrics just provide additional detail. The Average Position will remain in our UI for historical reference, but will not have any data after the September sunset date

Average Position is currently incorporated into Marin Bidding in a few areas. Here’s the migration plan and timing as we shift to using Impression Share.

Feature Plan Timing
Position Goal Bidding Will be changed to target an impression share Q3
Position Cap (Folder Setting) Deprecated Q3
Goal-based Bidding Forecasting models will be upgraded, do not rely on average position Q3
Position Lock Migrate to Impression Lock, targeting IS % Available
Bid Override (Target Position) Deprecated. Keyword-level overrides will be replaced by group-level Impression lock Q3

What do I need to do?

As we get closer to the deprecation date, we will provide instructions for migrating to the new solutions. You will also need to update any reports or alerts using Average Position to use the appropriate new metric.

Does Marin Support Impression Share Bidding?

Yes, Marin bidding has an option to Bid to a Target Impression Share that leverages Dynamic Actions. To set this up for a client, please contact your account representative so they can create an integration request.

Google’s Smart Bidding has added a Bid to Impression Share option that clients can also use. With target impression share bidding, Google’s system will automatically set bids to achieve the share goal. You can set one of three placement options for this strategy: absolute top of the page (position one), top of the page (above the organic results), or anywhere on the page (above or below the organic results)

Written by Marketing @ Marin Software

Last published at: May 31st, 2023