Last Updated on January 23, 2020
As most of you know by now, unless you are one of the new Google Ads users, Google has eliminated the Average Position feature within the Google Ads interface. For many of us long time users of the Google Ads (Formerly Google Adwords) platform, we have relied heavily on the Average Position to strategically place our ads in the position that is most beneficial or most profitable to us or our clients.
The average position was available to us as long as I can remember personally, and I’m sure the same applies to many users of the platform. In this article, we’ll go into what this may mean to the average user, or the long time users like myself, with this important feature going away.
How Was the Average Position Useful In The Past?
For those of you who may have never used the Average Position feature (or not very often), you may have missed out on some goals that you could have had for your campaigns. Its importance was pretty strong when it comes to a Search Campaign running and performing at its most effective point. It was particularly useful when launching a brand new campaign, ad groups, and set of keywords that have never been run through the account before. By being able to see where your ads were positioned on the first page of Google results vs other competitors that are running the same keyword as you are, helped give you an idea of your positioning at the bid you have set.
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Then when you saw where you were positioned, you knew you either had some work to do on the bid side of things, the relevance side of things, or even the extensions side of things. The positioning played an important role in pretty much everything we considered when it comes to performance and goal metrics.
By knowing the position of your ads while hitting another particular goal of yours such as your Cost Per Conversion, you could have easily seen just how much you could have needed to go up or down as far as positioning to get a better result. So, when Google unexpectedly decided to do away with the Average Position you could imagine the disappointment that came along with it in blogs, forums, articles, press releases, and social media.
It is almost as if Google is taking more and more control away from the users of their Google Ads platform as the years keep coming and going by. First, with the changing of the Google Ads interface that eliminated important features with that whole “experience” switch, it has been a nightmare in some ways to even navigate around the Google Ads platform to find exactly what you are looking for compared to the previous “experience” (interface) that was used and loved by their users. And now eliminating one of the single most useful features (average position) in the whole Google Ads platform? It’s almost as if they do not want anyone to be or stay happy with the use of their public platform that makes them so much money each and every year from customers all over the world.
What Has Google Given Us In Place Of The Average Position Feature?
Since Google has eliminated the average position, they have added what is called the Search Absolute Top Impression Share and the Search Lost Impression Share (rank). When you look at the comparison between both of these new features and what we use to see in the Average Position column, the comparison is night and day.
These two replacement features are based upon a percentage metric that you have to try and figure out just how it even remotely gives you the clear positioning data that the far more useful average position used to give us time and time again. We did try and note any comparison with these two new features when the average position was still available to us, and some of us who have put our heads together could not find a sensible way to compare the two in any way that remotely helped us understand about where we were positioned rank wise.
When you really sit back and look at things from a broader view, and see everything that Google is doing with their Google Ads platform and everything they are taking away from us, it almost looks they are moving towards everyone running their Artificial Intelligence features they are now pushing upon us. It only makes sense when you think about it them wanting us to use a percentage number rather than a positioning number, that their AI system reads percentages better and it is geared towards that. Of course, that is only my opinion on that subject, but using Google Ads as long as I have and now seeing all of the previous changes they have made us incorporate along with the newer changes that Google is now making us get used to, to me it only makes sense on which direction they are moving towards when it comes to everything being automated.
The advantage of them pushing us to use their automated system is that we are giving Google FULL control of everything within our Google Ads account. That means we are relying on them to know what our goals are vs what their goals are. That means we are depending on Google to know our business, our industry, our business model, and the sales cycle vs us running our own campaigns the way we want to without any interference from someone who is just out to get our advertising money.
What Should We Expect Now?
With this recent taking away of the average position in the Google Ads platform, it may have you wondering what is next from Google. What are they planning on taking away from us right out of the blue? This is something we have to think about on a daily basis not only for ourselves but also for our clients that depend on us to be the experts of what Googles Platform offers and how to control our accounts the way we want and need to benefit our clients.
That task is becoming harder and harder to accomplish with the many eliminations that Google is now applying and enforcing. The more and more they keep pushing towards letting their system run our accounts, the more and more it looks like Google just wants full control over anything and everything possible to be able to take your money at the rate and convenience that suits them the best. But in the end, we have to realize that if we let this happen to ourselves or our clients, we know that Google just views us as their ATM machines and can withdraw as much or as little money from us at any time they feel like it.
Keep as much as you can in your control is my advice always, and try and make use of the older feature called “Search Impression Share” that has been around with Shopping Campaigns (being that shopping campaigns never used the average position feature). That will be another write up for another time though. I hope this write up was useful in making you aware of the Average Position Moving Away From Google Ads.
Authorship: Bobby P.