Do you understand the % position metrics in Google Ads and how they can be used?

With average position being completely removed from Google Ads at the end of the month, we thought it would be a good idea to go through the alternatives which Google have come up to replace it.

We think the new metrics are a bit more ambiguous, however there are still key takeaways which they provide. The new metrics are:

  • Search Impression Share
  • Search Top Impression Share
  • Search Absolute Top Impression Share

Search Impression Share

Search impression share is the percentage of targeted searches which your ads are shown. This includes impressions wherever on the page your ad is shown. Before you look at making changes based on search impression share it’s important that you understand what can affect your search impression share:

Not good enough ad rank

When Google is deciding which ads to show there is an auction which ranks the potential ads based on quality score and your bid. If this isn’t high enough then your ad won’t be shown and your overall search impression share will be lower.

You can see if it’s the rank which is causing you to lose out on the impression share by using the “Search lost IS (rank)” metric. This will tell you the percentage of impressions you have lost due to your rank.

If you are losing impressions due to rank, you need to look at improving it, by either improving your keywords quality score or increasing your bids. If you’re increasing your bids you need to consider the effect this may have on your top level targets and it may not always be beneficial to your performance as a whole.

Not Enough Budget

The other reason why your ad might not show is due to your budget. If your limited by budget on your campaigns you might need to consider either upping your budget or using this metric to manage your budget better and move spend to the best performing parts of your account.

The percentage lost due to budget isn’t available at levels but can be worked out manually if needed using the following formula:

100 – Search Impression Share – Search lost IS (rank) = Search lost IS (budget)

Once you’ve worked out the impressions lost due to budget you can then start to assess where budget needs to move to. This can then be achieved by lowering bids in other, lower performing areas or by restructuring your account in order to have more control over the budgets of certain areas.

Googles Definition

“Search impression share” is the impressions that you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible to receive.

Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids and quality. Impression share data is updated daily.

Search Top Impression Share

Search Top Impression Share is the percentage of times your ads have shown in the top 4 results (above the organic results) in all targeted searches. This is usually the target positioning for most campaigns and will indicate that the impressions are actually seen.

We’d usually compare this metric to the overall search impression share. If you have a high search impression share but a low search top impression share it means that you’re ads are showing at the bottom of the page. This will be due to its ad rank so if you want to push your ads to the top section you will need to look at either improving your quality score or increasing bids.

Googles Definition

Search top impression share (IS) is the impressions you’ve received in the top location on the search result page divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive in the top location. Use this metric to bid on the top page location.

The top location is anywhere ads appear above the organic search results. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids and quality.

Search Absolute Top Impression Share

Search Absolute Top Impression Share is the percentage of times your ads show in the number one position. This is usually where you’d want your ads for the highest performing keywords to show, however it is worth testing different positions in order to maximise ROI.

The main use we find for this is whether we can push keywords further or not. If a keyword has high Search Absolute Top Impression Share, it’s unlikely you’re going to get more from the keyword by improving its ad rank (You might still get cheaper bids by improving your quality score however).

Googles Definition

“Search absolute top impression share” is the percentage of your Search ad impressions that are shown in the most prominent Search position.

Absolute top impression share = absolute top impressions / total eligible top impressions

You should now have a good idea of what the metrics replacing average position are and how they can be used to improve your campaigns performance. If you’re struggling with the management of your Google Ads campaigns then you might be interested in our management services, or you can get in touch using our contact page.