EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! Google is getting rid of average position, and we’re gonna shout it!

Google just announced the end of average positions. Cue the pandemonium.

No one likes change (well, except Google), but before we declare the end of life as we know it, let’s consider what this announcement actually means.

Google wants us to shift our focus from average position reporting to impression share. This is nothing new – with their rollout of four new ad position metrics centered on impression share in November of last year, we can’t claim to be caught off guard by their latest announcement. The good news is we have time and solid options to prepare for the demise of average position reporting.

Reason Not To Panic #1

This change isn’t happening until September 2019. That’s six full months to develop a post-average position strategy and ease our clients into this new way of life.

Reason Not To Panic #2

We can still influence our page placement to some extent.  By using Google’s recently released Target Impression Share bidding strategy, we can target absolute top of the page position, top of the page position, or positioning anywhere on the page of Google search results. Additionally, this strategy allows us to both determine how often (or what percent) we want to hold this position AND set a max. CPC. While still automated, this gives us more control than Target Search Position bidding.

Reason Not To Panic #3

Average position has always been shown as the average of your ad placement. There is no 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, etc. average position. This means that no matter how much you optimize your ads to show at an ultra-specific position, you are still showing in a nice, whole-numbered position – be it #1 or #4. So, we never really had control anyway.

So, rest assured, our average position capabilities aren’t changing all that much. Hopefully, these simple reality checks can put your clients’ and your own minds, at ease.

Prediction #1

With average position disappearing, we will no longer be optimizing to average position. Meaning everyone will be targeting either the absolute top of page position or simply any placement on the page. This will likely lead to an influx of competition (particularly for absolute top placement), and in turn, an increase in CPCs and CPAs. Be on the lookout for this as you adjust your strategy to Google’s new impression share-centric world.

Prediction #2

We all know it. Wherever Google is, Bing is not far behind. With this latest change in Google, it’s likely we will see a similar update in Bing soon. In fact, Bing’s September rollout of the competition tab offering impression share insights and its recent nixing of the Share of Voice report point to just this.

The ending of average position is just the most recent in Google’s never-ending string of updates. If you haven’t done so already, embrace the change.


Want to learn more about the change, and what you need to do to prepare? Check out the latest episode of the PPC Newsflash, featuring Hanapin President Jeff Allen and Senior Account Manager Kelsey Hadaller.