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Avg. Position

Avg. Position (Average Position of Ad)


Avg. Position (Average Position of Ad)

Quick Description = The position an ad/s appear in (within the paid search listings), on average

There are 10 positions on the front page of Google in which ads can appear, as well as positions on the second page; your ads may appear in different positions over a period of time; if we take an average (mean) of this, we calculate the average position of an ad.

For example, if an ad appeared three times (in positions 2, 4 and 5) the average would be calculated thusly:

(2+4+5) / 3 = 3.7

Equally the average position of multiple ads can be calculated in a similar way, for example; if there are four ads each with the following average positions (2.1, 3.4, 3.7, and 5.2) we can calculate the average position of all of these ads like this:

(2.1 + 3.4 + 3.7 + 5.2) / 4 = 3.6

Hence it is possible to see or calculate the average position of ads across campaigns, products, ad groups, etc.
Below we have listed some important features, behaviour, and information on Avg. Position below:

  • The highest position is 1
  • There is no lowest or bottom position
  • There are 10 positions on the front page of Google
  • Average position of 1-8 generally indicates ads are on the front page
  • Average position of 9-16 generally indicates ads are on the second page
  • Average positions are not a useful metric on the Display network, they mean nothing and should be ignored
  • Ad Rank can change and this changes the position of ads
  • Ad Rank considers Quality Score and Max CPC as the primary determining factors

Analysing Avg. Position

The average position can be a misleading metric as anyone familiar with math or statistical analysis will know. For example; take an ad that is triggered to show 6 times (6 impressions) in the following positions: 8,8,8,8,8,2 would have an average position of 7 despite never appearing in position 7 and only appearing in two positions.

As mentioned, the average is a mean average so the volume of impressions your ad receives in each position weights the final average accordingly.

Even very high performing ads rarely have an average position of 1 (especially if they receive hundreds or thousands of impressions), more often we see Avg. Positions of 1.1 or 1.2 than just 1.

You can also pull out a report from dimensions that shows the average position during each hour of the day, day of the week, etc to find out when your ads are appearing in high or low positions. Bear in mind that the top 3 positions appear in a different location to the next 7 positions on the page, this can create a linear increase in performance between position 10 & 4 but then a large jump in performance between positions 4 and 3.

Lost Traffic Due to Position

If your ad rank is too low your ads will be losing available impressions due to its rank. There are various metrics that Google provide (and that we cover in this knowledge base) to see how poor rank can affect paid search visibility.

Higher is Typically Better

Having an ad appearing higher on the page generally mean the ad will receive more clicks as a consequence of improved CTR (Click Through Rate). We have found in a lot of areas that the conversion rate of traffic from higher ranked ads is better than that of lower ranked ads.

There are barriers, other than cost, to getting into position 1 or at least in the top 3... Low QS (Quality Score) can increase CPC’s for higher positions to prohibitive levels and if too low will be prohibitive in itself from achieving good positions. If you have for example; a Max CPC bid of $5 and an Avg. CPC of $2.50 and an average position of 5, increasing CPC bid will not improve position.

Higher isn’t Always Better

There is a direct relationship between ad position and CPC. The higher an ads position on the page, the more your will pay for the click, with position 1 having the highest CPC. Consequently, being in position 1 isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective position to be in; when accounts are driven by CPA and ROI targets it is often not possible to attain or maintain top positions and meet the targets.

In highly competitive industries there are often gatekeepers to position 1 for head terms; some businesses with large budgets and long-term strategies involving short term losses often bid way above a profitable level to attain these positions.

Reporting and Analysis

Average position can be seen in the campaign, ad group, keyword and ad reports by default, each level aggregating the components nested in them.

More Information

You may also be interested in reading our guides on the following topics:

  • Text Ads
  • Search Network
  • Split testing & MVT
  • Lost IS (Rank)
  • Quality Score
  • Ad Rank
  • Avg. CPC


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