Average position (Avg. Pos.)
A statistic that describes how your ad typically ranks against other ads. This rank determines in which order ads appear on the page.
- You can see an “Avg. Pos.” column for your ads, campaigns, and other elements, but average position is generally most useful to look at for your keywords. By seeing how your ad typically ranks when it’s triggered by one of your keywords, you can try to influence your position by changing the keyword’s bid.
- Your ad’s rank can fluctuate (causing its ad position on the page to fluctuate as well), so your average position can help you gauge how often your ad beats other ads for position. However, the most important thing is to find what’s profitable for you, which might not be to show in the top position.
- “1″ is the highest position, and there is no “bottom” position. An average position of 1-8 is generally on the first page of search results, 9-16 is generally on the second page, and so on. Average positions can be between two whole numbers. For example, an average position of “1.7″ means that your ad usually appears in positions 1 or 2.
- Average position may be less useful in optimizing for performance on the Google Display Network because of the diversity of websites on this network. If you want to measure performance on the Display Network, we recommend focusing on metrics such as conversions and ROI.
Understanding ad position and Ad Rank
Ad position is the order in which your ad shows up on a page. For example, an ad position of “1″ means that your ad is the first ad on a page. In general, it’s good to have a high ad position because it’s likely that more customers will see your ad. Ads can appear on the top of a search results page, on the side of the page, or on the bottom of the page.
How ad position is determined
|Ad position is determined by your Ad Rank in the auction. Your Ad Rank is a score that’s based on your bid and yourQuality Score. If you’re using the cost-per-click bidding option, your bid is how much you’re willing to pay for a single click on your ad. Your Quality Score is a measurement of how relevant and useful your keyword, ad text, and landing page are to what a user is searching for. Note that if you’re using extensions such as sitelinks, the expected impact from those extensions is factored into your Ad Rank. This means that if two competing ads have the same bid and quality, the ad with the better expected impact from extensions will generally appear in a higher position than the other.
To improve your ad position, you can increase your bid, or you can focus on improving your Quality Score. See the “Next steps” section below for more information about Quality Score and how to optimize your ad position by improving your ad quality.
Keep in mind
Because of the diversity of websites on the Google Display Network, average position may be less useful in optimizing for performance on this network. If you want to measure performance on the Display Network, we recommend focusing on metrics such as conversions and ROI. Read more on how to evaluate ad performance on the Display Network.
How ads cycle through the search result pages
|Ads cycle through the search result pages based on their Ad Rank. The ad with the highest Ad Rank appears in the first eligible position on the search results page. The ad with the second-highest Ad Rank appears beneath it, and so on down the page.
When a customer browses to subsequent search result pages (for example, they click Next to see additional pages of search results), the following two rules typically apply for which ads are eligible to show where:
- “Top” placement (top of the page): All high-ranking ads are eligible to show in the top positions, provided they exceed a certain Quality Score and cost-per-click (CPC) bid threshold. Up to three ads can show in the top positions on each page.
- “Other” placement (side or bottom of the page): The side and bottom of a search results page is recorded as“Other” in your AdWords statistics, and can show up to eight ads. Typically, ads that haven’t previously appeared in the side or bottom placements are eligible to appear in the side or bottom. For example, if an ad appeared on the side of Page 1, it typically won’t appear on the side for Page 2 or later.
Here’s an example to help you understand how ads cycle through the search result pages.
Ads 1-25 are available to show for a certain search term, and ads 1-7 are eligible for the top spots. The ads can be ranked on the page like this:
|Page||Top spots||“Other” spots|
|Page 1||Ads 1-3||Ads 4-11|
|Page 2||Ads 1, 2, 4||Ads 3, 12-18|
|Page 3||Ads 1, 2, 5||Ads 19-25|
Because Quality Score and thresholds are recalculated on every page, ads may sometimes appear in a top spot on one page and then again in an “Other” spot on a subsequent page (or appear in the “Other” spot on one page, and then again in a top spot on the next page). An ad typically will only be shown once in an “Other” spot and will not appear again in that spot on subsequent pages.
Where to find your average ad position
In your AdWords account, you can easily see what your average ad position is. Let’s walk through the steps to view your average position:
- Sign in to your AdWords account at http://adwords.google.com.
- Click the Campaigns tab at the top.
- Look for the Avg. Pos. column in the statistics table. If you don’t see this column in your table, you can add this column by clicking the Columns button in the toolbar above the statistics table.
You can also click the Ads or Keywords tab to see your average position by ads or by keywords. To see how often your ads have appeared on the top of the page, on the side of the page, or on the bottom of the page, you can segment your data.
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Issues with fluctuating impressions
If your ad or keywords aren’t receiving enough impressions, there might be a simple explanation. Fundamentally, the number of impressions that your ads receive is based on the number of times people search on terms related to your keywords, and how successful your keywords are at triggering your ads instead of the ads of your competitors. Constant variations in web traffic, customer behavior, and web content all also contribute to the normal fluctuations in your impressions.
The choices that your competitors make can affect your impressions. New competitors or competitors who adjust their existing accounts can influence how many impressions your ads receive. For example, your biggest competitor might decide to raise their bids, pushing your ad off of the first page of search results. You might then notice a decrease in impressions. Because many ad impressions come from the first page of Google search results, when you raise your bid, you increase the likelihood of your ad appearing on the first page and receiving more impressions.
Temporary events can also have a large impact. Think about holidays or popular news topics: they may dramatically influence your impressions (as well as your clicks!). During the holiday season, advertisers for decorations and seasonal trees can experience significant changes in the number of visitors to their sites. Another example would be a popular celebrity endorsing a particular clothing brand; in this case, advertisers of this brand may then receive more impressions.
Fluctuations on the Display Network
Occasionally, Google makes minor adjustments to how ads are targeted and ranked on the Display Network. As a result, you may notice fluctuations in your Display Network impressions, clicks, or average cost-per-click for a short time. However, these fluctuations are normal and are solely intended to improve your overall ad performance. Maintaining high ad quality is important to us, and these quality evaluation changes help ensure that advertisers run successful, cost-effective campaigns while maintaining a positive customer experience.
Lower impressions than estimated by the Keyword Planner
You might notice that the number of impressions that the Keyword Planner gives you is larger than the actual number of impressions your ads receive. There are a few reasons why this can occur. Limiting your budget or setting up ad scheduling so that your ads only run at certain times will limit the impressions you receive, which the tool don’t take into account.
How Google Instant measures ad impressions
When someone searches on Google using Google Instant, ad impressions are measured differently. These actions count as impressions:
- The customer begins to type a search on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spelling correction, a related search).
- The customer chooses a particular search suggestion by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter or selecting one of the predicted searches.
- The customer stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.
We recommend monitoring your ads’ performance the same way you usually do. Google Instant might increase or decrease your overall impression levels. However, Google Instant can improve the quality of your clicks since it helps people search using terms that more directly connect them with the answers they need. Therefore, your overall campaign performance could improve.
- Learn what impression share is and how to measure it
- Solve issues related to clicks and click-through rate
- Find out why you might see differences between AdWords and third-party data
- Get to know Keyword Planner
Tracking impression share
Impression share (IS) is the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. Data is available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.
An easy way to understand the value of impression share is to think of the online advertising landscape as a delicious pie. You and your competitors are each trying to grab the biggest slice of that pie. By tracking your impression share metrics, you’re keeping tabs on the size of your slice compared to the whole.
Available network-specific impression share metrics include:
- Search impression share: The impressions you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
- Display impression share: The impressions you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
- Search Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Search Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only.
- Display Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Display Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only.
- Search Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Search Network due to poor Ad Rank. Note: Lost IS (rank) won’t be shown on your Ad groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined.
- Display Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Display Network due to poor Ad Rank. Note: Lost IS (rank) won’t be shown on your Ad groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined.
- Search Exact match IS: The impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive on the Search Network for search terms that matched your keywords exactly (or were close variants of your keyword).
View impression share data
- Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
- Click the Campaigns tab.
- Click the Columns button above your statistics table, then choose “Customize columns” from the drop-down.
- Click Competitive metrics, then add the Impression share columns you are interested in.
- Click Save. Impression share data will now appear in your statistics table.
- To download the data in a report, click the download button in the toolbar above the table.
You can view impression share data for specific ad groups and keywords by enabling the “Impression share” column on the Ad groups and Keywords tabs. You can also view impressions share data on the Campaigns tab and on theDimensions tab “Time” reports.
All impression share metrics are updated once per day, at approximately 1pm Pacific Time [GTM-8]. As a result, the impression share data you see won’t reflect the current day, and it may not include the previous day’s impression share as well (if you are running your report before 1pm). For example, Impression share data for Monday won’t be available until after 1pm on Tuesday.
Data for impression share columns is available from October 2012 to the present.
Using auction insights to compare performance
The Auction insight report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions that you are. With the Auction insights report, you can see how often your ads rank higher in search results than those of other advertisers, and how your share of total possible impressions compares with theirs. This information can help you make strategic decisions about bids, budgets, and keyword choices by showing you where you are succeeding and where you may be missing opportunities for improved performance. This report is available at the keyword, ad group, and campaign levels.
Auction insights statistics
The Auction insights report provides five different statistics: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page rate. You can generate a report for one or more keywords, ad groups, or campaigns (as long as they meet a minimum threshold of activity for the time period selected), and segment results by time and device.
- Average positionAverage position is a quick way to gauge how high your ads are ranking compared with those of other advertisers competing in the same auctions. Average position is the average rank of the ad in the auctions, which determines the order of the ads on the search results page.
For example, if one of the other participants in your Auction insights report is showing a “5” in the Average position column, this means that participant’s ad showed, on average, in 5th place on search results pages where your ad also showed.
- Impression shareImpression share is the number of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. In the Auction insights report, impression share also tells you the impression share of other advertisers as a proportion of the auctions in which you were also competing.
- Overlap rateOverlap rate is how often another participant’s ad received an impression when your ad also received an impression.
For example, if one of the other participants in your Auction insights report is showing “60%” in the Overlap rate column, this means that in six out of every 10 times your ad showed, an ad from this participant showed as well.
- Position above ratePosition above rate is how often the other participant’s ad was shown in a higher position than yours was, when both of your ads were shown at the same time.
For example, if one of the other advertisers in your Auction insights report is showing “5%” in the Position above rate column, this means that the other participant’s ad showed in a position above yours in 5 out of every 100 times your ads showed at the same time.
- Top of page rateTop of page rate tells you how often your ad (or the ad of another participant, depending on which row you are viewing) was shown at the top of the page, above the unpaid search results.
This report provides information on other advertisers who participated in the same auctions as you. This does not indicate that the other advertisers have the same keywords, match types, or other targeting settings as you. The other advertisers’ metrics shown are based only on instances when your ads were also estimated to be eligible to appear. This report will not reveal the actual keywords, quality, bids, or settings from your campaigns, and it will not give you insight into the same information for others.
While this information is already available by searching on Google — and many already attempt to estimate this data by scanning the ads that appear — this report will make it easier to access and understand this information. It’s free to advertisers whose keywords, ad groups, and campaigns have a minimum threshold of activity.
Find your Auction insights reports
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Using free clicks data
Some ads have extra flair, be it a short video, or an expandable image. If you’ve created ads like these, some of the possible customer interactions with those ads may be free. These free interactions won’t appear automatically in your account statistics tables, but you can customize your view of your data in order to see them.
Knowing how customers interact with your ads can help you understand which formats catch their attention and which parts of your ads keep customers paying attention. This can further help you understand what keeps them focused on your ad, and what makes them clickthrough to your site. You can use this information to refine your ads to a style that your customers find the most engaging.
Find your free clicks data
Just follow these steps:
- Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com.
- Click the Campaigns tab. If you want to see data for a specific campaign or ad group, click its name in the panel on the side of the page.
- Click the Dimensions tab.
- Click the “View” menu in the toolbar.
- Select Free clicks.
- Your statistics table will contain the columns and metrics displayed in the table for free clicks, impressions, and free click type and rate.
- Once your statistics table looks the way you want, you can download the data in a report. Just click the download button .
Understanding how free clicks and interactions work
A click is also an “ad interaction.” Any time a customer places their cursor over your ad, they are interacting with the ad, whether they click the ad or not. If they click on certain portions of the ad, and the ad is interactive, some of those interactions will be free. In those cases the interaction is considered a “free click.”
If your ad is an expandable image ad, you won’t be charged if a customer clicks on your ad to expand the image within the ad, since that is the interactive nature of the ad format.
Depending on the ad format, you’ll be charged if the customer completes an ad interaction that connects them with your business or service or with the key customer interaction the ad has been designed for.
- A click on the headline of a standard text ad will take the customer to your ad’s landing page. This is a standard clickthrough for which you’ll be charged.
- If a customer clicks your ad to initiate your AdWords for video ad content, you won’t be charged right away. However,you’ll be charged if the viewer continues to watch the video for a minimum amount of time.