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Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 1
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

I'm trying to find a Google document that clearly states that, under the Average Position metric, values 1, 2 and 3 are categories reserved for the first 3 spots at the top of the page. The clearest explanation that I've found from Google is in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HE6KC7AsTw) which defines ad positions as "the order in which your ad appears on a page in relation to other ads." So by this definition, if my ad was the first ad that was shown, but it happened to be off the the side, it could still be considered ad position 1 since that is its position relative to all of the other ads that were shown.

 

I'm looking for something conclusive from Google that states that ad position "4" means that an ad was the first ad on the side of the page, and ad position "3" means that 3 ads were shown at the top of the page and that the ad was last one at the top. Something that clearly states that the numerical ad position values assigned under the Average Position metric are reserved slots that have a clearly defined position on the SERP and not just relative values. Right now I'm not convinced that if my ad position says "3" that this means it's showing up in the 3rd slot at the top of the page and not just the 3rd ad relative to all of the ads that were shown (so it could possibly be off to the side).

 

Thanks for the help.

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Accepted by topic author Alex K
September 2015

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

http://adwords.blogspot.ro/2011/04/understanding-average-position-metric.html

 

"This means that an ad in auction position 1 will always be the first ad shown on the page, but it can occur in two possible page positions: as the first ad above the search results or as the first ad on the right-hand side when there are no ads above the search results. This distinction is important, since, on average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side. "

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Re: Confused about Ad Position - Reserved or Relative?

Badged Google Partner
# 2
Badged Google Partner
Alex,

Since Ads are shown through multiple data centers, and multiple formats based on upon user query terms as well as filters, format tests.

https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/87402

When a user browses to subsequent search results 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 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 hold up to eight ads. Only 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 won't appear on the side for Page 2 or later.
Let's demonstrate the above with an example:

Ads 1-25 are available to show for a certain search query, and ads 1-7 are eligible for the top spots. The ads can be ranked on the page like this:

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 recomputed 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 will only be shown once in an "Other" spot and will not appear again in that spot on subsequent pages.

=============
TO Me:

That means the 3rd Ad is the 3rd most relative but could be seen on the "Other" or side bar at times especially on Page 2 in the example.

However I have seen so many different versions with just one top ad, or just 3 bottom ads, or all just side ads. it's hard to tell...

I have not seen anything definite though Either.

another link.
https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/1722122

Re: Confused about Ad Position - Reserved or Relative?

Participant ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Participant ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Alex,

To add to Eric's excellent answer, below are several links you may find useful.  One thing I always find helpful is to run a report and see where my Ads were placed on the page vs Average Position.  Using the Segment feature in AdWords, you can "...find out where your ad appeared on Google's search results pages and search partners' pages. Segmenting your data by "Top vs. Other" can help you optimize your search campaigns to serve your ads on the parts of the page that perform best for you."

 

I don't think the exact report you're after exists, but by using Segment you should still be able to get to a lot of the same data.

 

AdWords Average Position

Segment Data to see Ads by Top of Page vs Right Hand Side

Re: Confused about Ad Position - Reserved or Relative?

[ Edited ]
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 4
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆

vkore, thank you for the advice on segmenting "Top vs Other."

 

I guess if I were to get only 1 impression and see an Average Position of 1.0 for my ad, and then segment it "Top vs Other" and see that this 1 impression was categorized under "Other" I would know conclusively that the Average Position values are not married to exact locations on the SERP. But just because I haven't see this example occur doesn't mean that this isn't they way the Average Position value numbering system works (based on what I've read/heard from Google-produced content, which is rather unclear and why I ask if anyone could point me to something conclusive on the matter).

 

Eric, thanks for the reply and the links.

I've read these pages in the past but do not feel that the statements made in these pages explain in full detail the exact meaning behind the numerical values that Google assigns within the average position statistic. Google should give complete examples of common scenarios, like if your ad and one other are the only ads on the SERP, but both of the ads appear off to the side with your ad on top, then although your ad is the first ad relative to all of the ads shown, the numerical ad position value that will be assigned to it (for the Average Position category) will be 4 and not 1. An example like this from Google would be something that I would very much appreciate.

 

If anyone could produce a definite answer to this question I would really appreciate it. Because as of right now, I'm not sure whether or not average position values 1-3 mean that these ads are shown 100% of the time at the top of the page.

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

1 to 3 are not always on top. In many auctions ads are only on the RHS and the count starts also from 1.

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by topic author Alex K
September 2015

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

http://adwords.blogspot.ro/2011/04/understanding-average-position-metric.html

 

"This means that an ad in auction position 1 will always be the first ad shown on the page, but it can occur in two possible page positions: as the first ad above the search results or as the first ad on the right-hand side when there are no ads above the search results. This distinction is important, since, on average, ads that appear above the search results tend to get substantially more clicks than ads that appear on the right-hand side. "

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 7
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
Adrian, your comment is exactly what I was thinking! I feel like there is a common misconception regarding the exact meaning behind the numerical values that are assigned under the Avg. Pos. metric. I could be wrong (but from what you're saying I'm not), but I was hoping to get this question definitively cleared up by Google.

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
# 8
Follower ✭ ✭ ☆
Boom! Adrian thanks! That link was spot on. I know for sure that lots of people aren't aware of this and you gave me exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for clearing that up.

Re: Confused about Average Position - Reserved or Relative?

Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Collaborator ✭ ✭ ✭

90% of what I learned about AdWords I owe to the questions posted on this forum which were always a challenge that made me dig up and piece together information old or new, so thank you for asking an interesting thing Smiley Happy