What is a Good Average Position for your Business?

Google defines Average Position as “A statistic that describes how your ad typically ranks against other ads.”

In other words, Ad Position and Average Position tell where your ads are being displayed on the Google Search Network, Google Display Network or Google partners network.

Google provides 8 ad positions on a SERP. Google numbers these ad positions from 1 to 8, 1 being the top-most position above all the other results. And 8 is the bottom-most position. Your ad can be anywhere between 1 to 8. It can also be on the second SERP where the ad positions are numbered 9 to 16.


How Google determines Ad Position?

Ad Position of an advertiser’s ad is determined by the Ad Rank of that particular ad. Google defines your Ad Rank as the product of your Max CPC Bid and the Quality Score of the keyword that triggered an ad.

Ad Rank = Max CPC * Quality Score

What is Average Position?

It is simply the mean average of ad positions of an ad, keyword, ad group or a campaign. It is also important to note that Average Position statics are available for ads and campaigns as a whole too.

A working example to calculate Average Position

Let’s say a search query triggered your a hundred times ( hundred impressions) in the last three hours. Google positioned your ad at 1 twelve times, at 2 twenty-three times, at 3 twenty-seven times, at 4 seventeen times and at 5 twenty-one times.

Ad Position No of Impressions
1 12
2 23
3 27
4 17
5 21
Total Impressions = 100

Avg position =(Ad position * No of Impressions) ÷ Impressions

{(1*12) + (2*23) + (3*27) + (4*17) + (5*21)} 100 = 3.12

I have used a very simple formula to calculate the Average Position. We calculated your Average Position to be 3.12  in the last three hours.

Interpreting Average Position

From the example above, we can see that the Average Position need not necessarily be an absolute figure like 1 or 2. It is mostly a decimal number like 3.12 (from above). What it means is that your ad got the most impression at Ad Position 3.


How to access the Average Position data from your AdWords account?

Average position as a metric is available in almost all views in AdWords including campaigns, ad groups, keywords and ads. One recurring requirement is to observe whether average position changes during the day. You can see that by going to the dimensions tab and segmenting the data by Hour of day.

Average Position

More about Ad Position and Average Position

Till now we focused majorly on ad position in respect to AdWords Search Network. There is a different approach to evaluating the position of your ad listings. Advertisers very popularly call this “Top vs Others”.

To get the data about your ad placements, you can segment your AdWords tables. In the segments tab in your campaigns, select Top vs Others.

Average Position

Here is what Google says about Top vs Others segmentation. “Apply the “Top vs. Other” segment to your statistics tables to find out where your ad appeared on Google’s search results pages and search partners’ pages.”

To add, Google has also provided guidelines to help interpret the data from Top vs Other segmentation. There are five different terms and each of them is explained for easier understanding.

  • Google search: Top – Your ad was displayed above the organic Google search results.
  • Google search: Other – Any AdWords text ads that don’t appear directly above Google search results are categorized as “Google search: Other.”
  • Search partners: Top – Your ad was displayed above the partner’s organic search results on a search partners’ page.
  • Search partners: Other – Ads that don’t appear directly above partner search results are categorized as “Other.”
  • Google Display Network – Your ad ran on the Google Display Network.

All of this is a lot of information, and Average Position is a topic that gets deeper as you dig. Let us consolidate on what we already discussed in the article.

  • Ad Position is dependent on Ad Rank.
  • Google determines Ad Rank using Max CPC Bid and Quality Score.
  • Average Position is the mean average of impressions per Ad Positions.
  • Data related to Average Position is available in under the dimensions tab.
  • Advertisers also use Top vs Other segmentation to evaluate Average Position.

What is a good Average Position?

We have learned different approaches to segment and collect the data. But what is a good Average Position? A good Average Position for your business is where you are making a positive ROI. It need not necessarily be #1.You can understand this when you look at the Cost-Per-Click and Conversions reports. The lower your CPC, the better. In contrast, higher the conversions, the best.

From customer insights, AdNabu suggests that an Average Position of 2 is idle for a balanced progress. Click-through Rate of positions 1 and 2 aren’t significantly different. But to retain the top position, advertisers might end up bidding higher. Unless the Quality Score of an advertiser is exceptionally better than the competition, pushing to get on the top isn’t cost-effective. Top position is no harm as long as it is not draining the budget. If the Average Position is >= 3, AdNabu suggests improving it.  

Moreover, instances where a higher position with lower conversions and a lower position with higher conversions are not new. In such cases, bringing down the position is a must to maintain a good return on the ad spend.

How to adjust Average Position?

To attain a higher Average Position you can either increase the bid or focus on improving the Quality Score. Likewise, to reduce the position, you can bid lower. Also, there might be a situation where Google Search: Top might be performing lower than Search Partners: Top or vice versa. These are a few optimization techniques to keep your Average Position good.

In conclusion, as we all already know, each keyword, campaign, AdWords account, and advertiser are different in their own way. What works best for one need not produce similar results. This blog post is aimed at equipping advertisers with an in-depth knowledge of Ad Rank, Ad Position, and Average Position. We hope that you have learned something new, and can make better decisions when optimizing your campaigns.


About the author

Mantha Sai Praveen

Content marketer by day, a poet by night.