Google’s New Ad Metrics: What You Need to Know

One of Google’s most popular metrics, the ad position metric, is going away this September. In its place, Google has created a series of new metrics, collectively called the ad prominence metrics. These metrics can give you more insight into how your ad is performing — and help you customize your campaign based on your budget and campaign goals.

Here’s what you need to know:


When it comes to search engine marketing (SEM), where your ads appear on page matters. Ads appearing at the top of the page, above the organic search engine results, are most likely to drive traffic to your website, and create conversions. And being the very first ad to appear is the most coveted spot of all.

You can’t just buy your way to the top though. Each time someone searches for a keyword or phrase you’re bidding on, Google’s complex algorithm kicks in, using a variety of factors to determine how relevant your ad is likely to be to the person searching. These factors can include everything from the person’s location, the time of the search and the device they are using, to your expected clickthrough rate, and how closely your ad and landing page content match what is being searched for. These factors, combined with the price you’re willing to pay for each click, and the price your competitors are willing to pay, determine where your ad ends up on the page.


While the ad position metric told you how your ad was positioned against your competitors, it didn’t tell you where your ads were on the page, which led to a lot of confusion. After all, you could have the top ad position on a page, but still be all the way at the bottom if there was only one ad – which is a big part of the reason Google has changed its metrics. Now, the Top Impression Rate tells you how often your ad appears above the organic search results, and the Absolute Top Impression Rate tells you how often your ad appears in the No. 1 overall spot. These metrics give you a useful, at-a-glance idea of how well your ads are performing both relative to competitors, and according to Google’s algorithms.


If you’re wondering why your ads aren’t appearing above the organic search results or in the No. 1 position as often as you’d like, Google’s new Impression Share metrics can help you figure that out. The Impression Share metrics compare your top and absolute top placements to the number of placement opportunities that were available for your ad.

There are two main reasons why you could be missing out on more top ad placements – either your bids are too low, or your ad rank is poor. And Google’s new metrics even break this down for you, making it easier to identify and address where you could be losing impression share because of budget or rank.

  • Lost Impression Share (Budget) – This metric estimates how often you miss out on better ad placements because of your budget, and is a strong indicator your bids are too low. Raising your bid amounts will help address this, and you might also consider focusing on the most relevant keywords and narrowing your target audience. This will allow you to make higher bids in auctions where prominent ad placements stand the best chance of getting you click-throughs and conversions. This way, your campaign will become more effective, and you won’t have to increase your ad spend.
  • Lost Impression Share (Rank) – This metric estimates how often you miss out on better ad placements because of your ad rank. If this is the case, it’s time to make sure you’re using the right keywords and phrases, and that those keywords are prominent in your ad and landing page content. This will help Google see your ad as more relevant to people searching, which will make it more likely to get displayed at the top of the page.


If you want to get more impressions and improve clickthrough and conversion rates for your search engine marketing campaigns, rely on the digital marketing experts at Lightstream. We have a proven track record of helping our clients get more out of their marketing budgets. Contact us to learn more.