Google Updates Definition Of ‘Top Ads’ In Search Results

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Man using a mobile phone with Google Ads on the screen and in the background a computer showing ad statistics.

Google has changed how it defines top ads in search results.

In a public service announcement on X (formerly Twitter), Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Liaison, stated:

“To better reflect how ads can appear in Google Search today, we’ve updated the definition of top ads.”

This update is a definitional change and does not affect how performance metrics are calculated.

The updated definition, reflected in a Google Help Center page, now reads:

“Top ads are adjacent to the top organic search results. Top ads are generally above the top organic results, although they may show below the top organic results on certain queries. Placement of top ads is dynamic and may change based on the user’s search.”

Understanding Top & Absolute Top Metrics

Google’s support page provides further insight into top and absolute top metrics, which are a set of prominence metrics that give advertisers a sense of their ads’ placement on the page.

The two key metrics are:

  • Search top impression rate – “Impr. (Top) %”
  • Search absolute top impression rate “Impr. (Abs. Top) %”

Search top impression share (Search top IS) and Search absolute top impression share (Search abs. top IS) help advertisers understand the opportunity for their ads to improve triggering among top ads or in the first position among top ads.

Unlike average position, these metrics don’t reflect the order of ads compared to other ads but the actual placement of ads on the SERPs.

Why SEJ Cares

This update is essential for advertisers and marketers who rely on Google Ads to reach their target audience.

Understanding the placement of ads on the search results page can help advertisers optimize their campaigns and improve their click-through rates (CTR).

By knowing the difference between top and absolute top metrics, advertisers can make informed decisions about their bidding strategies and ad placement goals.

How This Could Help You

As an advertiser, you can use these metrics to set your bids to increase the percentage of your ads that either show anywhere among top ads or at the first position among top ads.

By monitoring your Search top impression share and Search absolute top impression share, you can identify opportunities to improve your ad placement and drive more traffic to your website.

Additionally, understanding the metrics related to lost impression share due to budget or Ad Rank can help you identify areas for improvement in your campaign management.

Optimizing your budget and Ad Rank can increase your chances of appearing among the top ads and improve your overall campaign performance.

In Summary

Google’s definition of top ads now includes the possibility of ads appearing below the top organic results for specific queries.

Top and absolute top metrics provide insight into ad placement on the search results page, helping advertisers monitor performance.

Advertisers can use these metrics to set bid targets, identify budget limitations, improve Ad Rank, and conduct competitive analysis to refine their advertising strategies.

Featured Image: Alex Photo Stock/Shutterstock

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