Search Updates: March 2021

Search Updates: March 2021

Microsoft Ads is Removing Average Position

Average Position, a statistic that describes how your ad typically ranks against other ads, was removed from Google Ads in September of 2019. It was removed because the functionality of this metric does not extend beyond the ambiguousness of an advertiser’s ad position. Simply put, an Average Position of 1 does not mean an advertiser’s ad is always at the first ad position above organic results on the first page.

Prior to the removal of Average Position, Google Ads released two position metrics: Search Absolute Top Impression Rate and Search Top Impression Rate. These metrics provided advertisers a better understanding of how often their ads lay at the very first ad above organic results and also how often their ads lay at any position above the organic results. Sunsetting Average Position helped redirect the focus to these new metrics which provide advertisers a clearer and fuller picture of where their ads appear. It also opened up Target Impression Share, a form of automatic bidding that allows advertisers to set bids with the goal of showing your ad on the absolute top of the page, on the top of the page, or anywhere on the page of Google search results.

Microsoft Ads also released the Top Impression Share metric and the Absolute Top Impression Share metric in 2019. Seeing how popular and successful these new metrics are, Microsoft Ads decided to change their stance on the importance of the average position metric and will be deprecating it this April 2021. This change will be most impactful on advertisers who still use average position to evaluate the success of their campaigns.

Metrics will come and go as the ad industry evolves but Search and Destroy does feel this change will be beneficial for advertisers. By diverting the attention from Average Position to Top Impression Share and Absolute Top Impression Share, campaigns can be optimized better with the capability to mine more qualified data.

France and Spain Surcharges in Google Ads

Back in November of 2019, Google started charging advertisers Digital Services Tax (DST) in addition to advertisers’ advertising costs for the following three countries: Austria, United Kingdom, and Turkey. According to Google, these new surcharges are associated with the cost of doing business in these countries and are subjected to any taxes, such as sales tax, VAT, GST, or QST. In May of this year, Google will start charging for two more countries (France and Spain). These surcharges are calculated from the number of impressions or clicks that were served in their respective countries. France and Spain will have a 2% regulatory operating cost like the UK while Austria and Turkey will continue to have a 5% regulatory operating cost.

Advertisers can find the amount in the monthly invoice/statement or in the “Transactions” section in their Google Ads account. Advertisers need to be aware that they may still be charged with these non-refundable fees despite not specifically targeting those countries. Even using the strictest location setting, a few impressions or clicks can still slip through. To avoid these charges, Search & Destroy has excluded all five countries from all campaigns and have the strictest location setting assigned to accounts.

Responsive Search Ads Become Default Ad Type for Google Ads

Responsive Search Ads (RSAs) is now the default ad type in Google Ads. Below is Google’s reasoning behind their announcement.

The ways people search continue to change—and COVID-19 has only accelerated the pace of change. For example, searches for "takeout restaurants" have grown over 5000%, while searches for “online learning” have grown over 400% in the last year. Responsive search ads can help you reach more of your customers and grow your business in real time, even as consumer behavior changes.

This decision should not have any detrimental effects on advertisers since RSAs have been around for a while and Google is still allowing advertisers to create expanded text ads. It is simply a continuation of the push towards automation. Advertisers who have yet to adopt RSAs should give it a try. It will test various headlines and descriptions to establish the most promising ad combination for you, something that advertisers need time and effort to do with expanded text ads. Most importantly, Google noted that advertisers can achieve up to 10% more clicks and conversions with RSAs.

We have found success testing RSAs for our clients and are in the process of adopting RSAs across all accounts. For additional information on RSAs, a POV can be found here.