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As we all know, Google Ads announced in February that it will soon be sunsetting Average Position metrics in favour of position-based impression share metrics. Even now, this is still causing debate within the Search community about whether this is the right decision or not. Microsoft Advertising though have decided to give advertisers the best of both worlds by announcing that they will be keeping Average Position metrics alongside these ‘Prominence Metrics’.

Position-based Impression Share metrics are now available in Microsoft Advertising alongside Average Position

A few weeks ago, Microsoft Advertising announced that they have introduced metrics that would provide advertisers with clearer insights on where your ads are appearing on the search engine results page (SERP). With this, Microsoft Advertising has changed these metrics from ‘Share of Voice’ to ‘Prominence Metrics’.

These metrics are:

  • Top impression share.
  • Top impression share lost to rank.
  • Top impression share lost to budget.
  • Absolute top impression share.
  • Absolute top impression share lost to rank.
  • Absolute top impression share lost to budget.

These new metrics can be viewed at Campaign, Ad Group and Keyword level.

Microsoft Advertising - Prominence Metrics

Credit: Microsoft Advertising Blog, 2019

Microsoft recognise that the introduction of these metrics brings them closer to parity with Google when it comes to giving advertisers more information as to where their ads show in the results page. However the main difference with Microsoft is that Average Position will still remain in the interface to the happiness of many advertisers who still value this metric.

What does this mean?

Microsoft Advertising is appealing to the people who are angry at Google Ads. 

Over the past year or two in particular, Microsoft Advertising has really stepped up its game in trying to differentiate itself from Google Ads. Historically, you could argue that Bing Ads (old name for Microsoft Advertising) used to just copy any of the innovations that Google Ads did. However, it’s really started to differentiate itself through creating different ad formats and taking a different stance to Google Ads. This is great to see and of course makes it more appealing to some advertisers who feel as though Google are being less and less transparent with its changes.

Giving us visibility to all of these metrics together gives advertisers more control and better understanding. Microsoft Advertising is positioning itself as the search engine “for the people”

This change, although small, gives advertisers a better sense of control over their activity and placed Microsoft Advertising’s position as the search engine “for the people”. It’s distancing itself away from

Will the Average Position metric last in Microsoft Advertising?

Probably not. Let’s face it, Google Ads made the change to essentially increase revenue. By giving us percentage based metrics, there’s more room for competition and increased use of automation. This then gives Google Ads more control over your advertising spend which could increase their income from advertising. Microsoft’s AI and Machine Learning for advertising isn’t as advanced yet, but as soon as it improves (and it has every indication it will be improving significantly soon) they will no doubt need to revisit this metric to also increase their revenue.

What this current stance means is that it pleases those who are still bitter with Google Ads for removing these metrics, whilst also pleasing those who are happy about its removal. I’d expect sometime in 2020 we’ll be having a conversation about how Microsoft Advertising will be moving away from Average Position metrics, once bitter advertisers have calmed down and got used to the idea.

What do you need to do?

Our recommendations are the same as they were in February for the Google Ads announcement.

  1. Continue to protect your Brand keywords with ‘Absolute Top’ metrics.
  2. Your Paid vs Organic testing may need to be revised.
  3. Watch out for Competition. It might increase indirectly.
  4. Audiences and Signals are more important than ever. Make sure you are utilising all of the Audience Types you can.
  5. Revise the way you look at Auction Insights
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Dan Roberts

Founder & Author at PPC hubbub
Dan has worked across different agencies in the UK for over 6 years. He was awarded Rising Star at The Drum Search Awards in 2015. Google voted him as one of the Top 20 Search Specialists in the UK. He founded PPC hubbub after becoming frustrated with the lack of actionable insight from blogs.

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