In search results, Google updates its definition of ‘top ads’

Google’s definition of top ads in search results has been modified.

A public service announcement was made by Google Ads Liaison Ginny Marvin on X (previously Twitter) and said the following:

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We’ve updated the definition of top ads to better reflect how ads can appear in Google Search today.

As an FYI, we have revised the definition of top ads to more accurately reflect current advertising practices in Google Search.
As advertisements may show up above or below the organic result for specific queries, take note that this is merely a definitional change that has no bearing on how performance metrics are calculated.

— AdsLiaison (@adsliaison) March 27, 2024

This update modifies definitions only; it has no bearing on the methodology used to determine performance metrics.

A Google Help Centre page has updated the definition, which now says:

The top organic search results are accompanied by top ads. Although they occasionally appear below the top organic results for specific queries, top ads are typically displayed above the top organic results. The user’s search may have an impact on where the top ads appear.

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Recognizing Absolute and Top Metrics

Additional information about top and absolute top metrics—a collection of prominence metrics that help advertisers understand where their ads appear on the page—can be found on Google’s support page.

The two crucial measurements are:

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

Advertisers can better understand the possibility of their ads triggering among top ads or in the first position among top ads by using Search top impression share (Search top IS) and Search absolute top impression share (Search abs. top IS).

In contrast to average position, these metrics show the actual placement of ads on the SERPs rather than how they rank in relation to other ads.


Benefit to Advertisers

For marketers and advertisers who depend on Google Ads to connect with their target audience, this update is crucial.

Advertisers looking to enhance their campaigns and increase click-through rates (CTR) should be aware of where their ads appear on the search results page.

Advertisers can make educated choices regarding their ad placement objectives and bidding strategies by understanding the distinction between top and absolute top metrics.

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How You Could Benefit From This

Advertisers can use these metrics to determine how much to bid on ads in order to increase the proportion of their ads that appear either at the top of the list or anywhere among the top ads.

You can find ways to enhance your ad placement and increase website traffic by keeping an eye on your Search top impression share and Search absolute top impression share.

Additionally, you can find areas where your campaign management needs to be improved by comprehending the metrics linked to impression share lost as a result of budget or Ad Rank.

You can raise your chances of showing up among the top ads and enhance the effectiveness of your campaign by optimizing your budget and Ad Rank.



Google has expanded its definition of top ads to include the potential for ads to show up beneath the top organic results for particular queries.

Advertisers can monitor performance with the aid of top and absolute top metrics, which offer insight into ad placement on the search results page.

These metrics are useful for advertisers in a number of ways, including bid target setting, budget identification, Ad Rank optimization, and competitive analysis for more targeted advertising.

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