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Top Ads Redefined: Google Expands Placement in Search Results

A shift in search ads: Google now defines “top ads” as those that can appear either above or below organic listings.

Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Product Liaison, announced on LinkedIn in a public post that Google has updated the definition of top ads.

The update focuses on defining “top ads” for search ads only and it doesn’t include Shopping as well. Now, it’s clear that these ads can appear either above or below organic results depending on the search term.

The update is a terminology change, not a change to how your ads work. The way performance is tracked remains the same.

You can find the new definition on the Google Help Center.

“Top ads are adjacent to the top organic search results. Top ads are generally above the top organic results, although top ads 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.”

Why do Top & Absolute metrics matter?

Top & Absolute Top metrics are one of the most important ones when it comes to being relevant to optimizing Google Ads campaigns.

Search Top Impression Share is the percentage of impressions you receive at the top of the search engine. When your ad appears above the organic searches, it will automatically generate impressions.

Search Absolute Top Impression Share is similar to Search Top Impression Share, but it refers to only the impression share your ad received while ranking in the first position among the top positions on the page.

Our advice? Aim for a high percentage in both Top Impression Share (Top IS) and Absolute Top Impression Share (Absolute Top IS). These metrics focus on where your ads appear on the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) – above or below organic results – rather than how they rank compared to other ads.

Why is the “Top Ads” new definition important?

This update is key for reaching your target audience effectively.

Knowing where your ads appear on the search results page (above or below organic results) is crucial. This lets you fine-tune your campaigns for better click-through rates (CTR).

By understanding the difference between “top” and “absolute top” metrics, you can make smarter decisions about your bidding strategies and where you want your ads to show up.

Why you should monitor these metrics?

By understanding “top impression share” and “absolute top impression share,” you can see where your ads land on search results (above or at the very top). This lets you tweak your bidding to get your ads in the most impactful spots and boost clicks (CTR).

Plus, tracking these metrics helps you identify areas for improvement. Are budget limitations or low Ad Rank preventing your ads from reaching the top? By optimizing these factors, you’ll increase your chances of appearing among the top ads and get all the attention you need from people searching for your offer.


Remember, the definition of “top ads” now reflects the changing search landscape. Adapt your strategy accordingly to ensure your ads appear in the most impactful positions.

Top Impression Share and Absolute Top Impression Share help you understand where your ads were placed in the search results and also provide valuable insights into your campaign’s performance.

By understanding these changes and continuously refining your bidding strategies and competitive analysis, you can ensure your Google Ads stay ahead of the curve and deliver exceptional results.

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Denisa C.