Google Ads click share vs display rates

Written by Sherlock SEO Agency

Every company with ads on Google wants visibility into the positions of search ads relative to competitors. Over the years, Google is providing more and more insight into this. Since last year, Google provides more information to advertisers through the columns (lost) display percentage for top position search network (position or budget) and (expired) display percentage absolute top in search network (position or budget). Google is now rolling out additional information in all search network campaigns via the click share column. But how should all these statistics be used and how do we know what our position is? Before we can answer these questions, we first explain what these competitive statistics mean.

Click share

Click share is already a well-known statistic for some companies because it has been present in Shopping campaigns for years. But what exactly does click share say? The click share is the number of clicks actually received relative to the maximum number of clicks that could have been received. This maximum is determined by the number of impressions and by quality.

In short, it gives insight into whether and how many potential clicks you are leaving out. If the column shows a low percentage then there is still much room for improvement. To increase click share, relevance and quality of ads and extensions as well as bids and budgets can be worked on.

Display rates

Display percentages indicate the percentage of impressions that ads received relative to the total number of possible impressions. Displays depend on quality, targeting, positions and budgets, among other things.

The competitive display rate for top position is an estimate of the number of times an ad was not shown at the top of the page, depending on position or budget.

The competition statistic display rate for absolute top position is an estimate of the number of times an ad was not shown first, , depending on position or budget.

Average position

For a long time, Google provided insight into ad position via the average position column. In it one could read which place an ad occupied in the order of all ads participating in the auction. A position of 3.0 indicated that the ad was displayed 3rd, but this statistic did not indicate where it was displayed (top, bottom or past right) on the page. Unfortunately, this statistic was not always well understood and brought confusion. Google therefore decided to remove this column later this year.

Using competition statistics

The statistics can be read separately but to have optimal insight into position and to improve campaigns, ads and/or keywords they must be combined.

The column average position will disappear later this year, the columns click share and display percentages are the columns of now and the future.

Using two examples, we explain how these competitive statistics can be combined:

A high display rate indicates that the ad is frequently seen by the target audience. In conjunction with a high percentage on top position, we can read that the ad is prominently visible. But if there is a low click share here, then we know that the ads are not appealing enough. At that point, ad and extension relevance and quality must be worked on.

Is there a low display rate but a high click share? Then the ad is often clicked on even though it is shown minimally. At that point, work needs to be done to increase impressions by tinkering with positions and budgets and possibly quality.


It is unfortunate that the average position column is disappearing because the new columns do not provide insight into an ad’s place in the ad order. But looking at the applicability of these old statistics and at the new data, we dare write that the click share and display rates columns provide more insight and more direction in optimizing campaigns.

Would you like to learn more about this topic or take a look at your campaign data together? Then contact the Sherlock team, we are happy to help!

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