Every business wants to have their advertisements shown in key locations when it appears online. Advertising platforms like Google and Microsoft Advertising use this desire to their advantage by telling people when their ads get high placement and encouraging higher bids to achieve the desired results. However, the companies have been accused of confusing advertisers by the way they talk about the top placement. Taking a page from its competitor’s book, Microsoft Advertising is making ad positions in search results easier to understand.

Last year, Google redefined the way it used terms like “top position” to better reflect what advertisers expected when such a term is used. Microsoft Advertising made a similar announcement last week that will reshape the way advertisers are shown metrics about ad performance. They’ve introduced a series of “prominence metrics” (formerly known as share of voice) to make insights more transparent.

In a post announcing the initiative, Microsoft’s Nahva Tecklu wrote, “Understanding where your ads appear on search result pages is important. It can help you diagnose fluctuations in ad performance or signal if it’s time to make changes to your bids. Now, Microsoft Advertising offers metrics that will provide clearer insight on where your ads appear on search result pages and help you to better optimize your performance.”

These prominence metrics can now be viewed in the Campaign, Ad Group, and Keyword tabs within the company’s Microsoft Advertising account. The revamped prominence 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; and Absolute top impression share lost to budget.

As was noted in media reports on the updates, “A ‘top’ impression refers to any position in the top section of search results. An ‘absolute’ top impression means the ad was the first thing shown in search results.”

Microsoft acknowledges that many of the changes, such as the renaming of some metrics and the removal of others, bring the platform more in line with Google. However, there is one old metric that Microsoft is keeping, which they say sets them apart from Google.

As Teklu noted in the post, “One key metric that will remain in your reporting is average position, as we’ve heard continuous feedback that shows this information is still very valuable to you.”

Though it still trails Google, Microsoft Advertising is a useful tool for businesses that want to diversify their advertising portfolio and reach audiences that are missed by all the companies that only advertise with Google and Facebook.

Creating these prominence metrics will make it easier for advertising managers to see the value of their Microsoft Advertising campaign. It will also make it simpler to see which budget adjustments have the most effect on ad results.

For more news about changes to the PPC advertising market, read this article on Google’s plan to create display ads for live events on YouTube.