Your Guide to Understanding and Improving Google AdWords Impression Share

Google AdWords impression share is one of your most important AdWords optimization metrics. It points to budget or bid issues that are responsible for non-performing keywords and is therefore a great indicator of whether your ads reach it their potential success.

Simply put impression share (IS) is the number of impressions your ad has gotten, divided by the amount of impressions it could have received.

Impression share = impressions / total eligible impressions

Where ‘eligible impressions’ is based on a number of factors including your campaign’s targeting settings, approval statuses, the quality of your ads and keywords (quality scores) and bids.

So, Why is AdWords Impression Share Important?

Because IS points to the overall performance of your campaign. It tells you:

1. Effectiveness of Your Keyword Set

If you have a low impression share and ad performance for both Exact and Broad Match, despite a good budget, this tells you that your coverage is weak.

2. Points to Missed Opportunities

If your ads are performing well, despite your impression share being low, this tells you that by increasing your budget you’ll be able to get higher conversion.

Types of AdWords Impression Shares

AdWords impression share can be broken down into the following important IS metrics, all of which give you valuable insight into your campaigns.

Display Impression Share

This is your IS for campaigns running on Display Network.

Display Lost Impression Share (Budget)

This is impression percentage that, due to insufficient budget, you lost out on for your Display Network Campaigns.

Display Lost Impression Share (Rank)

This is the impression percentage that, due to low ad ranks, you lost out on for your Display Network campaigns.

Search Impression Share

This is your IS for campaigns running on Search Network.

Search Lost Impression Share (Budget)

This is impression percentage that, due to insufficient budget, you lost out on for your Search Network campaigns.

Search Lost Impression Share (Rank)

This is the impression percentage that, due to low ad ranks, you lost out on for your Search Network campaigns.

Ok, But How Do I See My AdWords Impression Share?

Open your AdWords Dashboard and click on the ‘Campaigns’ tab. Then click the ‘Columns’ button.

Then click on ‘modify columns,’ which appears in the drop-down menu, as shown above. From the options, choose ‘Competitive metrics,’ then select which IS you wish to monitor and save to ensure those metrics show in your statistics table.

You can then download data that includes your impression share by hitting the download button in your AdWords dashboard toolbar, like so:

Once you are able to see and evaluate your AdWords Impression Share, you should be checking these stats on a regular basis. This will ensure that you can then make improvements to your campaigns to improve this metric, and ensure your campaigns are continuously performing at their peak potential.

Tip: Bear in mind that Impression Share Metrics are by campaign type and reported separately, and that these metrics are updated once a day: at about 1 pm Pacific Time [GMT-8]

Tips to Improve Your Adwords Impression Share

1. Check Your Quality Score

If you have a campaign with a low Impression Share (Rank), but good keyword performance, then you may need to update your text and/or landing page. Keep a close watch on your Quality Score for fluctuations week to week.

2. Check Your Budget Caps

As we mentioned above, if you have a well-performing ad with a low impression share, it is pointing to insufficient budgets. You can double check this by looking at your Impression Lost (Budget) data to see what the gap is, and help you adjust.

3. Give Exact Match Priority

When it comes to AdWords Search Impression Share, you will want to prioritize the Exact Match Impression Share metric to see which keywords are performing and which are not. For those exact keywords you could increase bids to improve your impression share and overall campaign performance.

4. Improve Ad Rank by Improving Quality Score

If you have low stats for your Impression Share Lost (Rank), this means your impressions are low due to your Ad Rank. You can improve Ad Rank by improving your Quality Score - which means ensuring your headlines and text are relevant to your keywords and the URL users are being sent to. To learn more about this visit our comprehensive adwords guide.

5. Adjust Your Location Targeting

If you’re showing ads to disinterested people, your impression share will suffer. If you notice a dip in impression share when you’ve added or taken away a location targeting, this could be a sign that that region may not be interested in what you have to sell.

6. Adjust Ad Delivery Acceleration

By selecting accelerated over standard ad delivery you can increase your impression share if you are running ‘all features’ ad types.

Ultimately, like with everything to do with AdWords and other PPC ads testing, optimization and tweaking is key to ensuring you’re getting the results you want for the budget you have. Therefore, not all of the above may work for your ads or product specifically; you will need to test and tweak until you find the best impression share for your specific online store brand.

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