Weekly AdWords Optimization Guide: Impression Share

                One of the main keys to a successful AdWords campaign is regularly scheduled optimization. There is limited ad space on the first page of a Google search, and competition for the first three ad spots can be intense. Some optimization tasks require more time to accumulate a critical mass of data and only need to be updated once every couple of weeks, like the topics from our blogs on Adjusting Bids For Tablets or performing Geographic Analysis. Others are best updated weekly in order to maintain healthy campaigns, like performing Regularly Scheduled Ad Rotations and adjusting for Impression Share. In this blog we’ll be focusing on weekly Impression Share optimization and how this commonly overlooked statistic can have a huge impact on the success of an AdWords campaign.

                So what exactly is Impression Share? Google describes it as:

Impression Share (IS) – The number of impression you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impression you were eligible to receive.

                While this is technically accurate, that definition doesn’t make it immediately clear what exactly Impression Share does. Essentially Impression Share is an indicator of the how many searchers saw your ads vs how much searchers COULD have seen your ads. Think of your potential traffic as an entire swimming pool, and Impression Share is the portion of the pool where your ads can currently swim. If your Impression Share is 25%, that would mean that you’re only showing ads to ¼ of your potential traffic, and an Impression Share of 99% means that your ads showed almost every time they had a chance to. There are a number of different Impression Share columns that you can pull out in AdWords, which can be seen in the image below:

Impression Share Columns

Impression Share Columns Definitions:

  • Search Impression Share: The impressions you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the number of impressions you were eligible to receive. So the percentage of users that you showed to vs the total number that you could have shown to.
  • Search Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Search Network due to poor Ad Rank in the auction. Lost IS (rank) won’t be shown on your Ad Groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined. This is a good indicator of how high up the page your ads show on average for the Search Network. A high Search Lost IS (rank) percentage means that your ads are getting outbid by a number of competitors and are rarely showing up on the first page.
  • Search Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Search Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only. This is an indicator of how far into the day your campaign can afford to show ads. If the Search Lost IS (budget) is at 0% then your daily budget never gets fully spent and your ads can afford to show all day long. If your Search Lost IS (budget) is at 50% then your campaign is running out of budget halfway through the day and can’t afford to show at all in the afternoon.
  • Display Impression Share: The impression you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impression you were eligible to receive. So the percentage of users that you showed to vs the total number that you could have shown to.
  • Display Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Display Network due to poor Ad Rank. Lost IS (rank) won’t be shown on your Ad Groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined. This is a good indicator of how high up the page your ads show on average for the Display Network. A high Display Lost IS (rank) percentage means that your ads are getting outbid by a number of competitors and are rarely showing up on the first page.
  • Display Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Display Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only. This is an indicator of how far into the day your campaign can afford to show ads. If the Display Lost IS (budget) is at 0% then your daily budget never getting fully spent and your ads can afford to show all day long. If your Display Lost IS (budget) is at 50% then your campaign is running out of budget halfway through the day and can’t afford to show at all in the afternoon.
  • Search Exact Match IS: The impressions you’ve received divide by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive on the Search Network for terms that matched your keywords exactly (or were close variants of your keyword). Not available for shopping campaigns. This is an indicator of how often people search one of your paid keywords word for word, and now often you missed out on those exact match searches.

                Ideally you’ll want to be checking these columns weekly along with statistics like Cost, Clicks and total Conversions. Impression Share is one of the best indicators of your current position in the AdWords market share, and that insight is vital to maintaining a healthy AdWords campaign. An Impression share that gets above 80% indicates that you’re showing to almost every search term relevant to that campaign and it may be time to expand the keyword list or test out the campaign on another ad platform. An impression share that drops below 10% indicates that you’re only showing to a fraction of that campaigns potential relevant search terms and it may be time to reduce bids or increase the daily budget. These are two extreme examples, but hopefully this provides a jumping off point for utilizing Impression Share during your weekly AdWords optimizations. If you run into any issues and feel like your AdWords campaigns could use a professional touch just contact us at Digital Reach and we’ll walk you through Impression Share and the rest of the industry’s best practices.

 

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