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03 Apr 2012

How To Improve Your AdWords Impression Share

April 03, 2012PPC Advertising
Google defines “impression share” as the percentage of impressions that you receive divided by the approximate number of impressions you are eligible to obtain. Your eligibility is determined using data from both ad group and campaign levels, as well as many factors including target settings, bids, and Quality Scores, just to name a few. Total impression share is divided amongst every account advertising online. Basically, you and your competitors are fighting to gain the largest total impression share within the online advertising universe in an effort to reach the most people possible.
 
The best way to ensure that you gaining a large portion of that total impression share is to track your IS Metrics thoroughly, and often. By keeping watch on these numbers, you will see which ads are working most efficiently to secure impressions. To view this data, simply log into your AdWords account and click on the “Campaigns” tab. Click the button labeled “Columns” which you will see above your statistics table. From the drop down menu, select “Customize Columns” then choose the types of Competitive Metrics that you would like to add to your columns.
 
 You can start by adding “Impr. Share”, but you may also want to include other IS metrics like Lost IS (budget), Lost IS (rank) and Exact Match IS. Click Save to add your selected impression share data to your statistics table. Your data is updated once a day to ensure you access to the most accurate share measurements. Check back within the day to determine whether you are looking at the brand new information, as sometimes data can sit for up to 26 hours.
 
The alternative impression share metrics mentioned above can be helpful when measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns. For example, Lost IS (budget) will show you on a campaign level the approximate percentage of time your ads weren’t displayed because of your lacking budget. If you find that you are losing a significant percentage of impressions due to this, consider increasing your budget.
 
Similarly, Lost IS (rank) will present the amount of exposure your ads missed out on because of a less than stellar Ad Rank. You may want to increase your bids or try to increase the overall quality of your campaign to avoid this loss. If your budget also ran out during that time, the data will move over to Lost IS (budget).
 
Exact match IS shows the percentage of impressions that you obtained directly relating to searches for your keywords if they were all converted to exact match. This number is then divided by the number of impressions you could have received. Granted, this type of data is only available for Search Network-related campaigns and ad groups.
 
Although it is a bad practice, if you have ads running on both the Search and Display Networks in the same campaign you can segment your impression share data across networks. If you don’t manually opt to look at these exclusively, you will see your impression share presented as one number within your statistics table. Visit your Campaigns or Ad Groups tab, then click Segment and choose “Network” from the drop down menu options to see the figures broken out for you. You will be able to see historical campaign-level share metrics going back to May of 2011.
 
 If you notice that your Search Network campaigns have lower impression share, try improving the quality of your display ads. If your impression share is poor in your Content campaigns, consider looking at your managed placements. It’s possible that the site restrictions are negatively affecting your overall impression share. If you make adjustments remember to also consider changing your budget to match, if necessary.
 
The key to gaining impression share is being aware of how your ad groups and campaigns are performing. Check these metrics often in order to get the best idea of how to make your campaigns succeed. Being willing to adapt and adjust is exceedingly important as well. As long as you are observant and making ongoing improvements you will have a chance of nabbing a bigger chunk of overall impression share compared to your competitors.