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3 Metrics to Make a Good Impression with Google Ads

by | Feb 20, 2020

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You know what makes a good impression with your clients or boss? Having the answer when they want to know what results they can expect if they spend more money on Google Ads. Understanding impression share will go a long way toward finding that answer.

Impression share is based on supply and demand. For example, if your impression share is 50% and the demand for that keyword is 1,000 searches, that means that you supplied 500 impressions. But it also means you lost 500 impressions.

Look at the keywords, ad groups, and campaigns that are performing well. Wouldn’t you like to have more performance like that? By moving spend to high-performing, low-impression-share keywords, you can. 

Using the example above, if you were getting good performance with 500 impressions, there is no reason to think the remaining 500 impressions would not perform well too. There are other account factors that could impact this thought process, but in general the logic is sound.

Google Ads offers nine impression share metrics, but I use three most frequently: Impression Share (IS), Search lost IS (rank), and Search lost IS (budget).

Impression Share

The broadest of the IS metrics, impression share measures the impressions you received in the Search Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.

  • Why Is It Important? Impression share tells you how many additional impressions you could receive for a given keyword or group of keywords, which can help you make better budget allocation and account strategy decisions.
  • How Do You Use It? Use impression share to ensure that money is being spent on the keywords that are performing the best. Maximizing spend to your best performers is an easy account optimization.

Search lost IS (rank)

This metric estimates how often your ad didn’t show on the Search Network due to poor Ad Rank. Google calculates Ad Rank using your bid, ad and website quality, context of search, ad rank thresholds, and expected impact of extensions and other ad formats.

  • Why Is It Important? My head hurts just reading what makes up Ad Rank, though I’m sure all of the pieces do come into play to some degree. The fact is, no one outside of a team of Google Ads engineers knows precisely how Ad Rank works, and not even they could tell you which levers to pull to produce the best results for any given ad. Regardless, this metric is one of the ways Google Ads tells you when you need to improve your Ad Rank.
  • How Do You Use It? The one thing you do have control over is bidding and budget. In my experience, this metric is basically telling you that to get more impressions you need to be more aggressive with your bids at the campaign, ad group or keyword level. For another glimpse into Ad Rank, see “How to Improve Google Ad Rank without Raising Bids.”

Search lost IS (budget)

The metric estimates how often your ad didn’t show on the Search Network due to low budget. It is only available at the campaign level.

  • Why Is It Important? With this metric, Google Ads tells you that you need to raise your budget – in no uncertain terms – to get more impression share.
  • How Do You Use It? Increase budget at the campaign level to gain extra impression share.

In addition to the three metrics above, Google offers six other impression share metrics:

  • Search Top Impression Share
  • Search Absolute Top Impression Share
  • Search Lost Top Impression Share (rank)
  • Search Lost Absolute Top Impression Share (rank)
  • Search Lost Top Impression Share (budget)
  • Search Lost Absolute Top Impression Share (budget)

For more on “top” and “lost” impression share metrics, see “Google Ads Killed Average Position – Use This Instead.”

Evaluating your targeting is a great way to maximize your impression share.

For example, analyze how your campaign performs on different devices. If 60% of your spend is on mobile devices, but only 20% of your sales or leads come from searchers on mobile devices, perhaps a negative bid modifier could help achieve more impression share on devices that convert.

Other targeting can be adjusted to maximize what’s working and minimize what’s not, including:

  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Geolocation

Get to know Google Ads’ impression share metrics. They’ll help you manage and optimize your paid search campaigns so that you can make a great impression.

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