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  • Writer's pictureFilippo Milano

Impression Share & Budgeting

Updated: Feb 1

Written by Filippo Milano @MYDIGITALIN

Online advertising is booming but, when you're launching digital campaigns, you want to be sure you're maximizing your efforts — and your profits — by boosting your ad's impression share. Your impression share tells you how well your ad is performing compared to its total potential audience, and boosting it can help increase engagement as well as profit.

If you're only engaging a small portion of your target audience, then analysing your impression share is usually a good place to start. Increasing this value will help you propel ads to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) — and ultimately generate more engagement for your campaigns.

In this post, we'll explain what impression share is as well as the different types that your marketing team can track during your online ad campaigns.

What is Impression Share?

Impression share is an ad metric that compares the performance of your ads against the performance of other ads in its category. This is calculated by comparing its total number of impressions to the number of impressions that it has the potential to receive.

When you track impression share, you have a clear representation of how well your ad is performing and how you can improve it over time — particularly through keywords. While there are plenty of metrics that can track how well your ads are doing, impression share helps you identify the shortcomings of your ad so you can fix it and make it more engaging to your audience.

Read on to learn about the different types of impression share that your business can track to generate more engagement for its ad campaigns.

Types of Impression Share:

  1. Search Impression Share

  2. Target Impression Share

  3. Search Lost Impression Share (Budget)

  4. Search Lost Impression Share (Rank)

Search Impression Share

Search impression share is your ad's impression share on a search network. According to Google, a search network is "a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear," including Google search results, Google apps such as Maps and Shopping, and on Google search partners' websites. This metric divides the impressions that your ad receives by the number of impressions it could receive on the search network.

This metric is greatly impacted by budget. If you have a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer be shown once you hit your budget. This means your ad might be getting impressions, but it's still missing out on more engagement because of this daily limit.

If you're not looking to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve search impression share is to focus on the quality score, target, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics gauge the effectiveness of your ad and improving them will lead to more engagement.

Target Impression Share

Target impression share provides an automatic approach to bidding on ads. With this tool, you can set automated bids for your campaign, which gives your ad a better chance of reaching the top of the SERP and, with a more prominent position on a search results page, your ad is likely to gain more impressions over time.

Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track target impression share for all of your campaigns at once. There are plenty of options for customizing it, too. For example, you can set it to bid for a certain section of the page — like the top half — or for certain times and places.

About Target impression share bidding

When we talk about Impression Share the main and big topic is budget, what is the right amount or percentage of budget we should allocate to our campaigns?

First of all run a report using the most important columns "Search Impression Share, Search Lost Impression Share (Budget), Search Lost Impression Share (Rank)".

Search Lost Impression Share (Budget)

The "Search Lost Impression Share (budget)" column shows you the percentage of impressions that you're missing out on because of your budget. A high percentage here may mean that investing in a larger budget could boost your advertising efforts and sales in the long-run.

Search Lost Impression Share (Rank)

The "Search Lost Impression Share (rank)" column shows you the number of impressions you're losing based on a low rank. If this percentage is high, advertisers should consider how to boost rank through quality score and cost-per-click rates. Quality score evaluates your keywords' past performances, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected clickthrough rate.

Consider making adjustments to your campaign's keywords and creative assets if your search lost impression share (rank) is high. A relevant ad with great keywords will rank higher on the SERP, which can lead to more impressions, clicks, and sales.

If you want to manually determine the impression share for an ad, below is a formula that can help you calculate it.

We can also modify this formula to find the total number of impressions that our ad is eligible for. For instance, if we already know our impression share, we can reformat the formula to look more like this.

When your campaign is losing impression share to ad rank, it means that your keywords are entering the auction with an ad rank that isn’t high enough to win you an impression some percentage of the time. Google uses the following formula to calculate ad rank:

Ad Rank = Max CPC Bid x Quality Score

Therefore, there are two levers we can pull to increase impression share when it is being lost to low ad rank.

1) Increase Max CPC bids. This is the quick and dirty way to improve your ad rank and get a higher impression share. By simply increasing your Max CPC bids, you’ll improve your ad rank by telling Google you’re willing to pay more per click. If your keywords already have a good Quality Score but are getting few impressions and/or a low average position, that’s a good indication that raising your bids is necessary to maximize their performance.

2) Improve Quality Score. This is the more cost-effective way to improve ad rank and thereby increase impression share. If you can boost your keyword’s Quality Score, you’ll be able to achieve a higher ad rank without having to spend more money. Look for opportunities to split your ad groups into smaller, more tightly-themed groups of keywords so that you can write more relevant Expanded Text Ads and landing page copy. Ensure that you are utilizing ad extensions, as those will contribute to a higher click-through rate which in turn will improve your Quality Score.

Keep a close eye on your impression share graphs as you make these adjustments to your bids and optimize for Quality Score. If your changes are having the desired effect, you should see a decrease in the yellow portions of those graphs and an increase in the green.

Read more about:


Spend to Maximise Impression Share

Optimise Display Network ads and campaigns

Paid Search Strategy: Planning Phase

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