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Understanding Competitive Metrics: 4 Components Of Impression Share

By Expert Author: Jeff Morgan

In Google AdWords, impression share (IS) is measured by dividing the number of impressions you’ve received by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. IS can be viewed at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels of any AdWords account under the Competitive metric tab.

There are many different available network-specific IS metrics, and they each have their own use. For example, search impression share at the campaign level can be used as a quick reference to check your share of voice for active campaigns within your account. Impression share is based on your geo-targeting, bids, and quality score, but can also be affected by keyword match types and the competition for keywords based on your current targeting. For instance, broad match keywords are eligible to show up in more auctions, which can lead to matching less relevant search queries. Broad match terms can also lower overall impression share for campaigns that have limited budgets. Start campaigns with medium-to-long-tail phrase and exact keywords before using broad or broad match modified keywords.

Overall impression share is a great tool to measure the success of your accounts. Here is quick explanation of each impression share metric available in AdWords:

Search impression share: For SI share you take the impressions you have received on the Search Network and divide them by the number of impressions you were permitted to receive.

Think of this as your share of voice relative to the competitors in your PPC digital marketplace.

Search Lost IS (budget): Take the percentage of time that your ads weren’t displayed on the Search Network due to insufficient budget. Be mindful this data will only be available at the campaign level.

When campaign budgets are exhausted you miss out on impressions in your marketplace. Look to tighten up targeting and mine search term reports to add negative keywords.

Evaluate overall keyword structure/performance before recommending additional budgets. Also, use controls like ad scheduling and bid adjustment by location to reach the most relevant target audience at the right time.

Search Lost IS (rank): This is the percentage of time that your ads weren't displayed on the Search Network because of poor Ad Rank. Note: if you ran out of budget at any time during the date range being observed, Lost IS(rank) will not be shown on your Ad groups tab.

Improve quality scores of keywords by grouping and matching them to relevant ads and test landing pages before increasing bids to improve Ad Rank.

It is important to understand the goals of your client before bidding up to improve Ad rank for multiple campaigns.

Search Exact match IS: This is impressions you've received divided by the projected number of impressions you were eligible to receive on the Search Network for search terms that matched the keywords exactly (or were close variations of your keywords listed).

Look to improve Search Exact match IS. Mine search term reports and add multiple variations of current keywords to pick up on exact match end user searches.

Medium and long tail exact match keywords will help you gain efficiencies when volume of traffic is available as high CTRs will drive efficient clicks.

Tracking impression share metrics will help you determine the overall effectiveness of keywords, ad groups, and campaigns. Digital marketing companies use these enhanced competitive metrics to not only gain insight into how you stack up against competitors within the digital marketplace but to actively manage your campaigns. Still, impression share reporting is just one piece of the overall puzzle used to optimize performance and make recommendations to get the best results for your paid search dollar.

Search Optics Inc. is a leader in digital marketing solutions for the automotive industry. Search Optics’ car dealer SEO services include custom websites, search engine optimization, paid search and mobile solutions that generate leads which result in sales opportunities. Search Optics specializes in car dealer marketing and automotive SEO services.

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