Search Impression Share: Why You Should Care

Search engine marketing is all about the numbers. How often are your ads being shown? How often are they being clicked on? How many of those clicks convert to a specific action? You can track these metrics through Google AdWords. Each one contains insights into specific aspects of your campaign’s performance, but it all starts with impression share: the number of times your ads trigger in live search divided by the number of times they were eligible to run.

In the live-auction format of search engine marketing you’re competing for impressions on every relevant search. How does your campaign stack up? You can track impression share through AdWords, and we incorporate this level of detail in all our reporting:

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Once you know how often your ads are being shown, look for opportunities to improve your exposure. Often times you’ll find that your impression share is limited by budget, but before you start increasing daily budgets and your overall spend, look for opportunities to stretch your current budget by:

  • Reviewing the search query report and identifying negative keywords

  • Adding area exclusions to your targeting at the campaign level

  • Customizing your ad schedule to run on the days and times that make sense for your specific industry and goals

After making the necessary adjustments, evaluate the impact on impression share. If you find that your ads are consistently missing out on relevant search traffic, reference the recommended daily budget in AdWords. From there you can incrementally increase budgets until you’re maximizing your opportunity by achieving 100% impression share:

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The goal of any well-run search engine marketing campaign should be to maximize exposure so that you can meet your goals for a desired action. Understanding your campaign’s impression share can be the difference between finding the ceiling for your campaign and not finding your ads at all.