Google Adwords Impression Share (IS)

What is Adwords Impression Share? What does it mean, and how can I take advantage of it? Running a successful Google Adwords campaign involves minimising clicks cost, optimising click throughs, getting great conversions from landing pages and much more. The common denominator in all aspects of Adwords is to…

Measure… measure… measure and then objectively make positive changes and then measure… measure and measure again.

When you’ve been doing this for a while (and the longer the better) it should become very obvious that there is only a single OVERALL variable that you will need to pay close attention to in order to maximise total profit. You rarely hear people discuss this variable.

Let me repeat… this assumes you’ve done a great job of optimising the campaign over a period of months.

The Critical Variable… Impression Share

That variable is called “Impression Share”. In simple terms it means how often your ad is showing relative to the maximum possible times the ad could be shown if Google wanted to show your ad 100% of time for any given search query.

You can see your actual impression share at the campaign level only by selecting the campaign report in the reports section of your Adwords account

Don’t be shocked by the fact that your impression share might even show <10%.

I’m sure you have searched Google for keywords you know you’re bidding on only for your ad not to appear. I have many times!

The reason is that Google decides when it’s worth their while to show your ad. The fact that you’ve bid on a keyword does not mean your ad will be shown. Google chooses the best set of ads to show every time a search is done.

Google maximises profits based NOT upon the cost of a click but the amount of money it can make every 1000 times ads are shown (ie every 1000 impressions). So if your ad has an impression share of 25% then the ad is NOT being shown 75% of the time.

It gets worse… if your ad has a low impression share it probably means Google doesn’t like your Quality Score and also that your bid price is too low. It gets even worse… if you have a low impression share you can be pretty sure your ad is getting shown when Google has nothing better to show which means when the value of the traffic is low… eg early morning, late evening.

Maximising Total Profit Means Maximising Impression Share

There are 3 variables that are considered for maximising Impression Share (IS):

1.    Monthly Budget

2.    Keyword bid price

3.    Quality Score (QS)

The latter 2 when multiplied together = Adrank (ie the position you enjoy in the auction’s search results). This means you need a high rank to get high IS

In summary if you’ve optimised all the variables for an Adwords campaign then all you want is to get your winning ads shown more often… ie to get your Impression Share as high as possible.

REMEMBER BID PRICE AND ACTUAL CPC ARE NOT THE SAME THING.

Know Your Own Profit per 1000 Impressions

If Google thinks it’s a great way to measure and maximise profitabilty then we as advertisers should also adopt the “Profit per 1000 Impressions” approach to maximising all of our Adwords campaigns. In other words we shouldn’t stop at cost and profit per conversion… calculate profit by keyword for every 1000 impressions of that keyword’s ads. This gives a consistent comparable basis for measuring keyword and ad effectiveness.

Go and look for your own Impression Share.

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