The Complete Guide to Impression Share

The Complete Guide to Impression Share



Online advertising is booming. But when you launch digital campaigns, you want to be sure that you are maximizing your efforts – and your profits – by increasing your ad impression share. Your impression share tells you how well your ad is performing compared to your total potential audience, and increasing it can help you increase engagement and profits. If you’re only attracting a small portion of your target audience, then analyzing your impression share is usually a good place to start. Increasing this value will help you drive your ads to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) and ultimately drive 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.

  <h2>What is impression share?</h2>

    Impression share is an advertising metric that compares the performance of your ads to the performance of other ads in its category.  This is calculated by comparing your total number of impressions to the number of impressions you have the potential to receive.  Every time your ad is displayed on a web page, it counts as one impression.  Ads have the potential to generate more impressions for a variety of reasons, especially when they are keyword savvy, engaging, and relevant.  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 many metrics that can track how well your ads are performing, impression share helps you identify your ad's shortcomings so you can correct it and make it more attractive to your audience.  Read on to learn about the different types of impression share that your business can track to drive more engagement in your ad campaigns.

Types of impression share

Search impression share

Search impression share is the impression share of your ad on a search network. According to Google, a search network is “a group of search-related websites where your ads may appear,” including Google search results, Google applications such as Maps and Shopping, and search partner websites of Google. This metric divides the impressions your ad receives by the number of impressions it could receive on the search network. This metric is heavily affected by budget. If you are on a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer show once you reach your budget. This means that your ad might be getting impressions, but you’re still losing more engagement due to this daily cap. If you don’t want to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve your search impression share is to focus on the quality score, goal, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics measure the effectiveness of your ad and improving them will lead to higher engagement.

Display Network impression share

Google defines its Display Network as a group of more than two million websites, videos, and applications where ads can appear. Sites on the Display Network reach up to 90% of Internet users and can show your ads in a particular context, or for a specific audience. With display campaigns, you can increase your ad placement to improve impression share, but you will also need to adjust your budget to accommodate this increase. Or you can decrease the number of placements to make your campaign more profitable, but this will reduce the display frequency of your ad. The best approach is to test the number of placements until you’ve reached a point where you’ve optimized the impression share without exceeding your campaign budget.

Target impression share

Target Impression Share provides an automatic approach to bidding on ads. With this tool, you can set automatic bids for your campaign, giving 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 get more impressions over time. Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track the target impression share for all of your campaigns at once. There are many options for personalization That too. For example, you can configure it to bid for a certain section of the page, such as the top half, or for certain times and places.

AdWords impression share

Wondering how to access your Google Ads impression share data? Once you’ve signed in to your ad account, go to Campaigns> Columns> Modify Columns> Competitive Metrics> Impression Share, then click Save.

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Now your impression share will appear in a table that you can download.

Exact match impression percentage

Exact match impression share is what it sounds like. This metric compares the impressions your ad received to the amount it could receive for searches that exactly match your keywords. You can use exact match impression share to refine your keywords and improve your ads.

Percentage of lost search impressions

The column “Percentage of lost search impressions (budget)” shows you the percentage of impressions that you are losing due to your budget. A high percentage here may mean that investing in a larger budget could boost your advertising and sales efforts in the long run. The column “Search Impressions Lost Percentage (Rank)” shows how many impressions you are losing based on a low ranking. If this percentage is high, advertisers should consider how to improve rankings using quality score and cost-per-click rates. Quality score assesses your keywords’ past performance, ad relevance, landing page experience, and expected click-through rate. Consider making adjustments to your campaign’s keywords and creative assets if your percentage of lost impressions from search (ranking) is high. A relevant ad with great keywords will rank higher in the SERP, which can lead to more impressions, clicks, and sales. If you want to manually determine the impression share for an ad, here is a formula that can help you calculate it.

  <h2>Expression participation formula</h2>

    Impression share is calculated by dividing the number of impressions received by the total number of impressions the ad was eligible for.

As Google explains, “Eligible prints are estimated using many factors including targeting settings, approval statuses, and quality.” Once the maximum number of impressions is determined, all you have to do is divide the number of impressions the ad receives by the maximum number of impressions Google decides it is eligible for. We can see how this formula is written in the following example.

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

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Example of impression share formula

Let’s say we create an ad and Google says there are 5,000 potential impressions available. After monitoring our ad performance for a month, we recorded around 4,000 impressions. This would mean that our impression share is 80% (4000 registered impressions / 5000 available impressions = 80% impression share). Impression share is a useful metric for determining how well an ad campaign is performing and what your team can do to help it reach its full potential. By tracking impression share, you can automate bids, adjust your budget, and track keywords and quality score to reach your target audiences more often and drive more brand awareness and profits. For more ways to drive online ad engagement, read this list of helpful SEO tips.

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