Issues with fluctuating impressions
If your ad or keywords aren't receiving enough impressions, there might be a simple explanation. Fundamentally, the number of impressions that your ads receive is based on the number of times people search terms related to your keywords, and how successful your keywords are at triggering your ads instead of the ads of your competitors. Constant variations in web traffic, customer behaviour and web content also contribute to the normal fluctuations in your impressions.
The choices that your competitors make can affect your impressions. New competitors or competitors who adjust their existing accounts can influence how many impressions your ads receive. For example, your biggest competitor might decide to raise their bids, pushing your ad off of the first page of search results. You might then notice a decrease in impressions. Because many ad impressions come from the first page of Google search results, when you raise your bid, you increase the likelihood of your ad appearing on the first page and receiving more impressions.
Temporary events can also have a large impact. Think about holidays or popular news topics: they may dramatically influence your impressions (as well as your clicks!). During the holiday season, advertisers for decorations and seasonal trees can experience significant changes in the number of visitors to their sites. Another example would be a popular celebrity endorsing a particular clothing brand; in this case, advertisers of this brand may then receive more impressions.
Fluctuations on the Display Network
Occasionally, Google makes minor adjustments to how ads are targeted and ranked on the Display Network. As a result, you may notice fluctuations in your Display Network impressions, clicks or average cost per click for a short time. However, these fluctuations are normal and are solely intended to improve your overall ad performance. Maintaining high ad quality is important to us, and these quality evaluation changes help ensure that advertisers experience successful, cost-effective campaigns while maintaining a positive user experience.
Lower impressions than estimated by the Keyword Tool or Traffic Estimator
You might notice that the number of impressions that the Keyword Tool or Traffic Estimator proposes is larger than the actual number of impressions that your ads receive. There are a few reasons why this can occur. Limiting your budget or setting up ad scheduling so that your ads only run at certain times will limit the impressions that you receive, which the tools don't take into account.
Both of the tools also only provide estimates at both global and country levels, but not at regional or city levels. If you're targeting a particular state like California, for example, then your actual number of impressions is likely to be lower than the estimate, which would assume you're targeting your ad to the entire United States.
How Google Instant measures ad impressions
When someone searches on Google using Google Instant, ad impressions are measured differently. These actions count as impressions:
- The customer begins to type a search on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spelling correction, a related search).
- The customer chooses a particular search suggestion by clicking on the Search button, pressing Enter or selecting one of the predicted searches.
- The customer stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.
We recommend monitoring your ads' performance the same way you usually do. Google Instant might increase or decrease your overall impression levels. However, Google Instant can improve the quality of your clicks since it helps people search using terms that more directly connect them with the answers they need. Therefore, your overall campaign performance could improve.
- Learn what impression share is and how to measure it
- Solve issues related to clicks and click-through rate
- Find out why you might see differences between AdWords and third-party data
- Get to know the Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator