Tracking impression share

Impression share (IS) is the percentage of impressions that you received divided by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads' targeting settings, approval statuses, bids, and Quality Scores. Data is available at the campaign, ad group and keyword levels.

An easy way to understand the value of impression share is to think of the online advertising landscape as a delicious pie. You and your competitors are each trying to grab the biggest slice of that pie. By tracking your impression share metrics, you're keeping tabs on the size of your slice compared to the whole.

Available network-specific impression share metrics include:

  • Search impression share: The impressions that you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible to receive.

  • Display impression share: The impressions that you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible to receive.

  • Search Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Search Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only.

  • Display Lost IS (budget): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Display Network due to insufficient budget. This data is available at the campaign level only.

  • Search Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Search Network due to poor Ad Rank. Note: Lost IS (rank) won't be shown on your Ad groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined.

  • Display Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren't shown on the Display Network due to poor Ad Rank. Note: Lost IS (rank) won't be shown on your Ad groups tab if you ran out of budget at any point during the date range being examined.

  • Search Exact match IS: The impressions that you've received divided by the estimated number of impressions that you were eligible to receive on the Search Network for search terms that matched your keywords exactly (or were close variants of your keyword).

View impression share data

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. Click the Campaigns tab.
  3. Click the Columns button above your statistics table, then choose "Customise columns" from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click Competitive metrics, then add the Impression share columns that you are interested in.
  5. Click Save. Impression share data will now appear in your statistics table.
  6. To download the data in a report, click the download button Download Icon in the toolbar above the table.

Note

You can view impression share data for specific ad groups and keywords by enabling the "Impression share" column on the Ad groups and Keywords tabs. You can also view impressions share data on the Campaigns tab and on the Dimensions tab "Time" reports.

Data notes

All impression share metrics are updated once per day, at approximately 1pm Pacific Time [GTM-8]. As a result, the impression share data you see won’t reflect the current day, and it may not include the previous day's impression share as well (if you are running your report before 1pm). For example, Impression share data for Monday won’t be available until after 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

Data for impression share columns is available from October 2012 to the present.

How our system estimates impression share

To estimate impression share, our system analyses the ad auctions over the course of the day, and uses internal data such as Quality Score for you and your competitors. It includes all auctions where your ad showed or where the system estimates that your ad was competitive in the auction. For example, it could include auctions where your ad could show at twice its current bid, but could exclude auctions where your ad is estimated to need a 1,000% bid increase in order to appear.

Keep in mind that impression share is based on an estimate of when your ad was competitive in the auction, and that small fluctuations over time don’t necessarily indicate that action is needed. Changes to your bids, Quality Scores or Google's ad systems may change the set of auctions in which the system estimates you were competitive.

Understanding exact match impression share

Exact match impression share is the percentage of impressions that your campaign received for searches that exactly matched your keyword, divided by the estimated number of exact match impressions that you were eligible to receive. Since keyword match type can affect your impression share. This statistic can help you determine your share of total impressions for just the specific searches that you're targeting, without requiring you to make adjustments to your campaigns.

For example, if you use broad match keywords and have low impression share, you may want to look at your exact match impression share data to see how your keywords perform on only those searches that exactly match your keywords.

Say you have a broad match keyword "flowers". A customer might see your ad if they search for "flowers" or "roses". The exact match impression share metric will tell you how often your keyword shows when a user searches for "flowers."

You can then determine whether your impression share is low on all searches, or only on those searches that broadly match your keywords.

If your impression share is low on all searches, you may want to learn more about strategies to improve it (see below for tips).

If your impression share is low only on searches that broadly match your keywords, consider running a search term report. Not only can you see which searches aren't exactly matching your keywords, but you can increase your impression share on those searches by adding those terms as keywords and assigning appropriately higher bids. If a search term isn't relevant enough to the products or services that you offer, you can add it as a negative keyword instead.

This data is only available for campaigns in the Search Network.

Improving your impression share

To increase your impression share, your ads must appear either more often or in more places.

Here are some general tips to help improve your impression share:

  • Increase your campaign budget – it's important to remember that the budget controls how often an ad is shown.
  • Increase your bid.
  • If you decrease your regional targets, you may see an increase in impression share – but keep in mind that the size of the "pie" has been reduced.
  • If you increase your regional targets, you may see a decrease in impression share because your "pie" is bigger now.  To avoid this, consider re-adjusting your budget so that it'll cover the costs of your new campaign settings.

For Google Search Network campaigns: Improve your search ad quality.

For Google Display Network campaigns:

  • Improve your display ad quality.
  • Adjust your managed placements. With managed placements, you choose Display Network websites or subsets of websites where you'd like your ad to appear.
    • If you increase the number of your placements, remember to consider re-adjusting your budget so that it'll cover the costs of your new campaign settings.
    • If you decrease the number of your placements, you may see an increase in impression share – but keep in mind that the size of the "pie" has been reduced.

Here are some general tips to improve your lost impression share:

  • Lost impression share (budget): Since this metric represents the impression share you lost due to an insufficient budget, consider increasing your budget.
  • Lost impression share (rank): This metric represents the impression share that you lost due to a poor ad rank. Try increasing your bid or improving the quality of your campaign.
What does "--" in the ad group Lost IS (rank) column mean?

There are two possible reasons why you might not see a number for your Lost IS (rank):

  1. We don't have data for that row. This can happen if your date range is set earlier than October 2012, or if your campaign or ad group hasn't received any traffic for the time period that you're examining.
  2. Our system won't generate ad group-level Lost IS (rank) metrics if your campaign runs out of budget during the date range being examined -- specifically, when your campaign's Lost IS (budget) is greater than zero. This happens because Lost IS (rank) isn't meaningful in a situation where your campaign's budget is regularly used up.

    Tip

    If your goal is to increase impression share but you regularly use up your daily budget, then increasing bids could actually reduce the number of clicks and impressions that you receive. So, before you consider increasing your bid in an attempt to capture more impression share, first make sure that your campaign's budget is high enough to allow you to capture more clicks.

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