The 5 Primary Things to Know About Google AdWords Impression Share

Last updated on by Shannon Glass in Google Ads

As PPC experts, we live in a world of numbers and analysis. Particularly in AdWords, we are given a slew of metrics and expected to drive change as the numbers tell a story. This is great, as long as we know what the numbers are telling us and how to use them to their full potential.

Below, I’ll walk you through one underutilized metric; AdWords impression share. When thinking about impression share, it’s important to know these five things:

  1. What impression share is
  2. Why it’s important to you
  3. Where it’s located in your AdWords account
  4. How to read and measure it
  5. When there is opportunity to maximize impression share

What is impression share?

Impression share is simply the percentage of impressions that an ad received over the amount of impressions it could have actually received.

For example, a 33% impression share means that out of all the auctions you could have been shown, you were only included in about ⅓ of them. If you are the glass-half-empty type of person, that means you lost out on 67% of traffic.

As we get into the various metrics of impression share, we will see how it all fits together and why each metric is important.

Why impression share is important

At a high level, impression share is important because it paints a clear path of areas of opportunity for your ad to be served to more users.

Take the following for example:

Here we see impression share ranging from 70.8% to 100%. The higher your impression share, the more users you have reached out of the total number of users you were eligible to reach. An impression share of 70.8% indicates room for improvement and room for your ad to be served to more users, while an impression share of 100% indicates that your ad has been served to 100% of eligible users.

Levels of impression share & where it’s located within AdWords

When looking at impression share, it can be viewed at the following three levels. As a note, search and display impression share are calculated based on their respective network (search or display).

At each level, the metrics can be pulled up by navigating to columns and modifying the columns to include impression share:

In the screenshot above, all impression share metrics are listed and can be viewed. While the definition in the introduction remains the same, two types of impression share exist — display and search. “Display” metrics can only be viewed with display campaigns and “Search” metrics can only be viewed with search campaigns.

How to read and measure AdWords impression share

From the impression share equation shown at the beginning of the article let’s analyze in more detail what goes into that. When an auction happens a number of factors go into play:

Knowing this, we can make some educated decisions on how to measure impression share. The following KPIs are the first places you should analyze in order to optimize impression share.

3 opportunities to maximize impression share

After conducting all of your analysis, there are several ways to increase impression share steadily. Below are some routes that I have taken in the past but at the end of the day, every account is different.

Impressions are great, but then what?

In summary, impression share is a valuable metric that will allow you to determine areas in your account that need improvement and are eligible to receive more impressions. When optimized and taken seriously, it can help you boost overall traffic and thus, site engagement. While boosting impression share may not turn performance upside down, it’s a great starting point.

Of course, bids, targeting, and Quality Score are essential first steps in getting your ads shown in SERP. The next phase is writing persuasive copy to encourage search users to click — the pre-click stage. But you can’t forget about the post-click optimization stage because it’s just as important as any other in the process. See how Instapage can turn more of your ad clicks into conversions, today.

About the author
Shannon Glass is an Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing, where she manages eCommerce and Lead Gen accounts. She has been there for over three years, where she initially began her PPC career as a Production Specialist. Aside from managing accounts, she writes for PPCHero, Hanapin’s blog, and assists with additional content for Hanapin. She enjoys traveling all over the world and taste testing new food.