Determining whether your Google search ads are successful can often seem like a big challenge. However, many different metrics and statistics will tell you how your ads are performing. One such metric is search impression share. What exactly is it about? How does impression share work and what does it tell you about the success of your ads compared to other metrics like conversion rates?

What is search impression share?

Impression share is an indicator metric when comparing the performance of an ad to the performance of other advertisers’ ads. It indicates whether ads can reach more people for a higher price.

Impression share is calculated by dividing the number of impressions your ad received by the total number of impressions your ad could have received.

To view impression share metrics, sign in to your Google Ads account. Impression share data is available at the campaign, ad group, and keyword levels, so if you want to filter data on each campaign at the ad level, you must select Campaigns, Ad Groups, Product Groups (for Shopping campaigns), or Keywords from the page menu.

Types of Impression Share in Google Ads

Impression share involves more than just a simple number. There are various aspects that you can use to get even more depth of analysis. This is the following distribution of the share of views:

Impression share on the Search Network

Search Impression Share is the share of your ad’s impressions on the Search Network. According to Google, the Search Network is “a group of search-related websites where your ads can appear,” including Google search results, Google apps like Maps and Shopping, and Google search partner websites. This metric divides the impressions your ad gets by the number of impressions it could get on the search network.

This metric is heavily influenced by your budget. If you have a low daily budget on Google, your ad will no longer appear once your budget is reached. This means that your ad may be getting impressions, but still missing out on more engagement due to this daily limit.

If you don’t want to spend more on your campaign, another way to improve search impression share is to focus on the quality score, targeting, bid, and conversion rate of your ads. These metrics measure the effectiveness of your ad, and improving them will lead to more engagement.

Impression share in the Content Network

Google defines its Display Network as a group of more than two million websites, videos, and apps where ads can be displayed. Pages on the Display Network reach up to 90% of Internet users and can show your ads in a specific context or to a specific audience.

In Display Network campaigns, you can increase the number of ad placements to improve impression share, but you’ll need to adjust your budget to accommodate this increase. Or you can reduce the number of placements to make your campaign more cost-effective, but this will reduce the frequency with which your ad is shown. The best approach is to test the number of placements until you reach a point where you have optimized impression share without exceeding your campaign budget.

Share of Lost Impressions on the Search Network (Budget)

The percentage of time your ads didn’t appear on the Search Network due to insufficient budget. This data is only available at the campaign level.

  • When campaign budgets are run out, you lose impressions in your market. Try to tighten your targeting, your search term reports, and add negative keywords.

  • Evaluate overall keyword structure/performance before recommending additional budgets. To reach the most relevant target audience at the right time, also use controls such as ad scheduling and location bid adjustment.

Share of Lost Impressions on the Search Network (Score)

This represents the percentage of time your ads didn’t appear on the Search Network due to a low ad rank.

  • Improve the Quality Score of keywords by grouping and matching them with relevant ads and testing landing pages before increasing your bids to improve your ad rank.

  • It’s important to understand your goals before you start bidding to improve your ad rank for multiple campaigns.

Share of exact match impressions in Google search

This represents the impressions received divided by the estimated number of impressions you could have received on the Search Network for search terms that exactly matched your keywords (or were close variations of your keyword).

  • Perform search term analysis and add multiple variations of current keywords to get exact matches of end-user searches.

  • Exact match, medium, and long match keywords will help you to be effective when the traffic volume is available, as high CTRs will lead to effective clicks.

Target Impression Share

Target Impression Share provides an automatic approach to ad bidding. With this tool, you can set automatic bids for your campaign, giving your ad a better chance of reaching the top of the Search Engine Results Pages. And with a more prominent position on the search results page, your ad is likely to get more impressions over time.

Although impression share is only available per campaign, you can track impression share targets for all of your campaigns at once. There are also many options for customization. For example, you can set it to offer prices for a certain part of the page – like the top half – or for certain times and places.

Why is impression share important?

Impression share is important because it can give you a good indication of why a keyword might not be performing. By breaking down the data above, you can use it to determine if your keywords are underperforming due to bidding or budget issues, two important items to keep in mind when evaluating performance.

You can also compare search impression share with other data, such as conversion rates, and use that to determine where your users typically are on the conversion path. This will help you make your ads and landing pages more relevant to your users as you try to provide them with the information they need.

How to improve your impression share in Google Ads?

Adjust your geo-targeting settings

If you lower or limit your location settings, you may see a spike in impression share. Targeting only one specific area or areas allows you to focus all your efforts on that one area and gives you more control over that particular goal. While you’ll generally show your ads in a smaller area, you can take steps to get your ad to appear in as much of that area as possible.

Improve the quality of your ad

As already mentioned, the quality of the ad can also affect the share of impressions. If you can take steps to improve your PPC ads, Google will show those ads more often based on your Quality Score. Try to improve your ad text so that it is as specific and relevant as possible to the keywords in the relevant ad groups.