What Is Impression Share In Google Ads?

Today we’re going to dive into the nitty-gritty of campaign analytics. Some campaign metrics are more valuable than others. They are the kind of metrics you never want to take your eyes off; make or break metrics that can transform campaigns.
When you’re first introduced to the world of Google Ads, you’ll focus on vanity metrics. Or the success metrics. These are the metrics that tell you your campaigns are currently functioning. But current performance only tells you so much. There is always more than can be done. This is why many PPC managers often turn to impression share for additional insight.
Impression share is a unique metric as it shows the potential of your ads, not just the current standing. This means it can be useful for optimising campaigns and boosting your reach.
Screenshot of Google Ads platform

What is Google Ads impression share?

Google Ads impression share is a calculation based on how many impressions your ads received and how many your ads were eligible to receive. Impression share is shown as a percentage. You can access a breakdown of your impression share by keyword and by campaign.

How to find your impression share

Impression share is not added automatically to your campaigns dashboard, so you’ll need to set it up. Follow these steps to find your impression share data:

  1. Head to ads.google.com and sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. Select “Campaigns”, “Ad Groups”, “Product Groups” or “Keywords” from your main dashboard.
  3. Select the “Columns” icon and then select “Modify Columns”
  4. Reveal the “Competitive metrics” by selecting the down arrow.
  5. Tick the box by “Search impr. Share”.
  6. Select “Apply”
  7. Search impression share data will not be added to your statistics table. You may need to scroll to the right to see all of the data.

What impression share tells you about your campaigns

Without context, the search impression share is just another percentage. What is interesting about impression share is that it gives you an idea of how your ads are performing against all other ads.
So if you want to know if your ads are getting in front of the largest possible audience, this is the metric to monitor. If your ads have 100% impression share, you have full coverage and your ads will be seen for every eligible impression.
But a low impression share isn’t the end of the world. A low impression share means there is a lot of potential for your campaigns.
If you are limited by budget, you might need to narrow your focus to secure a higher impression share for a smaller selection of keywords.
And if you’re operating in a highly competitive field, you might need to increase your budget to help secure a higher impression share.

How important is impression share?

Impression share is quite important for your campaign success. Monitoring this metric can help you refine and optimise your campaigns as it gives you an idea of what your competitors are doing. It’s a unique metric as it shows you the potential of your campaigns, and also offers a view of the wider sector.
A sudden drop in your impression share could indicate a new competitor has entered the sector. Or it could mean existing competitors are ramping up their efforts.
Your impression share for branded keywords should always be much higher than your impression share for non-branded keywords. When the impression share for branded keywords drops, you know that someone is bidding on your brand name.

What is a good impression share?

It’s difficult to say what would be a good impression share, as every campaign is different. Instead of aiming for a specific number, aim for an improvement on last month’s performance.
When money is no object, it’s much easier to achieve a higher impression share. But this doesn’t always mean that your campaigns are effective as they could be. It just means that you have more money to throw at the problem.
It would be possible to achieve 100% impression share for highly specific ads, targeting exact matches in a specific area, with an uncapped budget. Accelerated delivery with high daily budgets will also boost your impression share.
It’s also easier to secure a higher impression share for your branded keywords, as these are less likely to be the focus of other company campaigns.

How to improve your Google Ads impression share

If there are 5000 potential impressions per month, and you record 4000 impressions in that period, you would have an impression share of 80%. This leaves 1000 impressions on the table.
To increase your impression share, you need to outsmart the competition. You can either:

  1. Increase your budget
  2. Narrow your focus
  3. Improve your ad quality

Increasing your budget is the obvious answer. But who has an unlimited budget to throw at a problem?
To narrow down your focus, you can change your keyword focus, switch to exact match keyword types, or limit your attention to a geographical area. This could reduce the number of potential impressions, but boost your actual impressions, resulting in a higher impression share. You’ll enjoy greater saturation in a specific area and could also drive down your CPC.
If you need help optimising your PPC campaigns, speak to Auburn. We’re experts in eCommerce PPC and help companies of all sizes to create more effective campaigns. We can help you boost your impression share, improve your ad quality, and drive more qualified leads to your website. Get in touch today to find out how we work.