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  • What Is Impression Share? (+6 Easy Ways to Improve it)

Before you battle it out for a click on a search engine results page (SERP) or a display network, you first have to get your ad to show up! If your ad isn’t even served, then your chances of pulling in a click–and potentially a conversion–go down to zero.

One component of your online advertising strategy is your impression share. Understanding what your impression share is and how it works can help you get a better sense of how your online advertising is really performing.

impression share- this shows two people achieving a high impression share.

In this post, we’ll cover:
• What impression share is.
• How to know what your current impression share is.
• 6 easy ways to improve impression share.


What is impression share?

In pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, you make yourself eligible to show ads on either search engines (search ads) or websites within a display network (display ads). When your ad is seen by a searcher or viewer it counts as an impression. All the searches typed into the search bar or websites showing ads within the confines of your targeting are the pool of impressions you could show to.

Impression share is a metric that essentially answers the question of “Out of all the times you could be showing, how much are you actually showing up?”

No business thrives with missed opportunities. So, the higher your impression share the better. That means you’re showing the majority of the time or even every time someone is actively or passively looking for you.

Therefore, however more or less refined your PPC campaigns are will determine the difficulty of achieving a high impression share.

impression share - this pie chart shows the three portions of impression share advertisers are eligible for.
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Where your impression share stands vs. where it should be

It’s tough to know where your impression share currently stands. But, search ad platforms, like Google and Bing, give us a few metrics to tell how impression share is doing and where we should look to improve.

It pretty much comes down to two things: impression share lost due to budget and impression share lost due to rank. When you lose out to budget, it means your budget was used too quickly and you had no left-over dollars available to continue to bid to show. When you lose out to rank, your ad wasn’t ranking high enough to win the auction. We’ll get into how to fix these next.


6 ways to improve your impression share

Where your impression share currently stands isn’t set in stone! We always say that in PPC, there’s no such thing as perfect, and there’s always room for improvement.

Here are six tips to enhance your impression share to the point where you’re showing the majority, if not every, time:

1. Increase your budget

As mentioned above, one of the two major factors that lead to lost impression share is budget. When you lose out on impression share due to budget you know right away your budget is running out before the day’s end. One of the quickest ways to improve that is to add a bit more money to your daily budget. That way you’ll be giving your campaign a larger allowance to use for bidding so that it may show up more.

Increasing your budget is easier said than done for many local businesses. However, if you can’t raise your budget, then you can look at reallocating budget from a lower priority campaign instead.

impression share - this image encourages readers to budget out their ads with impression share in mind.

2. Refine your keyword list

Think of impression share as a body of water you’re about to dive into. Sometimes, the most rewarding dips are in the tiny hot tub, and not the ice-cold ocean. Your keywords contribute to how large or small your impression share pool is. The larger that pool, the more effort it will take to swim a full lap.

Therefore, if you’re using a ton of keywords or super broad, general keywords, it will be harder to achieve that nice lofty impression share because you’re allowing yourself to match up to anything and everything.

impression share - this table shows different keyword types that could focus on.
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Revising your keyword list down to the core terms that mean the most to your business will help to maintain a high impression share. A higher impression share gives you positive historical data to vouge for you in future auctions so that you may continue to rank and show at a high rate.

So, while you may want to snatch up any search you can pull in with your lengthy keyword list, it’s actually more cost-effective and beneficial to be a bit more selective of which keywords you choose to bid on. That way when you do show, you have a higher chance of converting a searcher into a lead.

3. Revisit your targeting

Now, the length and width of your pool is only part of what you factor in when going for a swim, but what about the depth? Think of your other targeting options layered on top of your keywords as determining how deep your pool of impressions will be.

Again, the more you make yourself eligible to show, the harder it will be to achieve a high impression share, and you don’t want to have to attempt to swim all the way to the bottom to find that one search that will convert for you.

impression share - pool of impressions

So, targeting a smaller area (or refining other settings like devices, ad schedules, and demographics) will help to boost your impression share further. This is because you’re, again, becoming more selective of when you’re bidding. So, while it may seem counterintuitive to the idea of “casting a wide net,” with search and display ads you only want your money going where it will matter.

For example, while you may ship your product across the US, you tend to see the bulk of your orders coming from one specific city. Therefore, it may make sense to only set that area as your location target so that you can show as much as you can for that one city that brings you the highest return on ad spend.

4. Promote your most popular products and services

Another way to increase your impression share is to run online advertising for products or services you know are already popular. You might promote your product or service as a keyword in your ad copy. Since these may have a bit more clout, they have a higher chance of being searched for. Simultaneously, your ads will have a higher chance of showing because you’ll have that ranking security for your own popular items. Not only is this a win-win for you and the searcher, but this practice is a quick, easy tweak you can apply across your priority campaigns.

impression share - ad copy tips
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5. Review your ad copy

Aside from being more selective of when you’re eligible to show, you’ll also want to be selective of what you’re showing. Dialing in your ad copy to exactly what works will help your ad to rank better while avoiding impression share loss due to rank. This is because part of what can knock down your impression share metrics is impression loss due to rank. Part of that rank is your ad relevancy.

Ad relevancy means that you include top-performing keywords into your ad copy which helps Google’s algorithms understand that the ad relates to what you’re bidding on and what the searcher is looking for.

impression share - what goes into impression share

Google has a job to do, and just like all of us, it wants to do the best it can at that job. So, the platform wants to show results to the searcher that are as relevant and high quality as possible. If it can’t tell that your ad has that relevancy and quality component, then it will struggle to allow your ad to serve. Optimizing around Google’s recommendations, like including high-performing keywords and fully filling out your ad components will help to increase the quality of your ad copy.

impression share - ads auction

6. Understand (and improve) your Quality Score

Quality Score is a scaled 1-10 “grade” assigned to your keywords by Google. Anything above a seven is amazing, four through five is average, and anything below a three needs improvement. Quality Score is comprised of three parts:

  1. Ad relevancy: How close the text in your ad matches up to a searcher’s intent as well as the keyword you bid on.
  2. Expected click-through rate: Google’s prediction of how frequently your ad will pull in a click when shown based on your historical click-through rate metrics.
  3. Landing page experience: Google’s determination of your landing page performance factors in data like page load speed and mobile-friendliness.

If you put a focus on improving these three areas, you can expect to see a better Quality Score, which can lead to higher impression share. Work with your marketing partner to make sure your ad copy and landing pages are optimized for conversions and match the intent of your keywords and the searches users are performing.

Get your piece of the impression share pool

The more your ads are serving, the better! Using these tips you can take your impression share from drab to fab, which will ensure you show at the right time, every time. Maximizing your visibility will increase your chances of growth for your business, so happy growing!

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