Understanding the Value of AdWords Impression Share

Understanding the Value of AdWords PPC Campaign Impression Share

With more than 50 Pay Per Click campaigns being managed from QliQ HQ it’s fair to say that we’ve seen (and repaired) all sorts of PPC accounts suffering a wide variety of problems. But one of the most common issues we see in newly inherited PPC accounts is a lack of impression share caused by low Ad Rank. The issue of Ad Rank is one that has troubled in-house PPC campaign managers for years, often causing the less experienced campaign manager to pause keywords before they’ve had enough time to accrue enough performance data and show their true capability.

What is AdWords Impression Share?

In Google AdWords, impression share is simply the number of ad impressions (or ad appearances) a specific keyword, ad or ad group has received as a percentage compared with the overall number of eligible searches that actually occurred.

In simple terms – our client’s PPC campaign has ten keywords. The campaign is targeting Berkshire in the UK. The campaign’s schedule starts at 09:00 and ends at 21:00. If, in one month, there are 1,000 searches for the ten keywords that our client is bidding on between 09:00 and 21:00, and our client’s ads show up for 500 of those searches in Berkshire, their impression share is calculated at 50%.

Impression share can be used to calculate how both a Google Search or Display Network campaign has performed, but for this example we will focus on the Google Search Network.

How is Impression Share Lost?

There are two ways a PPC campaign can lose impression share:

  1. Budget lost impression share – the percentage of impressions lost out on for the Search Network due to an insufficient budget (this is available at the campaign level only)
  2. Rank lost impression share – the percentage of impressions lost out on for the Search Network due to low ad rank

Ad Rank determines a PPC campaign’s ad position – where your ad shows on the page in relation to other ads – or whether those ads are eligible to show at all. The main components of ad rank are the bid amount, the quality score of that campaign (determined by expected CTR, ad relevance and landing page quality) and the expected impact of any supporting ad extensions that might be running).

How do I Improve my AdWords Impression Share?

If your budget is too low, you will definitely run the risk of losing out on valuable impression share due to budgetary restrictions in your PPC campaign. A quick assessment of your lost impressions share by budget will tell you how many impressions (if any) you are losing out on. This information is often fairly cut-and-dry; by increasing your PPC budgets accordingly you will overcome the budgetary issue in a matter of minutes.

For PPC campaigns where low Ad Rank is a problem the approach taken often needs to be thought through.

There are three key areas to consider:

  1. Your PPC ad’s expected click-through rate: This is based in part on your ad’s historical clicks and impressions (adjusting for factors such as ad position, extensions and other formats that may have affected the visibility of an ad that someone previously clicked)
  2. Your ad’s relevance to the search: How relevant your ad text is to what a person searches for
  3. The quality of your landing page: How relevant, transparent and easy-to-navigate your page is

We often see campaigns with low Ad Rank because the keyword targeting is vague, the geographic targeting is broad, or the relevancy between keyword, ad and landing page is unclear. The first thing that can be done to improve the performance of a PPC campaign’s Ad Rank is an assessment of keyword relevancy. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my PPC ads relate directly to the keywords on which I am bidding?
  • Is there a clear call-to-action on my ads which relates to the level of intent my keywords provide?
  • Does my website/landing page provide a good user experience and is the content specific to that of the keywords I am bidding on?

Talk to the PPC Agency That Knows

For more information on improving Ad Rank take a look at this article by Google’s own Chris Roat. If you would like to know more about how QliQ can help, or for free professional advice call 01635 800868 or contact us.