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Low impression shares tell you a great deal about your campaign as a whole however many search marketers don’t actually know how to use them to make the most out of their campaigns.

Most SEM’s, PPCers or whatever they go by, still think that a low impression share means your budget is not high enough so you are missing out on impressions. It sounds pretty straight forward actually, you don’t have enough of a budget, so Google is throttling or switching your ads on and off so you don’t go over budget by the end of the day. Right?

Sorta.. but not 100% right. Actually it could be way way wrong. To be fair, a low budget in a highly searched industry will no doubt lead to a low impression share. That’s a given. However it is quite common to have low impressions share’s when you have a large budget, a budget that should sufficiently cover all the impressions available.

The more telling statistics to look at are the other impression share data that Google gives you. These include Search Exact Match IS, Search Lost IS (rank) and Search List IS (budget). Little briefing:

Search Exact Match IS – Looks at % of impressions you received for terms that matched exactly (or were close variants)  your keywords.

Search Lost IS (rank) – Search impression share that was lost due to your Adrank.

Search Lost IS (budget) – Search impression share that was lost due to budget.

Compare types of Impression Share data in Adwords

Compare types of Impression Share data in Adwords

In fact the least important metric when it comes to analysing impression share is, in fact, search impression share! To get a better idea we would use the other type of impression share data. In the screenshot above, on face value, we are missing out on 10% of impressions but that is only half of the story.

In regards to budgets causing lost impressions it is in fact, only 0.9%, so increasing our budget will not lead to an increase in search impression share. More telling is looking at the Search Lost IS (rank) which tells us that a low Adrank has lead to us missing out on impressions. Even more alarming, we are missing out on 19% of exact match IS.

So what shall we do here? Its all about Adrank, not budget. What can we do to improve adrank? 3 things: Bid, Quality Score, Ad Extension usage.

Not budget.

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