Somebody once said that the future is a wilderness of possibilities.
I believe this because I also believe that we shape our future by gathering and storing information about our experiences and successes and by not repeating the mistakes of the past.
In marketing (online, print, broadcast, etc.) we hone and refine our product, placement and promotion based on the feedback we receive from the market and from our competition. If we craft an ad that receives little interest, we want to know why it happened like that.
The secret of marketing success can be found in persistent curiosity. In the Google AdWords business, it’s no different.
If you carefully craft an AdWords ad – write the copy, select the keywords, define a budget, set the target URL – and your impressions are well below your expectations for the market, you’d want to know why. If you’ve built a competitive ad and prospects are searching but the ads didn’t show up in the SERPs, you’d want to know what happened for no other reason than to prevent yourself from making the same mistake again.
Google, in all of their infinite wisdom, wants all your AdWords campaigns to be enormously successful (there’s money in it, I hear). Therefore, they want you to know why your ads aren’t showing up. And they have an Impression Share Metric that does just this.
By the way, the Impression Share Metric has been around for a while but it’s not part of the default settings in AdWords. In fact, it’s easily overlooked and often misunderstood. I’ll tell you how to set up the Impression Share reporting in AdWords in just a bit. First, let’s go over the options and details:
1. Impression Share – the percentage of time in which your AdWords ads were shown from the number of times it was eligible to appear. And eligible, in this case, means that the performed search matched your keyword – and that every other aspect (geo-targeting and other settings, etc.) was also in alignment.
To make it simpler, Impression Share represents the percentage of times your AdWords ads were shown – in relation to the total number of chances your ads could have been shown. And all of this is based on your keyword and campaign settings. Easily understood, yes?
Now, there are three other Impression Share metrics included in this set of reporting options:
2. Lost IS (Rank) – the percentage of ad impressions you have lost due to low Ad Rank (cost-per-click bid multiplied by the Quality Score).
3. Lost IS (Budget) – the percentage of impressions lost due to budget constraints (more money, more opportunity).
4. Exact match IS – as if your keywords were set to Exact Match, this the percentage of time when your ads were displayed for searches that “exactly match” the keywords in your campaign.
That’s a quick overview of the four options. Overall, Impression Share is a convenient way to evaluate shifts in the competitive landscape, as well as diagnose where you may be losing ground. You’ll get to know more about how they work after you’ve added them to your AdWords reporting and started looking at the data. Let’s move on.
In Brand Advertising, we’ve often referred to Impression Share as “Share of Voice” and this represents the advertising weight of a given brand as a percentage of a total identified market segment. So, if there are 100,000 kangaroo grooming businesses in the U.S. and your available mailing list cover 10,000 of those businesses, it could be argued that your Share of Voice is 10% of that industry. It’s just like Impression Share and it’s been around since the dawn of traditional marketing. It’s a good thing that Google has this metric available to us because many of us (search engine marketers) come from traditional marketing and we’re reliant on this kind of data to measure our failures and successes.
To view your impression share data in AdWords:
- Click the “Campaigns” tab in the top navigation
- Click “All online campaigns” in the left panel
- Click the “Columns” button
- Select “Customize columns” from the drop-down menu
- Click the “Impr. share” checkbox
- At this point, you can also select “Lost IS (budget)” and “Lost IS (rank)”
- Click “Save” and you’re finished.
- Impression share data will now appear in your table
IF you need more details check out Google’s instructions. It also bears mentioning that some advertisers DO NOT wish to appear each and every time their ads have the opportunity to show. This is not a concern. Impression Share is only measured against the opportunities for which you are specifically interested. Given that, the Impression Share metrics help you establish the total number of opportunities your ad has to show. Any opportunities for these ads to show outside of Michigan or on specific days or whatever DO NOT count against your Impression Share data.
Lastly, it should be noted that Impression Share performance reports are available at both the account and campaign level. The future is yours and the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!