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Impression Share: What it is and How to Improve it

SEM Geek


Staff member
Jun 21, 2023
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Impression share plays a critical role in the success of online advertising campaigns. As an advertiser, you want your ads to be seen by as many potential customers as possible. But how can you gauge the visibility of your ad? This is where impression share comes into play. In this article, we will explore what impression share is all about and provide tips on how to improve it.

What Is Impression Share?​

Impression share refers to the percentage of times your ads are displayed compared to the total number of opportunities they could have been shown for a given targeted audience or keyword. It gives you an insight into the reach and exposure that your ads have achieved within a particular advertising platform or network.

For example, let's say you run an online store selling sporting goods. Your ad appears 200 times out of 1,000 potential searches related to sports equipment. In this case, your impression share would be 20% (200 divided by 1,000).

By tracking impression share metrics over time, advertisers can assess their campaign performance and identify areas for improvement.

Types of Impression Share​

There are several types of impression shares that advertisers should be familiar with:

Search Impression Share​

Search engines like Google generate search results based on user queries. Search impression share measures the percentage of impressions received by your ads out of the total eligible impressions in search engine results pages (SERPs). It provides valuable insights into how often your ads appear when users search for specific keywords relevant to your business.

You can use data from search impression share reports in platforms such as Google Ads (formerly AdWords) to optimize bidding strategies and budget allocation effectively.

Display Impression Share​

In contrast to search campaigns where ads appear in SERPs, display networks show advertisements across various websites as banners or text-based elements attracting users' attention. Display impression share represents the proportion of ad impressions your campaign received compared to the total number of eligible impressions in display advertising.

Monitoring this metric helps you understand the visibility and reach of your display campaigns across different websites and placements. It enables you to refine targeting options, adjust budgets, or improve creatives for higher exposure.

Target Impression Share​

With Google Ads' target impression share bidding strategy, advertisers have direct control over their desired level of visibility on SERPs. By selecting a target impression share percentage or range, you prioritize reaching that goal rather than focusing solely on cost-per-click (CPC) optimization.

By opting for target impression share bidding, you can maintain consistent exposure within your specified parameters. This strategy proves beneficial when branding or market dominance is key to achieving campaign objectives.

Exact Match Impression Share​

Google Ads also offers an interesting metric: exact match impression share, which reflects how often your ads appear with exact keyword matches out of the potential search volume from those keywords. It provides insights specifically related to user queries using keywords identical to what was targeted in your campaign.

Analyzing exact match impression shares allows advertisers to fine-tune keyword strategies by identifying opportunities they may be missing out on or areas where they are dominating competition effectively.

Search Lost Impression Share​

Understanding how much search lost impression share you experience can help uncover missed opportunities for increased ad visibility. Search lost impression share includes two sub-categories:

  • Budget: This indicates the percentage of times your ads didn't show due to budget limitations.
  • Ranking: The remaining portion represents cases where poor ad rank prevented them from appearing in searches as frequently as possible for a specific keyword set.

Impression Share Formula Example​

Let's take a closer look at the formula behind calculating overall search impression share:

Impression Share = (Total Impressions / Total Eligible Impressions) x 100

Suppose your ad receives 1,000 impressions out of a possible 2,500 eligible impressions. Plugging these values into the formula gives you:

Impression Share = (1,000 / 2,500) x 100 = 40%

In this example, your impression share is determined to be 40%, meaning that out of all the available opportunities for your ad to display within a particular audience or keyword scope, it was shown about four times out of every ten potential instances.

By keeping an eye on the impression share metric and exploring ways to optimize campaigns based on its insights (such as increasing budgets or refining targeting), advertisers stand a better chance of expanding their reach within their target markets while maximizing their return on investment (ROI).

Improving impression share ultimately involves implementing data-driven strategies aimed at enhancing visibility and attracting more qualified traffic. By analyzing reports and experimenting with different approaches like adjusting bids or testing new keywords and ad creatives, you can gain valuable insights into how to enhance your campaign's performance.

Remember—regularly monitoring and iterating advertisements helps ensure they remain competitive in ever-evolving digital spaces!