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Impression Share: Why Your Paid Search Marketers Need To Know This

Understand the importance of impression share and how to use it optimize your ad campaigns.

A colleague and I were recently tasked with reviving a client's stale Twitter account. The account “How do my ads compare to others in the search auction?” Have you heard that question before as a marketing manager?

In the world of paid search, competition is everything, every click, impression, and conversion drives the business. As such, any marketer wants to know how they stack up against the competition.

A few months ago, Google Adwords and Bing Ads opened up their competitive metrics, to share insights into how your ads and keywords are performing against other advertisers in that same space. This is called, “Impression Share” or “Share of Voice” in Google and Bing, respectively. Impression share is the impressions you've received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Simply put, how much of the time was my ad being shown, compared to how many times it could have received an impression.

This is a great overall indicator of the performance headroom in each ad group and campaign. Allowing you to garner a high level overview of your performance, and see if there are opportunities.

Great, right? Well, yes, but it doesn’t tell you enough. That is where your “Lost Impressions due to Ad Rank” steps in. This is an actionable number, because you can control your ad rank through a variety of levers.

Quick recap, what is ad rank? How well your ad has performed overtime, in combination with Quality Score. Quality Score is the combination of a few metrics: Click Through Rate (CTR), Account History, Display URL performance, landing page relevance, and other “black box” numbers that Google and Bing won’t share. Keeping in mind, you can change these parts of your account through some hard work and analysis.

With Impression Share, you can get a quick glance to your performance, and making sure that each day, you’re getting the most out of your account, and the most out of each query. Bing and Google make it easy to view this metric now, so take advantage of it!

For other important pay per click marketing metrics, take a look at my other blog post!

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