Will Impression Share be Google’s Next Big Revenue Contributor of 2012?

Well, it’s official. Google will be releasing Ad Group Level Impression Share Metrics (IS) for both Search and Display networks, at the request of their many advertisers. However, there are some questions that arise to the overall value of the Impression Share Metric. In a nutshell, Impression Share measures how frequently an advertisers Ads are showing, and if the percentage is LOW, it means that if the campaign is profitable, then the advertiser is losing potential business. However, Impression Share does pose a few questions of it’s overall value. For example, here are just a few.

  • Will advertisers feel “forced” to restructure their campaign and adgroups structures?
  • Will advertisers start to lose focus on ROAS% with these additional metrics?
  • Is this just another evil way for Google to increase their revenues? (ok, a little overboard I know)

What is Impression Share Exactly?

The textbook example of Impression Share is that it’s a percentage of impressions received divided by the estimated number of impressions that are eligible to receive. So in theory, a higher impression share means that the advertisers visibility in Search and Display are doing well according to Google. But here’s my biggest issue: Why should we care? Having a High impression Share does not mean increased conversions. In fact, it could have a negative effect on the ad groups/campaigns overall ROAS%. However, according to a great article from ClickEquations entitled “Impression Share: The Little Known Metric with a Big Impact”:

Impression Share is often misunderstood or, worse, ignored in campaign optimization.

Google has also stated that they are planning to update their algorithms to provide a greater degree of Impression Share metrics.

The Bottom-Line on Impression Share

This latest improvement to measuring Impression Share at the ad group level sounds very interesting and I am sure will be a big hit with advertisers. The issue is just because we have this data available, does not validate it as a metric to measure success. In many instances, adding keywords, increasing CPCs, and expanding daily budgets only work if conversions continue to follow. So think twice before you focus on any new and improved metric based on driving more traffic.



Greg is a well-versed Internet Marketing Expert who has helped companies both large and small achieve success in Search Engine Marketing through proven strategies and effective implementation. Since 2004 he shifted his focus to Search Engine Marketing Industry, especially Pay-Per-Click- Marketing, where he has helped both Fortune 500 companies, as well as Start-Ups to improve branding, increase online and offline revenues, cut costs and succeed online.

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