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Decrease in Impressions Over Time

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# 1
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I have noticed a gradual decline in impressions across both search and display/remarketing campaigns over the last few months. There has been some drop off in CTR but overall it is still pretty good. As a result, I began to bid higher and my impression share went up but not my total number of impressions and therefore clicks. In both campaigns, I have been optimizing as much as possible removing low performing keywords, testing various ad variations, adding top peforming placements and removing underperforming countries, etc.

 

What could this be attributed to?

 

Thanks.

2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi David,

 

>> I began to bid higher and my impression share went up but not my total number of impressions and therefore clicks <<

 

The above is telling me that the number of available impressions continued to drop, however, since you accrued the same number of impressions, your Impression Share increased. (Cliks moved parallel to impressions.)

 

Best,

Lakatos

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

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# 3
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It would appear so but 2 points:

 

1. In my search campaigns,the impressions dropped considerably from previous months. Its hard for me to believe that so many fewer people were searching for given keywords all of a sudden.

 

2. In my remarketing campaigns, the audience sizes basically stayed the same and I nevertheless lost many impressions.

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
Have you checked your negative list? Made sure that you didn't by accident put in something a bit too broad?

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

"Its hard for me to believe that so many fewer people were searching..."

 

That sounds reasonable though even that can't be excluded totally. Seasonality can sometimes be amazing. However, it's more likely that you over-optimized some items unintentionally.

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by Alys (Google Employee)
September 2015

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

Google Employee
# 6
Google Employee

Hi davidcorman,

 

Lakatos is right - Sometimes seasonality can affect impression voulmes substantially. If your impression share went up but not the volume of impressions, it suggests that perhaps demand has fallen for what you offer. May I suggest that you try checking either Google Insights for Search or Google Trends to check if some of your key business terms have dropped off in popularity recently. 

 

You should also check Auction Insights to get an idea of how competitive your keywords are at the moment.

 

You mentioned that you noticed a drop in CTR. Have you noticed any correlating decrease in Quality Score on your search campaign(s)? Over time, this could have decreased the number of impressions generated. If this is the case, to improve CTR, you could try enhancing your ads with different ad extensions

 

In terms of your display/remarketing campaigns, your ads' Quality Score may have also decreased due to lower CTR than expected - Users may have clicked on your ads less frequently than before, which perhaps caused them to appear in less auctions. Here are some GDN best practices that could help: https://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54588. For CTR and impression optimization, you should focus on trying out new image ads (try out all different sizes) and bidding more aggressively to ensure that you enter as many auctions as possible. 

 

Lastly, may I ask what bidding method you are using, as this may also affect when we decide to show your ads or not.

 

I hope this helps,

 

JoMo

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

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# 7
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Hi JoMo,

 

Thanks so much for your detailed reply. It seems like I am probably experiencing a combination of some of the things you mentioned.

 

We recently added social extension to our largest campaign. I would like to add sitelinks but because we have many specific ad groups in our search campaign, it would be not effective to run campaign wide sitelinks. Perhaps Google can consider the option of adding ad group level sitelinks. This would help us immensely as we run product specific specials that only people searching for very specific keywords would find useful.

 

In terms of bidding method, we had been solely running CPA but since we frequently have new ads across many campaigns, we recently switched to CPC since there isn't enough time between launching new ads and pausing them and creating new ones for the systemt to accrue enough conversions to make CPA worthwhile for now. How could the bidding method influence total number of impressions?

 

Thank you,

David

 

Marked as Best Answer.
Solution
Accepted by Alys (Google Employee)
September 2015

Re: Decrease in Impressions Over Time

[ Edited ]
Google Employee
# 8
Google Employee

Hi again David,

 

Thank you for your feedback regarding ad group level sitelinks. I will be very happy to pass your suggestion onto our development team.

 

You mentioned that you sometimes "run product specific specials that only people searching for very specific keywords would find useful", and sitelinks aren't an effective option in this regard. As a potential workaround, rather than using sitelinks, could you create/use product extensions, which tend to be much more search query-targeted? I'm not sure if you use the Google Merchant Center or if it's suitable to your business model, but it's something you may want to consider. 

 

In certain cases, your choice of bidding method can affect the total number of impressions served. For example, let's say that the conversion rate drops for a particular keyword or placement - You are less likely to be entered into as many auctions for that criteria, resulting in less impressions. CPA bidding may also lower your bid for that criteria to help improve your campaign's overall conversion rate. This could also negatively affect the CTR as a lower rank may result in less clicks. 

 

When using CPA bidding, remember that its primary focus is to maximise conversions from your budget. It tries to get you more conversions from as few clicks and impressions possible, and it will serve your ads towards achieving this goal.

 

Perhaps sticking to CPC bidding for the moment may help to increase your impressions. You could also try CPM bidding on your display/remarketing campaigns as well. 

 

I hope this helps.

 

Best regards,

JoMo