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Search Impression Share

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# 1
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Just started messing around with search impression share. Have a few general questions.


1. About a month ago I was bidding top dollar for my keywords. I basically wanted as much kw/click data as possible. I've since reduced my max CPC from 5 to 3. My search impression share has dropped from on average ~95% to about 85%. How should I interpret this data? Is 85% 'good'? I'm a bit lost when it comes to setting bids...  


2. What would cause my SIS to drop from 100% to 66% on a given day?


3. What exactly does SIS lost due to rank mean? It ranges from 0-20% each day.



1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Search Impression Share

Top Contributor Alumni
# 2
Top Contributor Alumni

Hey there,


1. Whilst 100% is generally seen as a positive number, it isn't neccessarily the best number. Similar to Position 1 in SERPS - it's nice but not always the best option. So, interpret 85% in terms of the value it is deliverying to your business in terms of clicks, calls and $$$


2. I would always allow a certain amount for random fluctuations. Even if your budget or bids or QS don't change, maybe the competition ramps up on certain days and hours? Is there a pattern to this or was it a one time thing?


3. SIS lost due to ad rank literally means, your ads are not showing 100% of the time because your ad rank isn't as good as it could be. As you may know, ad rank is the formula Google uses to determine the position of your ad in SERPS vs. competitors.


Ad rank = Quality Score x Max. CPC. So, im simple terms, if you are losing impressions due to ad rank you need to increase your QS (through landing page improvemetns and CTR improvements) or increase your Max CPC.


Learn more from a couple links below:


Hope this helps, let me know if you have questions.



Jack Porter-Smith
Jack's G+

Re: Search Impression Share

Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Explorer ✭ ✭ ✭

You have to remember that ad ranking is based on QS times your bid. If you reduce your bid, you reduce your ranking. If you reduce your ranking to the point that your ad doesn't show on the first page, you have lost impressions due to ranking since few people go to the second page.


In advertising, you want as many people as possible to see your ad. The more prominently the better. So 100% is the goal. Why would you want to get anything less?


But Jack has somewhat of a good point. You can be in first position and getting clicks but they don't convert leading to a loss. A poor value as he says, aka ROI. There are a few reasons for this but the main ones are spreading your net too far with your keywords (they are too generic) and your landing page not doing a good selling job. Your QS may be an indication of the first, having non-attractive ads or both.


The total percentage of SIS lost due to rank and budget will add up. If you have a loss of 10% due to rank and another 10% due to budget (not being high enough to target 100% of the time), the total will be 20%.


Since you don't mention SIS lost due to budget, I assume your budget is set high enough for the search volume on your keywords and your CTR.


So what you experienced is normal. You simply low-bid yourself to lose ranking off the first page and thus your SIS went down.

Re: Search Impression Share

Top Contributor Alumni
# 4
Top Contributor Alumni


Thanks for re-iterating what ad rank is.


I can think of a few reasons to your statement below:


So 100% is the goal. Why would you want to get anything less?


As I said in my previous post - 100% and position 1 may not always be best for all advertisers in all situations.


People may not have the budget and people may not have the capacity to deal with a higher volume of enquiries / orders. So even if, whatever your position, you are converting profitably it isn't always true that more is better or the target.


True to say - you always want the ad rank aspect of it to be 100%, or as close to as possible, but overall I would not say 100% is always the utopian position.


To the Original Poster - as you will see, a lot of this is subjective to opinion and ultimately you must decide what is best for you.

Jack Porter-Smith
Jack's G+

Re: Search Impression Share

Rising Star
# 5
Rising Star

I'm with jackportersmith, on this one. 100% Impression share is not necessarily a goal that most advertisers should be focusing on.


Getting 85% or so of the available traffic is pretty darned good. Your ROI can be high, your cost-per-click managable, and your traffic volume high enough to keep the lead/sales flow coming. Trying to buy the last 15% of traffic--well, that's the most expensive traffic, isn't it? It's not worth buying if your cost-per-click goes up 66% and your ROI goes down by 25%--not for most advertisers. 


The key, as with most things in AdWords, is to find the "sweet spot" for your own campaign--where are you getting the maximum number of sales/leads for the best return on your spend?  That's what matters. 


Me, I analyze sales/conversion data very closely. I find the days and times where conversions seem to spike and if I want to buy extra traffic, I use bid adjustments to try and buy traffic during those times.


What I don't do is to increase bids just generically--so that I'm getting to 100% of the 2:00am insomniacs (unless they're my target audience, of course) just so I can say I'm getting to 100% of the traffic.


Just my $0.02.

Google AdWords Top Contributor