What's Impression Share in Search Campaigns?

Impression share is a critical metric in search advertising that measures the visibility of your ads. It represents the percentage of impressions your ads receive compared to the total number of impressions they were eligible to receive.

For instance, if your ad could have been shown 100 times but only appeared 50 times, your impression share would have been 50%. This metric is essential for understanding how well your ads are performing in the competitive landscape of search engine marketing.


How Impression Share is Calculated

Impression share is calculated using the following formula:

Impression Share = Impressions Received / Total Eligible Impressions × 100

For example, if your campaign received 1,000 impressions out of 2,000 eligible impressions, your impression share would be:

1,000 / 2,000 × 100 = 50%

The calculation process involves analyzing how often your ad could have appeared based on your targeting settings and comparing it to how often it appeared.


Importance of Impression Share

Impression share is crucial because it indicates your ads' potential reach and visibility. A high impression share means your ads are frequently appearing in search results, which can lead to higher traffic and better conversion rates. Conversely, a low impression share suggests significant room for improvement, whether through budget adjustments, bid increases, or ad quality.

One quick trick we use is in marketing: if we see a campaign with a low impression share that is bringing in sales, the easiest way to scale it up is to increase the campaign's budget. It will bring in more sales while maintaining profitability.


Types of Impression Share

There are several types of impression share metrics to consider:

  • Exact Match Impression Share: Measures the share of impressions your ads receive for searches that exactly match your keywords.
  • Search Impression Share: Reflects the percentage of impressions received in the search network.
  • Display Impression Share: Applies to display campaigns, indicating the share of impressions on the Google Display Network.
  • Impression Share Lost (Budget): This indicator shows the number of searches that have been lost due to the campaign's low budget.
  • Impression Share Lost (Ad Rank): Indicates the amount of searches that have been lost due to low ad rank. 


Factors Affecting Impression Share

Several factors can impact your impression share:

  • Budget: Limited budgets can restrict the number of times your ads are shown.
  • Bids: Low bids might not be competitive enough to secure ad placements.
  • Quality Score: Higher quality scores can improve ad rank and increase impression share.


Maximizing Impression Share

To maximize your impression share, consider these strategies:

  • Optimize Your Budget: Ensure you allocate sufficient funds to keep your ads running throughout the day.
  • Increase Bids: Competitive bids can improve your ad position and visibility.
  • Enhance Quality Score: Improve ad relevance, expected click-through rate (CTR), and landing page experience.


Impression Share in Google Ads

In Google Ads, impression share is a key performance indicator that helps advertisers understand how well their campaigns perform. Google provides detailed reports that break down impression share into categories like search and display. For example, an ecommerce store selling shoes might analyze its search impression share to see how often its ads appear when users search for "buy running shoes."


Impression Share in Microsoft Ads

Microsoft Ads also offers impression share metrics similar to Google Ads, allowing advertisers to gauge their visibility on the Bing network. For instance, a local business might use Microsoft Ads to target specific demographics and measure its impression share to ensure its ads reach potential customers effectively.


Comparing Google Ads and Microsoft Ads

While both platforms offer impression share metrics, there are some differences:

  • Reach: Google Ads typically has a larger audience, which can result in more eligible impressions.
  • Cost: Microsoft Ads often has lower competition, leading to lower costs per click and potentially higher impression share for the same budget.


Common Mistakes in Managing Impression Share

Some common mistakes include:

  • Budget Mismanagement: Not allocating enough of the budget can severely limit impression share.
  • Ignoring Quality Score: Failing to improve ad quality can result in lower ad rank and reduced impression share.


Advanced Tips for Improving Impression Share

Advanced strategies include:

  • Bid Adjustments: Tailoring bids based on device, location, and time of day.
  • Keyword Optimization: Focusing on high-performing keywords and adding negative keywords to reduce irrelevant impressions.


Tools for Monitoring Impression Share

Several tools can help monitor and analyze impression share:

  • Google Analytics: Provides detailed reports on ad performance and impression share. Learn more about Google Analytics here.
  • Microsoft Advertising Tools: Offers insights into campaign performance and visibility.



Understanding and optimizing impression share is vital for the success of your search campaigns. You can enhance your ad visibility and achieve better results by focusing on budget management, bid strategies, and improving ad quality. Whether using Google Ads or Microsoft Ads, maximizing impression share can lead to greater reach and higher conversion rates.

Reach out to us to boost your search campaigns.