Better Understand Search Impression Share on Google Ads

Search Impression Share is a metric that’s determined by taking the total impressions your ad received and dividing this by the total impressions your advertisement was eligible to receive [source]. If you’re curious how often your ads are populating versus competitors, search impression share is a great way to measure this.

100% is the highest search impression share you can receive. It’s difficult to achieve this since there are other businesses likely bidding on similar keywords. 

I’m going to explain how to increase your search impression share and better use this metric to gauge your advertising performance.

Why I Love Search Impression Share 

  • Strong indicator of the overall competition within your industry. 
  • Allows you to see whether your advertisements are receiving more or less exposure versus competitors. 
  • Helps you determine whether or not you have to increase bids and budgets.

Examples Of Search Impression Share


DermWarehouse is our in-house eCommerce brand. You can learn more about how we grew this brand from 0 customers to over 300,000. The ad group below is for a branded campaign, meaning we’re bidding on the keyword, “DermWarehouse.” You can see we have a search impression share of 88.55%, which is very high. This means for every 100 impressions, DermWarehouse received 88 impressions. Why did we not get a 100% search impression share? Most likely there were days where we ran out of budget. There are also competitors who bid on our brand name.

For branded campaigns, you should have a high search impression share as there aren’t as many people bidding on your branded keywords. You’ll notice in the other examples below, the search impression share isn’t as high since there’s more competition.

Google Shopping Campaign: 

In our Google Shopping campaign, we have a search impression share of 17.65%. What’s the reason for this? There’s a lot of competition in the skincare space, meaning there’s a lot of competitors bidding on the same products. You might be wondering how to improve your search impression share. I’ll hit on this later in the article. 

You can see below “all products” there is a WooCommerce ID for each individual product. Google Ads will tell you the search impression share for each specific product! This shows you how often each product is populating on Google versus the competition.

Note: If you’re wondering why our search impression share is low, it’s because this campaign is on Smart Shopping so we can’t adjust our bids. Google is trying to optimize this campaign for an optimal return on ad spend. 

You’ll see above that there is a WooCommerce product that has a 69.35% search impression share. This is our Dermalogica Active Moist product. This means that Dermalogica Active Moist doesn’t have as much competition as the other products shown above. Additionally, we have a strong ROAS (return on investment) above 8 on this product. By leveraging search impression share, I know we’re populating frequently on Google and converting well for this product. 

Google Search 

You can drill into the search impression share for each individual keyword. I know I’m a digital marketing nerd but I think it’s so cool that you can see the exposure for each specific keyword!

Continue reading as I’ll be now showing you how to increase your search impression share.

Different Types of Search Impression Share 

  • Search top impression share (IS) is the impressions you’ve received in the top location
    • If you’re curious how often your advertisement is populating in the top overall spot, this is a good metric to track. 
  • Search Lost IS (rank): The percentage of time that your ads weren’t shown on the Search Network due to poor Ad Rank in the auction.
    • If your keywords aren’t aligning with your ad copy and there’s a low click through rate, this could mean that you are losing impression share because your advertisements aren’t performing well. 
  • Click Share 
    • “Click share” is the clicks you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the estimated maximum number of clicks that you could have received.
      • This provides you with a good visualization for how many clicks you could have received. 

There are other types of impression shares. You can read more about them from Google

How To Improve Search Impression Share 

There are numerous ways to improve the search impression share within your paid advertising campaigns on Google. Let me explain. 

  • Budget 
    • This is the easiest solution to solve (if you have the funds). If you are running out of budget each day, your search impression share is going to drop. Simply increase your budget. 
  • Improve Advertisements 
    • If your advertisements are weak, your quality score is going to drop. Quality Score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads. Make sure your advertisements are strong and align with your keywords. 
  • Improve Keywords 
    • Analyze your keywords to make sure they have a strong quality score as well. Low performing keywords can be draining your campaign. 
  • Improve Landing Page Experience
    • Your landing page experience is also taken into consideration when evaluating your quality score. Make sure you are sending people to a strong landing page that has a high likelihood of converting. 

Note: If you need help improving your Google Ads campaigns, contact our experts. We also have designers on-staff that can improve your landing pages. 

In Closing 

Search Impression Share is one of my favorite metrics within Google Ads.

When clients are emailing me telling me their competitors are constantly ranking ahead of them for PPC ads, I send the screenshot of search impression share to put the argument to bed. Search impression share is a great indicator to how often your ads are serving versus the competition. I recommend adding search impression share as a column view within your ad groups and keyword sections within Google Ads. 

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of search impression share and how to leverage this metric to improve your performance.   

Jason Parks

Jason Parks started The Media Captain in 2010. He’s grown TMC into one of the largest digital agency’s in Ohio over the past decade.The Media Captain has worked with hundreds of small, medium and enterprise clients on digital marketing and development projects.The Columbus Based Digital Marketing Agency has received numerous accolades. TMC was named a Top 1% Agency in the U.S. by UpCity in 2019 and 2020. They also won the “Best PPC Campaign,” which was a national award from DashThis. They were also the recipient of the Top 10 Social Media Marketing Agencies in Ohio.

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