Everyone in marketing understands that the higher your search impression share is, the more customers are going to see your ads. This of course means that the number of potential buyers you're reaching is much greater. But is it possible to achieve a 99% search impression share? Continue reading below to find out whether it's theoretically possible and whether it's worth your while to strive toward achieving that goal.
What is Google Ads Search Impression Share?
The easiest way to understand Google Ads search impression share is to visualize a billboard which has been erected along your route to work each day. Everyone who drives by that billboard is considered eligible to see it, but not all drivers will take the time to actually look up and scan the billboard to see what kind of content is there. If maybe six out of 10 drivers do glance up at the billboard, the search impression share would be 60%. As you can see from this example, search impression share is calculated by dividing the actual number of search impressions by the total number of eligible search impressions.
When you apply this example to Google Ads, it works the same way except that it's calculated on the number of searches. For instance, if you had 10 people searching with a particular query and only 8 of those 10 searches actually showed up on a Google search results page, your search impression share would be 80%. But what happened to those other 2 searches that didn't show up? This is where a number of factors come into play, such as advertising budget and bidding practices.
Two Factors Affecting Search Impression Share
Of these two, your Google Ads budget has the greater impact because it often tends to limit advertising campaigns. This is unfortunate when a campaign is really performing well and is driving profitability, because if not for the budget limitation, it could be even more effective. For example, when a campaign budget has a limit of $10 per day, and that $10 is quickly used up, there's no additional profits coming your way, even though there might have been potential for another $100 worth of business, or maybe even more. In effect, the budget limitation acts as a brake on profitability in a case like this, where a simple evaluation could show that the budget should be increased to allow more profits to flow in.
Google Ads bidding can also come into play when you're talking about not maximizing your search impression share. You need to set up a very well-thought-out Google Ads bidding strategy to be really competitive in the rankings, you just won't show up when those search terms are used. This is a slightly different case than the budget constraint though and, in some cases, it may even be a good thing that you're not showing up for some search terms. Most people think that the more people who see their ads, the better off (think: profits) they'll be but this isn't always the case. It's roughly the same thing as trying to get on every television in the world – yes, it might drive more sales, but what will it cost you to achieve that?
99.99% Impression Share – Does it Really Exist?
Theoretically, yes. Practically – forget about it. Your attention should really be focused on how to generate the most profit from your account, rather than trying to achieve a pie-in-the-sky milestone. Keep in mind that you're not really competing for the highest number of ad impressions, and your business is going to be different from everyone else's. Your Google Ads account will have different quality scores, different products to present, and you'll have different landing pages to entice potential customers. It's fine to borrow some bits and pieces of your rivals' strategies, but no other company will be a perfect fit with yours, so you'll need to develop your own basic campaign strategies.
The kind of advertising campaigns you develop should be based on your own discrete product lines and on the way you wish to conduct your business. The best way to manage your campaigns is to use analytics to see which ones are performing well and emphasize these in your future efforts. When you see that one campaign is very profitable and another is not performing well, it should be very clear which campaign should get more air play in the future. Increasing your Google bids to try and achieve a 99% search impression share is a little bit like searching for the lost city of El Dorado. Yes, there may be a gold mine there somewhere, but chances are you're never going to find it.
The real appeal of PPC and digital advertising in general is that you have a great deal of control over who your ads are presented to, and you always want to present to those people who will be most likely to make a purchase. To go back to the television example, you might get your ad on 10 million televisions, but only 10,000 people actually buy your product. With digital marketing in your Google shopping campaigns, you can target your audience so that you only show up on 10,000 televisions, but you might have 9,000 buyers. This is a much more cost-effective approach, and it's a much more intelligent way of using your ad spend to accomplish your objectives.
Don't Go Chasing This Mythical Beast
Achieving a 99% search impression share might be theoretically possible, but in actual daily business life, it's just not worth your while to expend much time and effort trying to accomplish it. You'll end up getting frustrated and probably chasing your own tail in the process, with nothing much to show for all your efforts. Instead, you'd be better off to just focus on the actual profits generated by your account and try to scale it up with little tweaks and adjustments. This strategy will end up being far more effective, and you won't be pulling your hair out trying to achieve something that is basically a mythical beast, one which has no real presence in our day-to-day business world.
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