Is Google is Choking Your Adwords Traffic?

Get the feeling Google isn't giving you the amount of impressions and clicks that they could on your top keywords?

You're probably right.

Google exerts complete control over how often they decide to show your ad against a given keyword.

The match type you choose has some effect on this of course, (broad match = more traffic, exact match = less traffic), as does your ad's position in the list of ad results (if for example your ad isn't in the top 2 or 3, Google won't show it as often).  

But is there something else going on?  You bet there is: it's called "Impression Share".

Impression Share is the percentage of time that Google COULD have shown your ad when a searcher entered it, but they chose not to.

If Google's choosing not to show your ad as often as they could on a campaign that's exceptionally profitable for you, this means money is left on the table.

Ad Impression Share Reports: How Do You Stack Up?

So, what can you do to increase your Impression Share and make sure your ad shows as close to 100% of the time as possible?

First, you need to find out how much share you are currently getting. To determine this, you need to run a particular variation of the Adwords campaign report.

Impression share is available as a column option under 'Level of Detail' when you run an Account or Campaign Performance report. Data is available for search campaigns.

To run a Campaign Performance report with this metric, follow the steps from Google found here:

Note: the key part of the report creation is this check box:

Your end report will look something like this:

Now we know for this campaign that our ads are only showing on 44.5% of the time they could be firing.

How can I increase my my impression share and in turn get Google to stop choking my impression traffic?

Here's the five best ways:

  1. Increase your campaign's budget.  If your daily budget is low, you're Google's going to yank your traffic flow all over the place.  Increase it as high as you can to ensure you get as much play for your ads as possible.  If your campaign is profitable, don't hold back from trying to scale your efforts.
  2. Boost your keyword Quality Score.  This is much cheaper than upping your bid as a way to move up ad positions, and can sometimes be accomplished even by doing simple things like split testing new ads.
  3. Bid up.  Sounds simple, but if your ad is stuck in position 4+, you're not going to get as many impressions as you could as Google often shows a maximum of only three ads per query.
  4. Broaden out.  Particularly if you're using the phrase match type for all of your keywords you can see a definitive lift in traffic by experimenting with broad match.  Be sure to stay on top of your negative keywords when using broad match.
  5. Target beyond your local country.  Google helps you out by setting up your current locale as the country you're targeting with your campaign, but new sources of high quality traffic can be found in markets that speak your language and have the ability to purchase your product or provide leads.

From all of these, #1 and #2 are the best things to start with.  Google's Quality Score has its tentacles throughout the entire Adwords system including Impression Share performance.  Be sure to keep refining and targeting your ads more closely!

Take Control of Your PPC Traffic!

Google may make the rules, but you can use their rules to your advantage.

Our PPC Training Program teaches to master the Google quality score system, lowering your click costs and helping you tap into fountains of profitable traffic.

Take the member's tour now and see what you're missing!