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First, a word about auction insights...

Auction Insights are great, but here's a few things to keep in mind.

Impression share is a great metric because it shows you how much of the market your covering, aka the percent of times you received an impression when you were eligible.

Technically speaking you lose impression share for 2 reasons, budget or rank (rank = max cpc x quality score)

In the real world, you can make a campaign less eligible for impressions by pausing keywords and ad scheduling.  Most of the time you won't optimize for impression share as your main goal, but like any other metric you can do things to impact it one way or another.  Similar to how you can improve CTRs by using negative keywords.

For non-branded keywords I shoot for an impression share goal of 80% or better (this is a higher goal but even 60% is good).

For branded keywords I shoot for as close to 100% as I can get.  Many of the campaigns I run spend the majority of their budgets on general keywords.

Spending a lot on branded terms typically happens for large retailers who have been in business for a while - Apple and Nike are very obvious examples.

Exporting Auction Insights and viewing the data in Excel is very useful because you see so much more this way than in the AdWords UI (user interface)

For example you can export auction insights data for a month, with the "day" time segment enabled and see a day to day break out of all the websites that got exposure on your keywords.  You can't do this in the UI.

For brand terms this is great because you see who may be buying traffic on your terms.

For non-brand keywords you get a clear view of the market and there's likely many more advertisers you compete with when you see the data in Excel.  Now you know why clicks cost so much.

 When you view the data in Excel it makes for some great insights you can share with your boss or the clients you manage. 

 

 

Also keep in mind..

 

2 advertisers can both achieve very high impression share numbers.  Remember there are 4 ad spots so Company A could be in position 1, Company B could be in ad position 2.

Achieving high impression share for non-branded keywords.  Assuming budget is not an issue why wouldn't you try to get 80% impression share for non brand terms?

It pretty much comes down to Click Thru Rate and Conversion Rates.

If you can get high CTRs and then convert the traffic there's really no reason why you wouldn't bid and budget so you don't lose impression share to rank or budget.

I bid high  on keywords like Car Accident Lawyer because I know I can convert them.

 

If you're happy with your conversion rates and ROI then you may as well set your daily budgets high enough so your campaigns don't cap.

And if you're confident in your ability to convert then you set your max CPC's high enough to be competitive while conversion costs are still efficient.

Remember conversion rates are the same regardless of position, but as you move up conversion costs get more expensive.

Position 1 is generally cost prohibitive, however, I'm usually in Ad Spot 2 for words like the ones above and I achieve about 80% impression share on those terms.  Not too shabby.

Yes, viewing auction insights like this is great, but you also have to keep ROI and goals in mind.

PPC is like cooking in that you have to do the right thing in the right order.

Make sure you're getting at least average conversion rates for your industry/business before you go trying to improve Impression Share by doing things like increasing daily budgets and bids, or trying to improve rank with ad copy, negatives, campaign restructures and so forth.

 

Some battles can't be won and require a refocus of priorities

I've worked on branding accounts where impression share was the main KPI because I was working with advertising people who typically buy media on a CPM basis and think in terms of market share.  In a way impression share is very similar to market share.

Any how some of companies wanted to get high impression share on words like "nail polish" or "mascara."

Literally the phrase matched versions of keywords with tons of volume behind them - and they have high CPCs - particularly mascara.

It's very hard to win the game with highly trafficked keywords on "phrase" match.  There's just so much stuff they match to you can't block with negatives, and you also can't break the campaign into sensible ad groups because so many clicks happen from long tail keywords with like 1 click and 1 impression.

Who has unlimited budgets? No one really so in cases like this with very generic 1 or 2 phrase keywords you may have to pause them and go after more targeted terms to achieve your goals.

 

 

Need Help Turning Clicks Into Conversions (Profits)?

Let's set up a time to discuss an audit - this way I can take a deep dive into your account to see what can be improved.  Book a spot on my calendar now.

Thanks!

Eric