Search impression share might be one of the most overlooked Google Adwords metric, but also one of the most important in my opinion.

Search impression share is the number of impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. (100 minus impression share is the percentage of the time your ads didn’t run when you thought they would.)

Here’s a quick reference to help keep it straight: impression share (what you did show) + lost impression share (what you didn’t show) = 100% of possible impressions.¹

As an Adwords account manager, your goal is to get the highest number of impressions and clicks for the most profitable keywords.

The bad news is that it is not automatically available when you first create a campaign. However, it is quite simple to add that column to your campaign.

See image below:

Search Impression Share

Why is Search Impression Share so important in a Google Adwords Campaign?

Sometimes you might think you have a well performing campaign with great CTR, awesome conversions rates and a very good CPC. But you have to be sure that the best performing keywords are being served nearly 100% of times.

For Example:

CTR Conv. Value Search Impression Share
Keyword A 3.21% $100 75%
Keyword B 2.22% $50 50%
All other Keywords 2.01% $25 70%

Your goal should be to bring more traffic to Keyword A, even if you have to pause or exclude some keywords that might be doing ok.

The conversion value of Keyword A is 4x higher than all the other keywords in the campaign, therefore your objective is to get that keyword to 100% of impression share.

How to Improve Search Impression Share?

There are a few different actions you can take in order to improve impression share.

Do not be afraid to work only with a handful of keywords. Make sure the best performing keywords have nearly 100% search impression share and always work on the following

  • Improving Quality Score – Write up new text ads, making sure you use “Keyword A”
  • Increasing bids – Check what your default bid vs average CPC is. If these are similar, increase your bid; you will get a better average position.
  • Day parting –You should show the same ads 24/7 (Ecommerce for example). Most service related campaigns should be day parted, one ad group for regular business hours and another for emergency services.
  • Narrowing the geo – Always keep an eye on the Dimensions tab. Most advertisers tend to spend money on “average” locations and keywords. Place your budget with the best performing locations only.

Even though you might manage a campaign that may look successful, the search impression share metric could cost you thousands of dollars in profits. Most Adwords account managers that I know get into the comfort zone as soon as the CTR and conversion rates become stable. I want to state again, do not be afraid to have only a handful of keywords at the beginning of a campaign. Make sure the most profitable keywords get nearly 100% of impression share. Only after saturating those keywords and not running out of budget should add new keywords.

If you have questions about search impression share or how to improve your Adwords Account, please contact us at