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How to Improve Search Lost Impression Share

In digital advertising, an ad achieves an impression each time it appears on a search result page or display advert.

However, when the ad does not appear even though it is supposed to, the advertiser loses sales opportunities. As a result, impression share can influence the effectiveness of a Google ad campaign.

Through this blog, we discuss the concept of impression share, and how you can improve it. We shed light on the main types of impression share and how you can optimize your Google ad using this metric.

Improve Search Lost Impression Share

What is impression share (IS)

IS defines the number of impressions your ad received divided by the impressions you were supposed to receive.

Calculate impression share

In your Google Ads account:

  • Follow this path by clicking: Campaigns or Ad Groups > >Modify Columns > Competitive metrics
  • Add impression share columns by ticking the column names. Click Apply.

A demonstration on viewing the impression share metric in Google ads

To improve it, let us first understand what causes a low impression share in the Search network.

A low impression share indicates that your ad is not appearing due to some issues. So we do a check on the following metrics: budget and rank.

Factors Affecting Impression Share in Google Ads

Factor 1: Search Impression IS (budget):

Understandably, if you have a low budget, your ad will not appear all the time. The ad will show more often for the same set of keywords and with the same bids.

The result is you miss out on potential future searches and traffic, even though your ad keywords match customer searches.


The good thing is as you increase your campaign budget, your ad gets exposed to more people, improving IS. As a result, your sales and leads increase too.

Factor 2: Search lost IS (rank):

A more complex metric because of which you lose impression share is ad rank.

Search lost IS (rank) is defined as the percentage of time your ad didn’t appear because your ad rank is too low.

Calculate search lost IS (rank)

For example, a 30% metric indicates that in 30% of customer searches that matched your keywords, your ad didn’t appear due to ranking issues.


You need to work on improving your ad rank to increase impression share.

So what determines your Google ad rank?

In Google, your max cost-per-click (CPC) bid relative to your competitors, multiplied by your ad quality score, determines your ad rank.

Google decides that your ad rank is too low either because:
i) your bids are too low;
ii) or your quality score is too low;
iii) or it can be a combination of both i) and ii).

Factors determining Google Ad rank

Your ad quality score is determined by three factors: Estimated clickthrough rate (CTR), ad relevance and landing page experience. In another article, we will tell you how to improve your ad quality score.

For now, we focus on the bidding part with respect to improving ranking and increasing impression share.

Should you increase bids or not for increasing impression share?

If you want your ad to appear more often in terms of impression share, then increasing your bids could be a way to do it.

But is it justified? It depends!

Scenario 1:

By increasing your bid, you increase the chances of your ad getting displayed when customer searches match your keywords. However, your cost-per-click (CPC) increases as well.

If more clicks do not improve your conversion rate, your average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) increases.

CPA = Total cost of clicks/Number of conversions

Scenario 2:

On the other hand, if your business can handle more cost-per-acquisition in a trade-off for getting more leads and conversions into your business, then increasing the bid is a good strategy.

For example, if INR 2000 gives you 70 leads, will you be willing to pay INR 3000 for 100?

Well, a real estate property developer may not mind paying more for a relevant website traffic click as the returns from an apartment sale is way more than the extra bid amount spent on the ad.

So increasing the bid depends upon the type of your business and the return on ad spend (ROAS).

You need to figure out this through testing. Pushing your bids up can give you more visibility, which can help build brand awareness in the long term.

Determine your max cost-per-acquisition and work around it.

Final Verdict:

We have learned how ad rank and budget can improve your impression share.

With all this information, the question is should we aim for 100% impression share?

The answer is NO!

  • You would not want to increase your bidding on the keywords that aren’t performing just for the sake of improving impression share.
  • What you need to do is maximize your impression share in terms of your ad budget. If your ad budget restricts the impression share, increase your budget to get more impression share and leads.
  • To improve your ranks, improve your ad quality and increase your bids in small increments. See how that impacts your overall conversions.
  • Still, that will not get you 100% impression share. However, you should be able to maximize your campaign performance with this important metric - impression share.

If you want to target the right keywords and optimize your bidding easily, you may try a performance marketing platform like Mediaqart. It optimizes bidding on the best performing keywords for any Google ad campaign.