Pull Out the Roadblocks, Google!

roadblocksA few weeks ago, in its typical form, Google surreptitiously rolled out a new feature in AdWords. In the “Create Report” screen, users now have the option to add a column labeled “Impression Share” to campaign and account level reports.

AdWords Help defines impression share as “the percentage of impressions where your ads were shown out of the total available impressions in the market you were targeting.”

Like a child on Christmas morning, I simply had to play with this new toy and see what it could do. I started running reports on various different campaigns & accounts to see what I could see. The results were, in many cases, surprising.

In my testing of a particular retail client, I found that a campaign filled only with product-related ads & keywords (all of which perform very well) weren’t receiving even half of the available impressions.

“You mean to tell me that there are twice as many impressions available for this very successful campaign?!”

My chagrin was short lived, though. Once I started thinking about that whole “in the market you were targeting” thing, I realized that my daily budget probably isn’t enough to have my ads served for every search.

That led me to my next test, a highly specific campaign with only branded ads & keywords, an unreachable daily budget setting, all regions and territories targeted, and no ad scheduling. With the reigns completely off, it seems to me that the ads in this campaign should be seen by all who search on these keywords, all of the time.

Not the case. In spite of every campaign setting set to leverage every possible impression, my impression share percentage was just over 70% after not even spending 1/10th of my campaign daily budget. What gives?!

What gives is that until “the market you were targeting” can be concisely defined, this new bit of information is largely useless. Without understanding exactly what the universe of available impressions is, knowing the portion to which your ads were served is irrelevant.

Thanks for nothing, Google.