What is Search Impression Share?

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One vital metric of growing a PPC account can be analysing your impression share. Whether this be at campaign or keyword level this is something that can increase visibility, grow your click volumes and increase your KPIs.

So… What exactly is it?

Search impression share is the number of impressions you received divided by the number of impressions available in the market. An example of this would be that an 80% impression share would mean you are featuring for every 80 out of 100 impressions.

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What determines your search impression share?

There are main different factors that determine your impression share, below i have listed the main influences –

  • Budget – simply put, your impression share will never be a high percentage if your campaigns are ‘limited by budget’, due to you missing out on impressions when your budget depletes for the day.
  • Quality Score – your keyword relevancy score can be a great factor to increase impression share without bidding more. Ensuring your quality scores are 8-10 will maximise this.
  • Bid – The most competitive element of search impression share, your bid (max CPC) will determine your impression share and allow you to bid higher than competitors to increase your visibility.

What are the benefits of monitoring your impression share?


  • Changes in Search Volume – changing impression share can be a great indication in the market changing, for example i saw percentages increasing greatly with no changes at all during the outbreak of COVID-19, due to search volume depletion in the related market.
  • Performance Changes – this can give further insight into performance of particular keywords or campaigns changing, you may see your impression share decrease indicating increased competitor activity.
  • Auction Insights Report – This is a handy reporting tool inside Google Ads that gives you insights to competitor impression shares vs yourself. You can gauge how much of the market you are featuring vs your competitor.

Are there different types of Impression Share?

Yes! There is 3 main types of impression share available for analysis both on an individual level and using the auction insights report –

  1. Search impression Share – as mentioned above this is the standard type of measuring visibility.
  2. Top impression share – this is the percentage of impressions where you are featuring in the top 4 search results (above the fold). This will be less than the standard impression share but also be a good insight to how competitive you are in the market.
  3. Absolute top impression share – The king of the pack, this is the percentage of impressions where you feature in the number one ad result, above all competitors and ad results.

Food for thought

Now, what you might be thinking is the ideal target provided budget is not an issue, is an 100% impression share the end goal of running marketing campaigns?

The answer is frankly, no. Whilst this may be possible for one of your marketing campaigns, to maintain a 100% impression share most oftenly will be unprofitable due to large cost-per-click ranges and also reducing your return on investment.

The best approach is to find a healthy high ground, where you feature for a large percentage of the market (i usually target 80-90%) that results in healthy cost-per-clicks and also strong visibility. But as always with PPC test, test and test and find the most optimal impression share for yourself.