One of the ways you want to use AdWords is to gauge how you stack up against other advertisers. Competitive Metrics columns in AdWords aren’t about outdoing the competition as much as it’s about improving yourself so that the system chooses your ads more often. That means, and I know I sound like a broken record, making sure your keywords, ads and landing pages are synced and relevant to user search queries.
Three of the metrics are impression Share, Exact Match, and Lost Impression Share (rank or budget). All are available for Search and Display. But for the sake of this post, I’ll use the Search network metrics.
What is Search Impression Share?
In every AdWords auction, your ads are competing with others for a certain amount of available impressions. The number of impressions your ad gets divided by the total number of impressions available for advertisers is the ratio Search Impression Share.
For example: If there are 500 impressions available, and you get 100 of those, your search impression share is 20% (100/500) and 80% of the available share went to another advertiser.
What is Search Exact Match?
This is the similar to search impression share except these are for keyword search terms that were an exact match. Take the same example of getting 20% of eligible impressions. When someone searches for the term “red squiggly widget,” you’re getting served ads for that exact term 20% of the time.
What is Search Lost Impression Share?
You have two options here. You can either lose impression share because of rank or because of budget. Now losing search share because of budget means exactly what it says. You didn’t have enough money in your budget to beat the competitors for more impressions. Lost share because of ad rank, is not so straightforward. Now many of you may be asking, what is ad rank? Ad Rank is a formula AdWords uses to determine ad position. The variables in the formula are your bid amount , the impact of other ad formats and extensions and Quality Score, which comprises, ad relevance and landing page . The mystery is how each of these are weighted when being combined for Ad Rank. Again if you’re budget limited, you could lost share because of that. But if you have the budget, and even if you have great extensions and the perfect Quality Score of 10, you could still lose impression share because of rank!
So, what’s the point then?
Again, it’s not about focusing on being better than the competition. The questions you need to ask are a lot deeper than that. For example, how can I improve my ads so that I’m getting more than just 20% of shares I’m eligible for? Am I using enough relevant keywords? How about my match types? Am I utilizing exact match or phrase match in the best ways?
Never rest on what you’re told is perfect. Even if your Quality score is 10, there’s always room for improvement, limited budget or not. You could try tweaking your ads headlines by adding the keywords in the headlines, to make it more visible, or tweaking your landing page to make it more valuable and relevant, or maybe making some of your keywords different match types to help you improve click through and find more relevant prospects.
Figuring out how you stand with competitors is more about coming up with ways to achieve better results in the future.
What do you think about these Competitive Metrics columns?