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Kirk Williams

Google Shopping Impression Share: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know - Video

Google Shopping Impression Share: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know - Video

10/25/19 UPDATE: Hello Facebook Agency Visitor Person!  We’re delighted to have you visit this awesome post. About a year ago, ZATO stopped offering Facebook Ads solutions so we could focus solely on what we do best: Google Ads. Because of this, we’re always interested in partnerships with great Social Advertising agencies (like yourself, wink wink!) and we offer referral fees for signed clients!  Anyway, back to it, and happy reading…

Post Summary

Search Impression Share is one of those topics that matters a lot to some, and matters little to most. Well, if you are the "some", then welcome! We're going to be looking at Search Impression Share as it relates to Shopping Impression Share, and the differences between them. Check out the video, or skip it like I usually do and read the transcript instead!

What is Search Impression Share? What are key differences between Google Search and Google Shopping impression share metrics shown in Google AdWords? Learn More About ZATO:


Video Transcript on Google Shopping Impression Share

Hey, Kirk here with ZATO. We're a paid search and paid social agency based in Billings, Montana, and our focus is advertising for clients on Google AdWords, Big Ads, Facebook Ads, and other paid social channels. I've done a few videos here. I put them on LinkedIn and then YouTube as well and our website, and some of those videos have to do with my Lego collection, but most of them have to do with paid advertising, specifically pay per click marketing, PPC marketing, search engine marketing, paid search, paid social. Lots of different names, kind of whatever it ends up being that you particularly want to call it, but one of the things that our agency focuses on specifically, and what I want to talk a little bit more today is Google Shopping: Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, shopping ads, comparison shopping engines.

One of the things that I think is essential for eCommerce clients now, eCommerce companies, is to do well on Google Shopping, on Google and Bing Shopping, and so I just have been trying to put out a few videos that have been giving us helpful tips and different thoughts on how to do shopping ads well. This is another one of those.

Search Impression Share Definition

What I want to discuss today is shopping ads impression share, so impression share for shopping ads. Now, if you're familiar with AdWords, you may be familiar with the idea of search impression share.What that means is basically, Google is letting you know, here are the number of options you are eligible to appear for, the number of impressions that you are eligible to receive, and based on a number of things like your bid, your budget, whatever the heck Google wants to do, all of those then determine then how many impressions you actually appeared for.This is different than clicks, "clicks" is actual traffic. So this doesn't have to do with people going to your site.

This is just in terms of how many eyeballs saw your ads compared to how many eyeballs could have seen your ads, maybe is the way to look at search impression share. It's a very helpful metric, because it gives you an idea of where you stand kind of in market at large, especially if you're in a very highly competitive market. You may see that you have a lower search impression share and you have a lot of room to expand, to bid more, whatever you might want to do to gain more impression share.Now, here's the deal. From a paid search side, so a text ad, let's think keywords. Traditional text ad, PPC. Search impression share means it's a little bit more simplistic, in my opinion. Because you're saying, "I want to bid on this key word."

Random Rabbit Trail on FJ Cruisers and Toyota

Let's say I want to bid on Toyota FJ Cruiser. I have an FJ. I love it. You can tell I love it, because I always try to throw it in there, like, "Oh yeah, my FJ," right? It's a Toyota. I love it. It's a Toyota thing. I think that was a bumper sticker back in the day. I've seen a few of them. It's a Toyota thing. You wouldn't understand. Very condescending. I would never have that bumper sticker, but I do love Toyota.Back off of the rabbit trail, so let's say Toyota FJ Cruiser, that's your keyword. Well, search impression share in some ways is a little bit simplistic there, because even if that's a phrase match term, you're getting an idea of these are the auctions that you were eligible for, for Toyota FJ Cruiser. There's still quite a narrow line of impressions that you're aiming at. 

The Difference between Search and Shopping Impression Share

Now, Google Shopping is different from that. There are a few ways that it's different. First of all, if you think about shopping, remember that shopping is a lot more automated than tex ads, than paid search. With paid search, where we're bidding on key words, you're not doing that in shopping. You're bidding on products. You're bidding on this product or this product group, and you're setting a bid for this product, and that means that Google is taking your feed data and it's taking search queries out there, and it's matching that up all in real time, and all in the back end, and then it's saying, "Okay, here we go. This is the bid that you set. We think that this person out there searching for this, we think that they're going to be a good fit for you, so here you go."Now, if you've done any Google Shopping, and if you've looked into things like the search terms report, you've probably seen that Google and Bing don't get that right all the time. When you're thinking of impression share for your keywords, Toyota FJ Cruiser, pretty limited. You get a pretty good idea of, those are the terms. That's the amount of impressions that are eligible. I want to try to get more than the impression share that I have.

With shopping, it's more complex. Because you have a product. Let's say you're selling Toyota FJ Cruisers as a Google Shopping, all right? You have this product, and you could be eligible to appear as impressions for Toyota FJ Cruiser for Toyota, for yellow car, for car, for whatever. PJ Masks. Well, sorry, we thought PJ Masks and FJ Cruiser were the same because there's J in there. All right? You laugh, but we've all seen things like that in Google Shopping. Actually, just recently, again going on another rabbit trail.

Recently, I was mining through search terms in a client, and had to get rid of the exact match, Amazon. Thanks, Google. Amazon. Like, we were bidding for a brief while with Google Shopping on Amazon. That was the term? All right? Not remotely what was specifically in line with this client, although, yes, Amazon is a competitor, as they are for everyone in the world right now.But, all that to say that as you think about impression share for shopping and search, it is really important to consider that as one of the key differences. It's not as narrow of a target for shopping, and so you do have to keep that in mind that you don't get so obsessed with your impression share that you forget that it's not apples to apples in comparing, this is our impression share in our search campaigns, and this is our impression share in our shopping campaigns. Why is shopping impression share so low? Oh my goodness. Well, that's because that product group or that campaign is eligible for a billion more impressions of random queries than maybe your very specifically focused exact match terms are. So just be aware of that.

Don't Forget: You can Have Multiple Ads per SERP in ShoppingAnother thing to be aware of with shopping in terms of the difference between shopping and search impressions is that with search, if you remember, for ads, you can only have one ad eligible per SERP. SERP is search engine result page. When someone types in Toyota FJ Cruiser, only one search ad is eligible to show for you. With shopping, that's not the case. You can have four or five ads for shopping ads from the same store. Again, just think to the fact that with your four or five ads all appearing in a SERP, that's one impression. But your store basically had five impressions, right?So for impression share metric, we're told by Google, I checked the policy docs on this, we're actually told that the product that wins that highest impression, so basically, the product in your group, even if four of them show, the product that most matches, most relevant, highest bid, all of that together is the one that gets to partake in the impression share that then shows in your account. I didn't know that. I thought that was really interesting. That's another difference between shopping and search. 

Absolute Top Impression Share ExplainedFinally, just be aware of shopping with absolute top impression share. That's a really cool metric, and that came with the new UI, and absolute top impression share doesn't just tell us where we are in terms of impressions, but it says, here are all the times your shopping ad was eligible to appear at the max top in the best ultimate top ad position, and then this is how many times you actually did appear in there.So, for those of us who understand, that can be a really powerful position in Google Shopping ads. Then that gives us even more insight into not just how we can increase our impression share, but how we can increase making sure that we're at the very top and we're doing well with Google Shopping.Hopefully that's been helpful as we think about search and shopping impression share. 

The Worst Video Ending Ever...Again, my name is Kirk with ZATO, and last but not least, in case those of you who have been wondering and waiting after my video from a couple of weeks ago, yes, the star destroyer is alive. She made it. She's back together now in her rightful place, here on the throne, right behind my desk. I've been adding to my Lego collection, and again, really great ... What am I doing? I don't even know how I'm ending this. Have you noticed that? If you've watched other videos, I really have a bad way of ending, and at some point, I'm going to have to figure that out.But I also feel like if you go down the route of having this really super professional, "Hey there. Great to see you. Peace out," type of a thing, then it kind of is fake and all that. So, I guess I'm taking the rambling approach. By now, you've probably turned this off anyways, so it does not matter because probably, about two people will actually see this ending. If you are one of those two people, I love you. You're amazing. Don't change who you are, except for the areas where you need to change, and I'm done now. 

Did you know: ZATO can manage just Shopping Ads for your Brand or company alongside your in-house/agency Paid Search team?  Learn more about this offering here: Google Shopping Agency.

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Kirk Williams
Owner & Chief Pondering Officer

Kirk is the owner of ZATO, his Paid Search & Social PPC micro-agency of experts, and has been working in Digital Marketing since 2009. His personal motto (perhaps unhealthily so), is "let's overthink this some more."  He even wrote a book recently on philosophical PPC musings that you can check out here: Ponderings of a PPC Professional.

He has been named one of the Top 25 Most Influential PPCers in the world by PPC Hero 6 years in a row (2016-2021), has written articles for many industry publications (including Shopify, Moz, PPC Hero, Search Engine Land, and Microsoft), and is a frequent guest on digital marketing podcasts and webinars.

Kirk currently resides in Billings, MT with his wife, six children, books, Trek Bikes, Taylor guitar, and little sleep.

Kirk is an avid "discusser of marketing things" on Twitter, as well as an avid conference speaker, having traveled around the world to talk about Paid Search (especially Shopping Ads).  Kirk has booked speaking engagements in London, Dublin, Sydney, Milan, NYC, Dallas, OKC, Milwaukee, and more and has been recognized through reviews as one of the Top 10 conference presentations on more than one occasion.

You can connect with Kirk on Twitter, and Linkedin, or follow his marketing song parodies on TikTok.

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