Branding through Paid-Search: Impression Share Optimisation

June 29, 2010

In recent sessions with Google, it has become apparent that as the use of search as an acquisition tool has matured, the company is looking to broaden paid search’s appeal as a branding tool (and vice-versa can be noticed with display now being pushed for its direct response credentials).

I’ve previously written about the inherent challenge of branding through paid search due to the quality score factor. This post won’t help you improve the quality score, but instead make sure you maximise exposure by keeping an eye on the impression share and active bid management.

The search branding tool kit

The first port of call is to check the Adwords impression share report. This is done by pulling a campaign performance report and adding the columns “Impression Share” and “Exact Match IS”.

The impression share column will show for what percentage of legible searches that your keyword adverts was shown. If you’re using various match types in the campaign, this could be any number of searches stemming from variations as well. This is why we also want to analyse the column “Exact match IS”, as this percentage is considering your keywords as exact matches and thus gives you an idea of how you’re performing on your most strategic branding keywords.

For example, looking at the chart below you can see that most campaigns have very high exposure for exact match searches, meaning that they’re showing for the most strategic keywords.  However, Account 4 needs a deeper dive as it’s showing for less than 50% of the exact matches. Also Accounts 9 and 12 are of particular interest, as they have the lowest regular impression share figures, indicating that there’s possibly a long tail of searches that the campaigns are not tapping into.

The second vital tool is the Google Adwords bid simulator. The simulator can be viewed by clicking the little graph symbol that is shown against select keywords (it will only show for keywords with enough historical data) in the Max CPC column.

While it’s not trying to predict the future, it’s simulating what would have happened in the last seven days if the bid had been at a different level, but all other factors constant (such as quality score, competitor activity and search volumes). Depending on the amount of historical information it will show estimated impressions, clicks and cost. For lower volume keywords you’re restricted to impression volumes.

Since the Ad Rank in Google is determined be your bid and Quality Score, for particular branding keywords it might be very difficult to improve the quality score, so you will need to qualify by bidding higher. Worth noting is that if the quality score falls down to 2/10 or lower, it will simply not qualify for all impression regardless of bid levels and will need to be optimised.

How are you using the impression share report and bid simulator?

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Related posts:

  1. Brand Building through Paid Search Marketing
  2. Google Product Ads Lowers the Barriers of Entry to Paid Search
  3. PPC Keyword Hijacking and Branding: BA Christmas Strike Case Study
  4. International Paid Search Campaign Translation Toolkit
  5. Mobile Paid Search Marketing – The Wait is Over

{ 1 comment }

wolftrust June 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

RT @nilsson_magnus: Just posted> Branding through Paid-Search: Impression Share Optimisation… #ppc #sem

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