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Google has now released Competitive Metrics columns into the Audiences tab in Google Ads. This will allow you to report on how your Impression Share looks by Audience List, rather than having to go to Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword level. What does this mean for you? Why has Google introduced this for Audiences in Search campaigns? As always, we’ll explore the answers and leave you with actionable insight.


What Competitive Metrics for Audiences can you see in Google Ads?

By navigating to the ‘Audiences’ tab, and then clicking on ‘Columns’ you can now see:

Search Impr. Share – Impression Share is the number of impressions you received, divided by the number of impressions that you were eligible to receive.

Search Lost IS (Rank) – This is the percentage of time that your ad didn’t appear in search results because of your poor ad rank.

Search Exact Match IS – This is the percentage which is calculated by dividing the number of impressions that your campaign received for searches that matched exactly your keyword, by the total estimated exact match impressions that you were eligible to receive.

Avg. Pos. – This of course refers to your Average Position in the search engine results page.


Why has Google made this change?

Continuing to kill off keyword targeting as we once knew it

We’ve stressed time and time again that gone are the days where paid search was just about keyword targeting.

Keywords are becoming less important, as better understanding context and intent through Audiences and Signals behind the search queries becomes vital to success.

The advertisers that win are the one’s that better understand the context and intent of users both before they interact with your business (through the use of Audience types such as In-Market Audiences, Similar Audiences etc), and after they have interacted with your business (through Remarketing Lists for Search Ads, Customer Match, YouTube Audiences etc). It’s more about targeting the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. You can only really do this effectively if you have a logical and robust Audience strategy in place.

For me, this change continues to reaffirm that Google are going to continue making keyword targeting “broader” (which means capturing more search queries) and rather than targeting specific searches, we’ll instead be targeting specific people.

Enter the era of programmatic search.


What do these new Competitive Metrics for Audiences mean for you?

It’s an invaluable bit of insight right in the interface itself, continuing to make Google Ads assistive

There were previously some workarounds to getting this data, for example you’d have to target and bid certain ad groups/campaigns to get the impression share for a specific audiences. This is however fairly labour intensive and potentially detrimental to your campaign setup.

This update means you’ll now be able to see your Competitive Metrics for the specific audience list you have applied at campaign or ad group level. From this, you can then make better decisions about your Bid Adjustments that you need to apply to your audience lists (both positive and negative bid adjustments).

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Dan Roberts

Founder & Author at PPC hubbub
Dan has worked in agencies for over 5 years and was awarded Rising Star at The Drum Search Awards for the work delivered for his clients and wider industry. Dan founded PPC hubbub after becoming frustrated with the lack of actionable insight from blogs.

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Dan Roberts
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