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The Target Impression Share Smart Bidding Strategy in Google Ads helps advertisers to achieve a specific impression threshold. For example, if you wanted to target 100% impression share on selected keywords you can now let the smart bidding strategy do the work for you. This should then help to maximise reach against the competition by showing for a certain percentage of eligible auctions. 


What does this update mean for you?

It’s useful for your Brand keywords 

When looking at Paid Search best practice, your Brand keywords should always be in position 1 with at least a +90% Impression Share (if not higher) if it’s highly competitive. This strategy helps to ensure that you protect you capture the available search demand for your most important keywords, without letting the competition steal your customers. 

By using the target impression share smart bidding strategy in Google Ads, you can now sit back and relax (a little) with the comfort of knowing that you shouldn’t have to adjust your Brand keyword bids too often to adapt to the latest auction conditions. In theory, this new bidding strategy should work to make sure that you are protected for your most valuable keywords. 

Watch out for an increase in your CPCs

By using the target impression share bidding strategy you could see your cost-per-click increase, particularly if you are working to a 100% Impression Share. The reason being is that it will probably raise your Max Bid on the keyword to a sky high number, which could then in turn increase your CPCs. Your competition could keep pushing their bids up to squeeze your impression share, but the smart bidding strategy will continue to increase your Max Bid to keep your Impression Share at the target you have set. 

Top Tip – Play around with the Impression Share target you are aiming for, measuring the impact that this has on your CPCs. The aim it to try and keep your Brand CPCs as low as possible, so try bidding 99%, 95% or even 90% and monitor the impact on your KPIs. 

Understand your marketing objectives and KPIs before testing

In their announcement, Google Ads has rightly pointed out that the target impression share smart bidding strategy isn’t for everyone. You’ll need to understand what your KPIs are to see if this strategy is the right one for you. Google Ads provided the below advice for you dependent on your marketing objective:

Business GoalCampaign GoalSmart Bidding Method
Increase Sales or LeadsGet as many conversions as possible at a fixed budget or fixed ROIMax Conversions, Target CPA
Increase ProfitHit a Return on ad spend (ROAS) that is a profitable level for a specific campaign typeTarget ROAS
Increase Website VisitorsGet as many clicks to your websites as possible with the given budgetMax Clicks
Increase or stabilize awarenessShow in a certain percentage of eligible auctionsTarget Impression Share

What happens if everyone uses the target impression share smart bidding strategy?

Dan Roberts
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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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