Visibility metrics in Google Ads

Google Ads is a popular online advertising platform. It is useful in reaching your target audience, but like everything related to Google, it is constantly evolving. As a result, even experienced marketers can have some difficulty keeping up.

While there are excellent metrics to help you identify gaps in visibility and opportunities for growth, it can be a bit difficult to determine precisely which metrics to use. Keep reading to review six metrics we can use to find growth opportunities in search campaigns.

Competitive Metrics in Google Ads

Some metrics are competitive metrics; this means they give some indication of where your account is relative to others that you are competing with in the ad auction. This is something to keep in mind, as it is a significant distinction from most metrics in your Google Ad account.

Click Share

This is a fairly new metric and is a little different from the others. It is determined by dividing the number of clicks you have received on the search network by an estimated maximum possible number of clicks. That means if you have 72%, you received 72 clicks out of every 100 possible.

Search Impression Share

While Click Share measures the number of actual clicks, Search Impression Share measures the number of impressions you actually have received, divided by the estimated number you were eligible to receive.

Using the same figure as above, a 72% means your ad showed on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) 72 times for every 100 times it was eligible to do so.

Search Top Impression Share

This metric continues to provide you an indicator by dividing Actual by Potential Maximum. In this case, it is measuring not just the total number of impressions, but how many times your ad appears in a top position above organic searches.Search Absolute Top Impression Share

As the name implies, this is measuring the number of appearances not just above the organic searches, but in the very first paid position. Like the others, it is calculated by dividing the number of absolute top impressions by the number of such for which you were eligible.

How to Identify Growth Opportunities Using Competitive Metrics

The above metrics are called competitive because they are used to indicate your performance in comparison to others, and while reviewing them, you may be wondering how they can help you. Their purpose is to help you optimize your account.

You may be losing impression share via two different ways: low bid or low quality. You can use the two additional columns of Impression Share Lost (budget) and Impression Share Lost (rank) to help you find ways to improve your impression share. For example, you may find that you have an issue with rank, in which case you can look at your quality score as well as the relevancy of your ad and landing page experience.

With Click Share added to the metrics, there is now the ability to spot the potential for increasing traffic. For example, if your metrics show that your search impression share is significantly higher than your click share, you can see that you are failing to capture all the clicks that are possible. In this case, you can try to adjust ad relevancy and copy.

Performance Metrics in Google Ads

Here we have two other metrics—both of them also dealing with impressions—which can help us to determine areas of opportunity. They give an idea of how well our ads are performing. The metrics are Impressions (Top)% and Impressions (Abs. Top)%. These metrics focus on the actual location of your ads, as opposed to their placement in a competitive environment. This gives you an understanding of where your ads are appearing.

Impressions (Top)%

To calculate this metric, take the number of impressions that you have earned in the top positions (above the organic search results), and divide them by the total number of earned impressions. This differs from Search Impression Share (Top) in that it uses actual impressions, rather than an estimate.

Impressions (Abs. Top) %

Calculated in the same manner as above, divide the impressions earned in the very top spot by all earned impressions.How to Know Where Your Ads Are Appearing.

To determine where your ads are actually appearing, you can use the Impressions (Top) % and Impressions (Absolute Top) %. They are indicative of your actual performance, rather than indicators of your ads in a competitive environment.

As we progress with automated strategies, the metrics for impression are something to be aware of and to monitor. Familiarize yourself with these metrics and the differences between them, as each one relates to a different aspect of your account’s visibility.

By making proper use of these, you will know not only how often your ads are showing, but where they are visible in the SERPs, and what you can do to take advantage of growth opportunities. There are other metrics, of course, but making use of the above can help you optimize your Google Ads account for continued growth.


Christian Thomson Marwick Photo PostAbout Marwick Marketing

Marwick Marketing is Canada’s leading SEO agency. Certified as a Premier Google Partner Agency, we drive excellent SEO results. Marwick Marketing is also the highest-rated Google Ads agency in Canada. Check out our reviews on Google. Contact us today and see how we can improve your SEO to increase your business online.


Christian Thomson

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.

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