A Deeper Look into Apple Search Ads Impression Share Reports
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
As I mentioned in the post Search Marketers Rejoice! Impression Share Available for Apple Search Ads, Apple Search Ads (ASA) now includes Impression Share (also known as “Share of Voice”) reports. Impression Share reflects the percent of time your ad serves
when it was eligible to do so.
Impression Share is used heavily by search engine marketing (SEM) practitioners in Google Ads. It’s a great tool that informs if there’s room to generate additional traffic. There a few factors that typically inform impression share:
Budget hitting caps
Google delineates bid strength and ad relevance as “Impression Share - Rank.” Budget caps are reflected in “Impression Share - Budget.” The remedy for lost impression share due to rank is either boost bids and/or make your ad more relevant, thereby increasing click thru rates. Lost impression share due to budgets can be addressed by increasing budgets. It’s always good to be grounded in Google ads mechanisms as many of its principles apply to other search ads networks like ASA.
Now, back to ASA. You can access ASA Impression Share data by going to: Custom Reports > Create Report > Report Type > Daily Impression Share Report or Weekly Impression Share Report.
There’s good news and there’s bad news when it comes to ASA’s Impression Share reporting.
First, the bad news. For one, the dimensions are pre-defined. Your options are Day (or Week if you select that report), App Name, App ID, Country or Region, and Search Term. Ideally, you could segment by Campaign, Ad Group, or Targeted Keyword. That would allow you to more precisely inform bidding and budgeting strategies. Additionally, only macro-level Impression Share is included. It isn’t clear what proportion of the Impression Share loss is due to rank or budget.
Now, the good news. Impression Share isn’t rocket science but for SEM standards, it’s advanced stuff. This underscores Apple’s commitment to improving -- and scaling -- their search program.
On the practical side, Apple shows Impression Share at the Search Term level. That granularity should more than suffice in terms of tying the Search Term back to the Targeted Keyword to get visibility into your Targeted Keyword’s relevance and bid. And if you’re running primarily exact match, then Search Term = Targeted Keyword. You’ll just need to do some vlookups to tie it all together. Mildly annoying but not that big of a deal.
Impression Share reports also include Rank and Search Popularity. The range for Rank goes from 1 - >5. There’s also a “--” option. It’s not clear if that’s a 0 or null value. A small number means you’re ranking high, and based on our analysis, is negatively correlated with Impression Share. In other words, small is good. Big is bad. For Search Popularity, the range goes from 1-5. 1 = less popular and 5 = more popular. We didn’t see a >5. There’s also a “--”. Again, we’re not clear if that's a 0 or null value. As we learn more, we’ll share more there. Our analysis showed a negative correlation between Search Popularity and Impression Share. This makes sense. The more popular a keyword, the harder it is to serve in the ad auction.
Okay, you’re probably wondering, “How do I use this data.” The data is still quite new and there aren’t a lot of definitions in the ASA console. However, some initial thoughts:
Boost bids on low Impression Share/high-performing search terms (gotta run vlookups on those search terms to determine the Targeted Keyword). Ideally, the bulk of your traffic is on Exact Match so the Search Term data should ostensibly be targeted keyword data.
Use Search Popularity metrics to determine if there are some search terms/keywords that aren’t worth competing on. If there are, try focusing on less popular keywords.
What are your thoughts on ASA’s Impression Share and associated metrics? We’d love to hear from you!