How to Use Google Ads Competitive Metrics

Published: April 2, 2024



Google recently revised the definitions of some competitive metrics used for evaluating performance of your Google Ads. This article will guide you on how to effectively evaluate these metrics.

Search top impression rate (Impr. (Top) %)

Impressions on top/Impressions 

If your search top impression rate % is low, then your ads are showing more frequently at the bottom of the page. This reduces your visibility and number of clicks. If you want to increase your traffic:

  • Consider increasing bids. This will improve your ad rank and help your ads to serve higher up the page.
  • Review your quality score. This impacts ad rank, and improving this will help your ad rank, without having to increase your bids.
  • Review search terms / keyword matching. If you are matching to lower relevancy search terms, be sure to add these as negative keywords.

Search absolute top impression rate (Impr. (Abs.Top) %)

Impressions on the absolute top/Impressions

This metric helps you determine how frequently your ads are showing in the very top position. This won’t be the right metric to optimse towards for all campaigns as it can be very expensive to be in the top spot for every search, however it is an important metric for branded campaigns, where you would want to be in the top position.

Search top impression share

Impressions on top/eligible impressions on top

This metric helps to determine how much of total search volume your ads a showing for. It is important to note that a lower % here is not necessarily a bad thing.

  • The first thing to check is budget constraints. If your campaign is limited by budget, your are still considered “eligible” to serve ads but will not serve, lowering your search top impression share.
  • The broader your keyword match type, the more impressions your will be eligible to show for which will likely reduce your %

This metric is best used for your high intent exact match terms that you have identified as high value terms for your business. These are terms you want to show as many ads as possible for and would want a high search top impression share rate.

Top tip

Be careful of vanity bidding for the absolute top position. This can be counter productive and actually lead to less clicks as you exhaust your budget faster with more expensive

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