When troubleshooting a drop in impressions, you may want to consider the following things, learn these Digital Marketing skills and be an expert in AdWords.
1) Is there a specific Ad Unseen issue?
It seems basic, but many people never consider that a drop in impressions can only have two causes: lower search volume or an ad unseen issue. Since there’s no way to troubleshoot lower search volume, any drop in impressions investigation should begin with the question: Is your ad showing for every query that it used to? Some advertisers can tell you this immediately, but if they can, then they are probably already complaining about an Ad Unseen issue and not a drop in impressions.
2) Ask them to narrow down the drop. Is it happening in a single campaign or Ad Group? Are specific keywords seeing fewer impressions? Check change history.
Make sure the advertiser has run and compared Campaign and Ad Group level reports from the period before and after the drop in traffic. This can help narrow down the cause of the drop in impressions. Check the change history to see if there were any changes recorded in the campaign, ad group, or account level change history that may have triggered a delivery drop (daily budget lowered, ad group/keyword level max CPC bids lowered, geotargeting changed to smaller or less regions, etc).
3) Is the advertiser opted in to Search and Display Select? Were they previously?
This may seem basic too, but it’s often overlooked. If an advertiser changes their syndication options they will very likely see a change in traffic. Google advertisers get a lot of traffic from partner sites.
4) Run a report for traffic on search only and content only. Was the drop in content impressions? If so, has there been a change in position?
Most people know that many of our content partners show only a few ads per page, sometimes as few as two, and we often use this to explain why advertisers are not seeing impressions on the content. However, we don’t offer consider the impact a change in position can have on an advertiser that is showing on content.
Since the amount of ad space in the Content Network is limited, even a small change in average position can have a large effect on Content Total impressions. For example, a change in average position from 2.0 to 2.1 could mean that the advertiser is no longer showing on any of our partner sites that show only two ads. Since these sites tend to be very large publishers, not showing above position 2 can cause a large drop in impressions.
Running a placement performance report can also give more insight into what content sites the campaign might have been receiving the most traffic from, and help narrow down where the drop came from. If the top domains where the ads were showing remained the same but just showed dramatic drops in traffic, this is probably due to competition and the ad being outranked. If there were issues with serving, these domains would probably not be active.
5) Does the account have any linked accounts that have similar keywords? Are there other accounts that serve with the same visible URL?
Often times a delivery drop in one account is triggered by a linked account (or account with same visible URL) raising its max CPC bid higher on the same keyword targeted to the same region.
6) Is it really a problem?
Keep in mind that a drop in impressions doesn’t equal a drop in traffic to the advertiser’s site. If the drop is in a CPC campaign, check to make sure there was also a drop in the number of clicks. If there was not, then the drop might be the result of disabled expanded matches.
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