Could This Be What Google Means By “Low Share of Voice”?

by Adrian Key

The buzz on the forums recently has been about the AdWords “Low Share of Voice” error message.

In this article, we’re going to separate truth from fiction by defining what “Low Share of Voice” really means, discussing the real impact that this error is having on your AdWords campaigns and telling you how to get your account running smoothly again.

What Does “Low Share of Voice” Actually Mean?

Google defines “Share of Voice” as:

“… represents the percentage of times your ads were actually shown in relation to the total number of chances your ads could have been shown …”

Source: Inside AdWords Blog

But what does this really mean to you and me?

Imagine you’re using AdWords to sell chocolates. You might have an AdGroup targeting the keyword “Specialist chocolates”. Everything is running fine until Google decides to flag your keyword as “Low Share of Voice”.

Sounds familiar – what is Google actually trying to tell you?

Simply, that you could get your ad to show more often for this keyword. That’s it – done!

What Impact Is This Status Having On Your AdWords Campaign?

Many AdWords users claim this error message has had a decremental effect on their campaigns performance. But the truth of the matter is that on closer examination of the evidence, we’ve found this is not the case.

Every expert will agree, the vital life signs for a successful campaign are impressions, click-through-rate, quality score, ad position and conversions. In all instances that we’ve been made aware of, these statistics have largely remained unchanged when measured over a realistic time period.

So,why the confusion?

Comparing today’s stats with yesterday’s and stating there is a problem because your daily impressions dropped by 200 just isn’t realistic. Your campaign will always experience changes in performance from day-to-day.

Unless you have a very big and busy AdWords campaign, you’ll need at least a weeks data before and after the error message first showed in order to make any realistic comparisons.

What Do You Need To Do Now?

If you’re experiencing this error in your AdWords campaign, then the right thing to do first is to identify the cause of the problem. Like most error messages in AdWords, Google hasn’t done a very good job of explaining exactly what they mean.

Here are some of our suggestions on what to look for:

1) Could your quality score be improved?

2) do you have a very low average ad position for that keyword?

3)Can you add more, very similar keywords to the ad group?

Once you’ve identified the problem, what you do about it is up to you and your biding strategy.

To demonstrate this, let’s return to our chocolates example. If your ad was very low on the results page, you could be loosing out on potential impressions. But, this could be a deliberate strategy!

The keyword “specialist chocolates” maybe very competitive. By placing your ad at the bottom of the results page, you would get less impressions (because your ad sometimes falls off the first page), but those that do click, might convert better as they are more serious about making a purchase.

You’d therefore not want to make any changes to your campaign.

But, looking at the example from another point-of-view, you might decide that the addition of a few more keywords to this ad group would be helpful. Therefore this time, you’d wind up the keyword tool or look at the suggestions under the “Opportunities” tab to improve this ad groups performance.

P.S. As I write this article, I’m informed that Google have fixed this problem. The “Low Share of Voice” error does still remain an active part of AdWords, but the trigger for the message has been made less sensitive. This error message will therefore occur a lot less often than it has recently.

Adrian Key is editor of the AdWords Adviser, a blog dedicated to making AdWords more profitable for you. Discover more resources, ideas and tips to improve your AdWords campaign at:

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