Tags: Digital Media

By: Ed Dunn

Google to Remove Two Bidding Strategies

Google has recently announced that two popular bidding strategies – Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share – will no longer be available starting the end of June 2019. The decision by Google to retire these two automated bidding strategies will bring about huge changes in the campaigns of many businesses.

As a replacement for these two bidding strategies, Google will encourage advertisers to use Target Impression Share, which “automatically sets bids to help achieve your Impression Share goal across all campaigns using this strategy.” So, if there are any existing campaigns that still use Target Search Page Location and Target Outranking Share later this year, they will be moved to the new strategy. For this migration, Google will take into account historical impression share and previous target positions to set targets.

Learning everything

What is Target Impression Share?

Introduced back in November 2018, Target Impression Share is a fairly new bidding strategy from Google that is primarily designed to deliver awareness for advertisers. It allows for the optimization of campaigns by showing ads for a certain percentage of targeted searches as well as a particular search page location.

For this strategy, advertisers can choose one among three placement options. These options include position one, which is the absolute top of the page; top of the page, which is placed right above the organic results; and anywhere on the page, which means either above or below the organic search results.

This migration from the previous bidding strategies to the new strategy is important for advertisers because it is part of Google’s reveal of new ad position metrics, which focus only on the impressions and impression share of the top and absolute top search results. Google has announced that it also plans to retire the average position later this year.

So, when advertisers wish for their ads to be shown in certain locations on the page, the Target Impression Share is a great bidding strategy. However, the elimination of the Target Outranking Share means that you, as an advertiser, will no longer be able to target outranking a specific competitor. Before, you could outrank a single specific competitor by identifying their domain and bidding higher than them. This highly precise targeting was a useful tool for some small and medium-sized businesses in the right context.

What does the shift to Target Impression Share mean for businesses?

While Google is certainly excited about Target Impression Share we believe that small and medium-sized businesses will not be best served by this strategy. If you were using one of the older strategies that Google is removing now would be a good time to re-evaluate your strategy and restructure your campaigns - don’t let Google just roll you into Target Impression Share.

For this bidding strategy to be truly viable, large budgets are required to throw a lot of money at large amounts of impressions, and neglect the granular optimization that we believe is key for success as a SMB. When every dollar matters and businesses need to show ROI, as is the case with most small and medium-sized businesses, you are best served by using a Google Ads strategy that focuses on quality traffic and conversions and allows for optimization on every step in the system.

It should also be noted that while some brands prefer to vie for the top position, sometimes this isn’t the most valuable because people are comparison shopping and their intent actually rises when they move down the rankings after looking at different search results.

So, in order to avoid unwanted strategies that do not align with your budget or your business goals, it is best to be proactive and rework your campaigns with help from experts with plenty of experience in advance.

Case study

Why is Prove of the opinion that Target Impression Share may not be the best option for small and medium-sized businesses if you do not rethink your strategy? This case study we conducted will help you gain a better understanding, A consumer beverage brand, ran a test using Target Impression Share bidding. The client had ample budget and a large enough search volume, to make this strategy a good test. We targeted top of the search engine results page with a very competitive bid, as well as previously well-performing ads. However, the result we received was quite unsatisfactory. Not only did we receive lower clicks, the CPC (cost-per-click) was also higher compared to previous bidding strategies which focused on driving quality traffic at an efficient price.

For the test, both brand and non-brand keywords were used. For both of these, the average position was 1.0. Couple ad groups positions were 1.1 and 1.2, but these were averaged out to 1.0. So, even with a large search volume and adequate budget, we did not see improved performance using Target Impression Share.


At Prove, we still believe that for small and medium businesses, focusing your efforts on conversions and quality traffic is still the best approach. This allows marketing dollars to go further, bringing revenue and allowing businesses to scale up. When your marketing campaign utilized efficiently, it’s easy to receive the results you want without having to break the bank.