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Google Introduces Absolute Top Impression Share Metric For Shopping

Google recently launched Absolute Top Impression Share (ATIS) as a competitive metric for Shopping to give advertisers further insight into ad prominence within the product carousel. Advertisers will be able to see how often ads are showing in the most prominent position with the greatest potential for clicks and visibility. The ATIS metric can be found in AdWords Next and viewed for Shopping ads and Local Inventory Ads, across devices, and at the campaign, ad group and product group levels.

To add the ATIS metric in AdWords Next, click on the 'modify columns' button in the upper right corner above the designated list of campaigns, ad groups, or product groups. 'Search abs. top IS' is an option under Competitive Metrics and can be applied along with other desired metrics.

A screenshot of the Adwords Absolute Top Impression Share metric

ATIS is calculated as the number of times an ad shows in the most prominent position out of the total opportunities to show in that prominent position. Similar to impression share and click share, total opportunities for ATIS include auctions where an ad is shown in any position, as well as auctions an ad participated and was competitive in, but did not show.

The most prominent position is the position with the highest CTR, which Google currently identifies as the leftmost position on the carousel.

The placement of absolute top impression share in Google search results

Bid pushes for Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and /or Local Inventory Ads (LIAs) should result in a positive, or at least neutral, impact on ATIS as the metric accounts for the increase in eligible auctions that can come with bid pushes. This is different from text ad average position, where bid pushes can result in lower average position in some circumstances by making a keyword eligible for more auctions.

ATIS should help advertisers better understand how to bid for top products by giving insight into where there might be room for opportunity within the competitive space. The rapid growth of Amazon’s Google Shopping home goods impression share since last December poses a challenge for retailers’ PLA/LIA visibility on the SERP. 

With the introduction of ATIS, retailers now have another avenue to evaluate dominance in the auction in terms of the prominent position. Increasing opportunities to show in the spot with the highest CTR may be another method for advertisers to maintain strength against Amazon and other major competitors.

The Google Shopping impression share last quarter

Much like position one for text ads, it is unlikely that advertisers will optimize to show in the top spot of the carousel for all products all the time, as bids are most often set based on the expected value of traffic rather than ad position. While increasing prominence in the top spot will likely increase traffic, the traffic may not necessarily be as qualified. 

There are multiple cases where this insight into shopping visibility may be advantageous. Google offered a few different scenarios for ATIS optimization opportunity: 

Category & Brand Ownership

Whether it be bestsellers or the highest impact categories, the ability to see ATIS at the ad group and product group level provides another benchmark when pushing on the products where high visibility is most important to the retailer. ATIS can give a sense of prominence in categories or subcategories that are beginning to trend based on seasonality.

ATIS can also act as a window into the most competitive categories. Ownership on an advertiser's own brand space, when looking at campaigns targeted toward branded queries, is another area in which ATIS could come in handy.  

Promotional Periods

Since a common strategy is to push bids on products during promotional periods, ATIS will reveal how much of the most valuable PLA space retailers are owning during a time where high visibility can be a priority. For LIAs, ATIS can be implemented as another benchmark for the advertiser to use when looking to support promotions both in-store and online.  

Key Shopping Days

As we approach the winter holiday season, some advertisers become more willing to increase spend to ensure strong visibility. Whether the goal is to target top products, generic search queries, or certain categories and subcategories of product, ATIS will provide useful insight into how much of the space the retailer is owning. 

New Store Launches  

Using online advertising to support physical store locations is becoming more of a focus for brick-and-mortar brands, and LIA visibility can be of high priority for some retailers. For brands that push bids on LIAs around new store launches, ATIS can serve as a good complementary KPI for how those bid pushes are impacting visibility.