The Path to Understanding Ad Impressions in DataForSEO APIs

The Path to Understanding Ad Impressions in DataForSEO APIs

The concept of ad impressions is pretty straightforward at first sight: it represents the number of times a certain ad was viewed. Although this explanation makes sense, the way Google, and hence DataForSEO, calculate ad impressions is more complicated than it seems.

Let’s figure out the true meaning behind ad impressions, what parameters it involves – and last but not least – how this metric is reflected in DataForSEO.

Impressions in Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has made ad impressions the ultimate quantitative metrics of online advertising.

It all started out in October 1994, when AT&T bought the first banner ad on hotwired.com. The simple and yet groundbreaking “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? – You will” campaign reportedly had a 44% click-through rate. However, it wasn’t possible to measure the overall reach because, well, the right metric wasn’t yet invented.

Everything changed a year later with the introduction of the CPM (Cost Per Mille) as the first pricing model for digital advertising. But it wasn’t until 2004 that the advertising industry established detailed guidelines for measuring ads impressions.

Fast forward in 2019, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines ad impressions as:

“a measurement of responses from an ad delivery system to an ad request from the user’s browser, which is filtered from robotic activity and is recorded at a point as late as possible in the process of delivery of the creative material to the user’s browser – therefore closest to actual opportunity to see by the user.”

Depending on the platform and the type of marketing campaign, impression tracking can involve various metrics, such as:

  • PPC (pay-per-click) impressions, which are measured against the number of clicks received by the ad. This approach is used in Google Ads.
  • CPM (cost-per-mille) impressions, which means cost per one thousand displays (or views) of an ad. CPM is used for tracking impressions across many ad networks, including Google Ad Network.
  • CPA (cost-per-acquisition) impressions, which means that the advertiser pays only if a purchase is made. Google Ads uses the CPA metric as a part of its Smart Bidding feature to determine the cost of a paid conversion received from an ad.

Of course, there are more impression tracking models, but the above three are the most widespread in the Google Advertising ecosystem, which we’ll be discussing further below.

Impressions in Google Ads

If you’re even merely familiar with how Google Ads works, you should know the advertiser only pays for the click on the ad that gets a visitor to a certain webpage. Consequently, the number of times the ad is viewed counts as an impression.

You can view potential impressions a keyword can potentially receive in Google’s Keyword Planner.

This number is based on historical data and correlates with the target bid price. At DataForSEO we’ve also seen situations when the number of impressions for the same keyword, location, language, and bid were different for two individual Google Ads accounts.

Even though impressions are a core metric of Google Ads, it represents a very approximate number. That’s the reason why Google provides two different impression values for the same keyword: e.g., daily minimum and daily maximum. Users can thus figure out the range of impressions their ad may get, and adjust the target bid accordingly.

Impressions vs Search Volume

Monthly impressions and search volume metrics are quite similar in nature if you think about it. Both can be narrowed down to the number of searches that hit a specific results page and help to forecast the number of visitors coming to a page. In fact, if you compare monthly impressions for a keyword against its search volume, you’ll likely get similar numbers.

When Google started to hide the average monthly search volume, various SEO experts recommended using monthly impressions instead of it. There are, however, a few tricks you need to keep in mind:

  1. First and foremost, impressions are tied with ads, so if your keyword doesn’t trigger ads, you won’t get impressions data for it.
  2. Google provides impressions in daily form for a reason. Running ads during the workweek and putting them on halt on the weekend is a common practice – advertisers know when their target audience is more likely to make a purchase. Consequently, since impression values are different for various days of the week, calculating a monthly number involves a certain trade-off.
  3. Nor Google, neither DataForSEO, provide historical impressions, so you can’t analyze seasonal variations and trends per se. But, as always, there’s a workaround: you can get over this limitation by storing impressions data on your own server.
  4. At the same time, using impressions data over search volume has one significant advantage — you get a lot more accurate numbers. There are only 80 possible values search volume can take. If that wasn’t enough, Google obstructed even these approximate numbers by lumping together semantically related keywords and hiding them from users running low on their advertising budgets.

With search volume growing even more awkward and imprecise, impressions may not be the ideal proxy per se, but this metric can become an acceptable replacement if applied wisely. That is the reason why DataForSEO incorporated impressions data alongside search volume.

Impressions in DataForSEO

You’ll find impressions data in several DataForSEO APIs, viz: Ads Traffic by Keywords, Ads Traffic by Platforms, and Ranked Keywords Finder. Furthermore, monthly keyword impressions are now available in Keyword Databases as well.

Ads Traffic

It’s only natural that impressions found its way into Ads Traffic API – an ultimate source of keyword data centered on vital PPC metrics.

There are two individual endpoints operating within the Ads Traffic API: ads_traffic_by_keywords and ads_traffic_by platforms. While the former one does a good job providing all PPC keyword data you (or your users) need to know, the former one is more interesting. It gives the same data, but in this case, it’s been broken down by platforms, so that you can see how many impressions a keyword will get from desktop, tablet, and mobile search.


Request Sample
POST: https://api.dataforseo.com/v2/kwrd_ad_traffic_by_platforms_tasks_post

 
{
   "status": "ok",
   "results_time": "0.0764 sec.",
   "results_count": 1,
   "results": [
       {
           "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
           "task_id": 307467432,
           "status": "ok"
       }
   ]
}

Response Sample
GET: https://api.dataforseo.com/v2/kwrd_ad_traffic_by_platforms_tasks_get/307467432

 
{
   "status": "ok",
   "results_time": "0.0294 sec.",
   "results_count": 1,
   "results": [
       {
           "task_id": 307467432,
           "post_id": "your post_id parameter here",
           "status": "ok",
           "result": [
               {
                   "desktop": {
                       "language": "en",
                       "loc_id": 2840,
                       "bid": 999,
                       "keys": [
                           "online rank checker",
                           "best seo"
                       ],
                       "match": "exact",
                       "ad_position_min": 1.11,
                       "ad_position_max": 1,
                       "ad_position_average": 1.06,
                       "cpc_min": 16.94,
                       "cpc_max": 20.7,
                       "cpc_average": 18.82,
                       "daily_impressions_min": 14.4,
                       "daily_impressions_max": 17.6,
                       "daily_impressions_average": 16,
                       "daily_clicks_min": 0.12,
                       "daily_clicks_max": 0.14,
                       "daily_clicks_average": 0.13,
                       "daily_cost_min": 2.18,
                       "daily_cost_max": 2.66,
                       "daily_cost_average": 2.42
                   },
                   "mobile": {
                       "language": "en",
                       "loc_id": 2840,
                       "bid": 999,
                       "keys": [
                           "online rank checker",
                           "best seo"
                       ],
                       "match": "exact",
                       "ad_position_min": 1.11,
                       "ad_position_max": 1,
                       "ad_position_average": 1.06,
                       "cpc_min": 11.86,
                       "cpc_max": 14.5,
                       "cpc_average": 13.18,
                       "daily_impressions_min": 8.5,
                       "daily_impressions_max": 10.39,
                       "daily_impressions_average": 9.45,
                       "daily_clicks_min": 0.09,
                       "daily_clicks_max": 0.11,
                       "daily_clicks_average": 0.1,
                       "daily_cost_min": 1.18,
                       "daily_cost_max": 1.44,
                       "daily_cost_average": 1.31
                   },
                   "tablet": {
                       "language": "en",
                       "loc_id": 2840,
                       "bid": 999,
                       "keys": [
                           "online rank checker",
                           "best seo"
                       ],
                       "match": "exact",
                       "ad_position_min": 1.11,
                       "ad_position_max": 1,
                       "ad_position_average": 1.06,
                       "cpc_min": 11.22,
                       "cpc_max": 13.71,
                       "cpc_average": 12.47,
                       "daily_impressions_min": 2.12,
                       "daily_impressions_max": 2.59,
                       "daily_impressions_average": 2.35,
                       "daily_clicks_min": 0.02,
                       "daily_clicks_max": 0.02,
                       "daily_clicks_average": 0.02,
                       "daily_cost_min": 0.22,
                       "daily_cost_max": 0.27,
                       "daily_cost_average": 0.25
                   }
               }
           ]
       }
   ]
}

Ranked Keywords

Having the ability to get keywords that any website is ranking for is important enough, but impressions add another level of significance on the top of it. This way, you can understand how many views a website can potentially get in SERPs and even predict the daily volumes of incoming traffic by using the “impressions ETV” metric.

You can also switch between organic and paid results. For instance, let’s get keywords that KFC is using to run paid ads in the US along with ads’ title, description, estimated traffic volume, and other parameters.


Request Sample
POST: https://api.dataforseo.com/v2/kwrd_finder_ranked_keywords_get

 
{
    "data":{
    	"11049":{ 
			"domain": "kfc.com",
			"country_code": "US",
			"language": "en",
			"type": "paid",
			"limit": 10,
			"offset": 0
        }
    }
}

Response Sample

{
   "status": "ok",
   "results_time": "1.7367 sec.",
   "results_count": 1,
   "results": {
       "11049": {
           "post_id": "11049",
           "task_id": 3122712,
           "meta": {
               "domain": "kfc.com",
               "limit": 10,
               "offset": 0,
               "orderby": "position,asc",
               "total_count": 11,
               "actual_metric": {
                   "organic_count": 0,
                   "paid_count": 11,
                   "etv": 12080,
                   "pos1": 0,
                   "pos2_3": 0,
                   "pos4_10": 0,
                   "pos11_20": 0,
                   "pos21_30": 0,
                   "pos31_40": 0,
                   "pos41_50": 0,
                   "pos51_60": 0,
                   "pos61_70": 0,
                   "pos71_80": 0,
                   "pos81_90": 0,
                   "pos91_100": 0,
                   "paid_pos1": 10,
                   "paid_pos2_3": 1,
                   "paid_pos4_10": 0,
                   "paid_pos11_20": 0,
                   "paid_pos21_100": 0,
                   "impressions_etv": 3955
               },
               "result_count": 10
           },
           "ranked": [
               {
                   "key": "application for kfc",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 30400000,
                   "etv": 1871,
                   "traffic_cost": 995.985688,
                   "competition": 0.434428,
                   "cpc": 0.532328,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images",
                   "search_volume": 8100,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "Join Our KFC Family | Restaurant Jobs Available | KFC.com‎",
                   "snippet": "KFC Is More Than A Place To Work, It's A Place To Grow! We Celebrate Accomplishments Through Recognition And Push For The Best In Our Restaurants. Be Your Best Self. Experience Career Growth. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10017,
                       10018,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10161,
                       10163,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10843,
                       10891,
                       12118
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 32,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 4.639999866485596,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 18.09000015258789,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 0.7300000190734863,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 13.25
               },
               {
                   "key": "job application kfc",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 49600000,
                   "etv": 554,
                   "traffic_cost": 311.99341,
                   "competition": 0.400465,
                   "cpc": 0.563165,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask",
                   "search_volume": 2400,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "Fast Food Applications Online | Find Great Jobs At KFC | KFC.com‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Experience Career Growth. Be Your Best Self. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10891,
                       12028,
                       13575
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 1,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 0.20999999344348907,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 11.470000267028809,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 0.029999999329447746,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 0.4000000059604645
               },
               {
                   "key": "kcf careers",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 186000,
                   "etv": 2287,
                   "traffic_cost": 1007.855743,
                   "competition": 0.276695,
                   "cpc": 0.440689,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "images",
                   "search_volume": 9900,
                   "spell": "kfc",
                   "title": "KFC.com | Fast Food Employment | Find Great Jobs At KFC‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Experience Career Growth. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Be Your Best Self. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [],
                   "impressions_etv": 0,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 0
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc application",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 37600000,
                   "etv": 1871,
                   "traffic_cost": 995.985688,
                   "competition": 0.434428,
                   "cpc": 0.532328,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images",
                   "search_volume": 8100,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "KFC | Fast Food Applications Online‎",
                   "snippet": "Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Be Your Best Self. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Experience Career Growth. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager, General Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10891
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 1716,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 247.72999572753906,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 22.459999084472656,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 39.18000030517578,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 880
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc applications",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 17400000,
                   "etv": 1871,
                   "traffic_cost": 995.985688,
                   "competition": 0.434428,
                   "cpc": 0.532328,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "people_also_ask,images",
                   "search_volume": 8100,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "Fast Food Applications Online | Find Great Jobs At KFC | KFC.com‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Be Your Best Self. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Experience Career Growth. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10891
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 278,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 40.220001220703125,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 24.65999984741211,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 5.730000019073486,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 141.2100067138672
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc apply online",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 8750000,
                   "etv": 300,
                   "traffic_cost": 126.7776,
                   "competition": 0.412724,
                   "cpc": 0.422592,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images",
                   "search_volume": 1300,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "Hiring Jobs Fast Food Restaurant | Find Great Jobs At KFC‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10891
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 176,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 25.43000030517578,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 17.850000381469727,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 3.950000047683716,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 70.55999755859375
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc careers",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 86,
                   "etv": 2287,
                   "traffic_cost": 1007.855743,
                   "competition": 0.276695,
                   "cpc": 0.440689,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images,related_search",
                   "search_volume": 9900,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "KFC.com | Find Great Jobs At KFC | Hiring For Many Positions‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Be Your Best Self. Experience Career Growth. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10010,
                       10015,
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10128,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10679,
                       10746,
                       10891,
                       11958,
                       13009
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 1210,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 174.60000610351562,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 26.420000076293945,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 22.040000915527344,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 582.3699951171875
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc jobs",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 81,
                   "etv": 1016,
                   "traffic_cost": 480.515168,
                   "competition": 0.278934,
                   "cpc": 0.472948,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images,related_search",
                   "search_volume": 4400,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "KFC Is Hiring Near You | Hiring For Many Positions‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Experience Career Growth. Be Your Best Self. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [
                       10016,
                       10020,
                       10139,
                       10169,
                       10746,
                       10891
                   ],
                   "impressions_etv": 542,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 78.25,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 19.65999984741211,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 9.149999618530273,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 179.9499969482422
               },
               {
                   "key": "kfc near me jobs",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 14700000,
                   "etv": 4,
                   "traffic_cost": 2.2097,
                   "competition": 0.382653,
                   "cpc": 0.552425,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "jobs,people_also_ask,images",
                   "search_volume": 20,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "Fast Food Applications Online | Find Great Jobs At KFC | KFC.com‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun...",
                   "categories": [],
                   "impressions_etv": 0,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 0
               },
               {
                   "key": "team hungry kfc",
                   "exact_domain": "jobs.kfc.com",
                   "country_code": "US",
                   "language": "en",
                   "position": 1,
                   "url": "https:\/\/jobs.kfc.com\/",
                   "relative_url": "\/",
                   "results_count": 1700000,
                   "etv": 6,
                   "traffic_cost": 2.916936,
                   "competition": 0.390977,
                   "cpc": 0.486156,
                   "date": "2019-07-01T00:00:00+00:00",
                   "extra": "people_also_ask",
                   "search_volume": 30,
                   "spell": "",
                   "title": "KFC Vacancies | Find Great Jobs At KFC | KFC.com‎",
                   "snippet": "We’re Hiring Team Members, Shift Leaders, Assistant Managers, Managers. Bring Your Fun, Friendly Smile To Our Guests At A Restaurant Near You. Learn, Achieve, Advance. Be Your Best Self. Experience Career Growth. Types: Cook, Customer Service, Shift Supervisor, Assistant Manager.",
                   "categories": [],
                   "impressions_etv": 0,
                   "daily_impressions_avg": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_cpc": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_clicks": 0,
                   "ads_pos1_daily_cost": 0
               }
           ]
       }
   }
}

Keyword Databases

We’ve noticed that a lot of our clients use DataForSEO Databases not only for a typical SEO keyword research but to also analyze ads in Google and access the potential value of keywords. Consequently, we were getting a lot of requests to incorporate this or that PPC metric into the Keyword Database.

So, a few days ago we completed one of such requests and added monthly impressions to all of our Keyword Databases, which already contain a set of vital PPC metrics, such as competition level, CPC and historical search volume.

Don’t hesitate to drop a line to our customer support team if you have any feature requests and suggestions that will improve DataForSEO. We value our users and go through every customer request we receive. The most sought-after ideas then get incorporated into our roadmap.

Measure What Matters

Ad impressions are an essential metric that can be useful in a lot of different cases. But should you be using it within your SEO software or analytics project? We’ve broken this complex and somehow weird issue into three little questions. If you answer with a “yes” to at least one of them, having impressions data will stand you in good stead.

  1. Do you make use of other PPC metrics in your project?
  2. Are you not satisfied with the quality of Google’s search volume data?
  3. Does your project involve analyzing paid search results?

At any rate, you can put any DataForSEO API to the test with 1000 free credits available for all new users. Drop a line to our customer support team if you have any questions or need assistance. They’ll be happy to help you out!

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