To measure the effect of ads, display is a useful statistic. We explain in this article what impressions are and how to interpret them.

What are screenings?

Displays, in short, are the number of times a searcher views an ad, regardless of how many times it is clicked. This term is common in SEA (Search Engine Advertising).

The statistic impressions has been widely used to measure performance of online marketing campaigns (SEA).

Tips for increasing impressions:

  1. Understand the target audience

Increase impressions by providing the answers to the searcher’s questions. What appeals to the target audience? The search intent of the searcher must be clear.

  1. Write quality content

Optimize content to appeal to the target audience. Write quality content for the visitor, not for Google. The content must be relevant to the search query.

How are impressions measured?

Displays are measured by the number of times a server retrieves the ad and loads it onto a page. This calculation affects how much an advertiser pays per display.

  1. CPI (Cost per Impression): impressions are paid directly to the website owner at a cost per impression. A company that wants to sell a product in a niche market benefits from hosting ads on an authoritative website in that niche market.
  2. CPM (Cost per Mille): cost per thousand refers to ads purchased based on 1,000 impressions. It is the most widely used model for measuring ad impressions. The server records the number of times the ad is loaded and the advertiser pays per 1,000 impressions.

My advice

The number of impressions needs to be nuanced. Different situations must be taken into account. A searcher who opens the same page ten times does not count for ten individual impressions. In another case, a searcher opens multiple tabs (Pogosticking) and visits only one. The rest of the tabs are not viewed.

Google has measures in place for robots and click fraud. The number of non-human displays is filtered. It is therefore important to interpret the CPM or CPI in a nuanced way. In fact, this system is error-prone.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.