What are impressions?

An impression is a metric that shows how often a user has had visual contact with your website or ad. This means that every time your ads or banners appear on the user’s screen, a visual contact is counted. Even if the user visits your website, an impression is triggered.

How are impressions counted?

An impression is triggered and counted whenever an element – that could be a website, an ad or a banner – appears on the user’s screen. It is not relevant whether the user sees and clicks on your content or just scrolls past it. The impressions are purely about the possible visual contact. If a banner of yours appears 300 times on the devices of users, 300 visual contacts are also counted.

Where can you find the impressions of your ad / banner?

To find out how often an ad or banner was displayed, you can look in the Control Center of your respective tool. If you have activated a campaign in Google Ads, you can find the so-called ad impressions on the overview page. You then also have the option to compare the impressions with the actual clicks or conversions. If you have a campaign running on Facebook, you can find the social media impressions of the respective ad in the Facebook Business Manager. Where you find the counted impressions depends on which platform you are using for your campaigns.

Mapping of an impression curve over a certain period of time from Google Ads
Example of an impression curve from Google Ads

What are page impressions?

In addition to ad and social media impressions, there are also page impressions. These count how often users visit your website, regardless of whether they click or buy something. The page impression is a good indicator for the relevance of your website. The higher the number, the more often it was visited. With the help of this metric, you can find subpages of your website that users often visit and which you can thus fill with more and relevant content. In turn, you can minimize the dwell time and bounce rate, which has a positive effect on your website.

What is the connection between impressions and CTR?

As you now know, you can find out the maximum number of users reached with the help of impressions. You can compare this key figure with the CTR (click-through rate). The CTR shows you how many users (of those who saw the ad or banner) actually clicked on it. If your ad has a CTR of 100%, this means that all users who have seen this ad have clicked on it. However, a CTR of 100% is very difficult to achieve.

The impressions show you how many users have seen your campaign and the CTR shows you in percent how many have actually clicked.

Impressions to calculate the CPM

A common billing model for Google Ads is the CPM model. Here, a price is set for 1,000 impressions, which means that the ad is played out to 1,000 potential users, depending on the budget, and thus has the possibility of 1,000 view contacts. The price for the CPM model is based on the reach of the ad format. The calculation for this is quite simple and goes as follows:

Der Preis für eine Anzeige wird durch die Reichweite des Anzeigenformats geteilt und mit 1.000 multipliziert. Dieser Wert bezieht sich nun auf 1.000 potenzielle Sichtkontakte und ist somit der CPM für diese Anzeige.

The price for an ad is divided by the reach of the ad format and multiplied by 1,000. This value now refers to 1,000 potential view contacts and is therefore the CPM for this ad.

Calculation of CPM based on the example with a price of 400 € for a price per ad
Calculation of the CPM based on an example

If you want to learn more about CPM and the calculation, feel free to check out our detailed post on CPM.


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