Are you curious how your Google Ads campaign compares to your competition? Do you want to know how your keywords perform in relation to your rivals’ bids or who is bidding on your brand terms?
If so, you should check out the auction insights metrics in Google Ads.
It’s a valuable resource that can give you insight into how you can adjust your search campaigns to rank higher and reduce your ad spend.
While the Google Ads Auction Insight report is a powerful tool, many business owners (and marketers alike) don’t understand how to interpret or use the data on their reports. Let’s take a look at the Auction Insights report and how you can optimize your accounts with this data today!
What is Auction Insights for Google Ads?
The Auction Insights report is a handy downloadable sheet that reveals how your keyword bids are faring in real-time bidding auctions. With this tool, you can compare the performance of your keywords and ad campaigns against your competitors. Be sure to incorporate this information into your regular PPC reporting to ensure you don’t miss any opportunities in the market.
By analyzing this data, you can identify where your ads are excelling, where they need improvement, and how much ground you need to make up against your competition.
You will want to reference this report if you are conducting a PPC audit of your account, or if you want to ensure you stay in-line with your competitors throughout the year.
If you want to reduce your CPC (Cost Per Click) and increase your CTR (Click-Through Rate) to get the most out of your advertising budget, then you need to know how to use the Auction Insights report in Google Ads. Let’s dive in to see how to use this fantastic feature to improve your ad campaign performance today!
What metrics are in your Auction Insights report?
When analyzing your Auction Insights data in Google Ads, there are several metrics to keep an eye out for. These metrics can give you valuable information about your ad campaigns, including how frequently your ads appear, how often your ads win auctions, and how your impression share stacks up against your competitors.
Understanding these metrics can help optimize your bidding strategy and improve your overall ad performance. Let’s look at the metrics in the Auction Insights report so you can interpret how your account performs and how you can improve your campaigns today!
1. Impression share
Impression share is an important metric in your Auction Insights report because it refers to the percentage of times your ads were shown in relation to the total number of auctions you were eligible to appear in.
This metric considers your ad targeting settings, approval status, bids, and Quality Scores. By tracking your impression share over time, you can determine whether your ads reach their full potential and how they stack up against your competitors.
There are several steps you can take to improve your impression share if you see that you are falling behind your competitors:
- Increase your bids: By bidding higher, you can increase the likelihood of your ads being shown in auctions.
- Improve your ad quality: Focus on creating high-quality ads relevant to your target audience. This can improve your Quality Score and increase your eligibility for auctions.
- Expand your targeting: Consider broadening your targeting options to reach more potential customers.
- Optimize your campaign settings: Review your settings to ensure you’re targeting the right locations, devices, and ad schedules.
2. Search overlap rate
The search overlap rate is a metric that tells you how frequently your competitors’ ads are appearing in the same auction as yours. For instance, if your overlap rate is 60%, it implies that your ad and your competitor’s ad both appeared in the same auction 6 out of 10 times. Knowing your overlap rate can be helpful in determining where you stand in competition with other advertisers and tweaking your bidding strategy accordingly.
If you observe that your ad frequently appears alongside a particular competitor’s ad, you can take certain measures to tackle the overlap. Some ways to address the issue include:
- Analyze your competitor’s ad copy and bidding strategy: Look at your competitor’s ads to see how they position themselves against your business. Are they offering better deals or highlighting unique selling points that you’re not? Consider adjusting your ad copy or bidding strategy accordingly.
- Increase your bid or ad rank: If your competitor is consistently outranking you in auctions, consider increasing your bid or ad rank. This will improve your chances of winning more auctions and increase your ad’s visibility.
- Refine your targeting: Take a closer look at your targeting settings to ensure you reach the right audience. You may need to adjust your targeting criteria to better align with your business goals.
3. Position above rate (search only)
Position above rate is a key metric to pay attention to in your Google Ads Auction Insights report.
This percentage shows how often your competitors’ ads appeared in a higher position than yours during auctions when both ads were shown simultaneously.
For example, if you see a “5%” position above the rate for a particular competitor, it means their ad was shown in a higher position than yours in 5 out of every 100 auctions where both of your ads were shown. This metric can give you insights into where you may need to improve your bids to achieve a higher position in the auction.
If you want to improve your position above in the Google Ads Auction Insights report, you’ll need to focus on improving your ad’s relevancy, quality, and bidding strategy. Here are some tips to help you accomplish these goals:
- Improve your ad’s relevance: Make sure your ad copy and landing page are highly relevant to your target keywords. This will help increase your Quality Score and improve your chances of winning auctions.
- Optimize your bidding strategy: Review your bids regularly and adjust them based on your goals and performance data. Experiment with different bidding strategies, such as manual or automated bidding, to find the best approach for your campaign.
- Focus on ad quality: Use ad extensions, such as site links or callouts, to make your ad more appealing and useful to potential customers. Consider testing different ad formats, such as responsive search ads or image ads, to see what resonates best with your audience.
4. Top-of-page rate (search only)
The “Top of page rate” in the Google Ads Auction Insights report shows how frequently your ad appeared in paid search rankings at the top of the search results page.
This metric is self-explanatory, as “top of the page” refers to any position above the organic search results in the SERP.
For example, if your ad had 100 impressions and appeared 20 times in any of the positions above the organic search results, your top-of-page rate would be 20%. Understanding your top of page rate can help you adjust your bidding strategy and increase your ad’s visibility in prime positions.
You will need to improve your bidding strategy and ad quality to appear above your competitors in SERPs. Here are some tips to help you get started if you see your top-of-page rate is lower than you’d like:
- Increase your bids: Increasing your bids may help you secure higher ad positions and increase your chances of appearing at the top of the page.
- Improve your ad quality: Writing relevant and engaging ad copy can help improve your ad quality score, which can help increase your ad’s visibility.
- Adjust your ad targeting: Narrowing your audience targeting or refining your ad schedule may help increase your ad’s visibility to the right people at the right time.
- Monitor your competition: Keep an eye on your competitors’ bids and ad placements to help inform your bidding strategy and improve your chances of appearing at the top of the page.
5. Absolute top-of-page rate (search only)
One metric that comes in handy is the absolute top-of-page rate, which tells you how often your ad, or a competitor’s ad, appeared as the very first ad above the organic search results.
For example, if your ad had 10 impressions out of 100 where it was displayed as the first ad above the organic search results, your absolute top-of-page rate would be 10%.
By monitoring this metric, you can determine if changes in your ad’s performance are due to changes in its location. The absolute top-of-page rate is similar to the top of page rate, which also measures how often your ad appears at the top of the page.
If you want your ads to appear at the top of SERPs, you will need to improve the quality of your ads and increase your bids for valuable keywords. Here are some ideas to help you accomplish this goal:
- Increase bids: Consider increasing your bids for the keywords and campaigns you’re targeting. By bidding more, you may be able to increase the frequency with which your ad appears at the top of the page.
- Improve ad quality: You can have your ads appear at the top of the page more often by improving the relevance and quality of your ad copy and landing pages. Ads that are more relevant and appealing to users are more likely to receive a higher click-through rate, which can help boost your ad’s position and increase its chances of appearing at the top of the page.
- Find opportunities: Consistently monitor your competition and adjust your bidding and targeting strategies accordingly. By keeping an eye on your competitors’ bids and ad performance, you can adjust your own approach to better compete for those top ad positions.
6. Outranking share
The Outranking share metric in the Google Ads Auction Insights report tells you how often your ad ranked higher than your competitor’s or if your ad was shown when theirs wasn’t. Let’s say your Outranking share for a specific competitor is 20%. That means your ad won over theirs or was shown when theirs wasn’t for 2 out of every 10 times you were eligible to receive an impression.
Why is this important? By monitoring your Outranking share, you can gain valuable insights into your performance against your competitors. This information can help you refine your bidding strategy and improve your ad’s performance. So, be sure to keep an eye on your Outranking share in the Google Ads Auction Insights report!
While your strategy will vary based on your industry and competitors, here are some tips for Google Ads that you can use to improve your outranking share if you see this metric slip in your Google Ads Auction Insights report:
- Increase your bid: One way to outrank your competitors is by increasing your bid for specific keywords. This can increase your chances of winning the auction and showing your ad over your competitor’s.
- Improve your ad quality: Another way to increase your Outranking share is by improving the quality of your ads. Focus on creating ads that are relevant, engaging, and meet the needs of your target audience.
- Expand your keyword targeting: Try expanding your targeting to reach a larger audience. This can increase your impression share and improve your chances of outperforming competitors.
How can you apply your Auction Insights data?
As you can see, you can get a lot of information from the Google Ads Auction Insights report to tell you more about how your Google Ads campaign stacks up against your competitors.
By analyzing this data, they can figure out what changes they need to make to improve their performance, like adjusting their bidding strategy. It’s also helpful for staying competitive in the market.
Once you have the right data, you can use AI tools to help manage your Google Ads account. You can use these tools to write new headlines, craft engaging descriptions, and even optimizing existing landing pages. All of these can help drive ROI for your account, and Auction Insights is a vital part of the ideation and optimization process for your account.
Let’s dive into some specific answers you can answer with the Auction Insights report to help you optimize your advertising budget and make your campaigns as efficient as possible.
1. How often do your ads show vs. your competitors?
The Auction Insights report provides you with a key metric called the “Impression Share” (IS), which indicates the percentage of impressions your ads received out of the total impressions they were eligible for. Comparing your IS to your competitors can help you gauge your relative ad visibility in the market.
Understanding how often your ads show compared to your competitors is crucial, as it offers insights into your campaign’s effectiveness and market competitiveness. Low Impression Share may indicate budget or bid constraints, low ad quality, or untapped keyword opportunities. Analyzing these factors can help you optimize your ad campaigns, increase your ad visibility, and, ultimately, drive more conversions.
2. Understand who your competitors are
Taking a peek behind the curtain with Google Ads Auction Insight can help you understand who your competitors are for specific keywords. This information can help you improve your Google Ads campaigns, and you can use this information to guide other areas of your marketing strategy like SEO and content marketing.
Impression Share is one metric to consider in the report as you try to understand who your competitors are in the market. This metric shows the percentage of impressions your ads received in relation to the total impressions you were eligible to receive.
Take a look at your competitors that have ads that frequently appear next to your ads. Check out these ads to see how you can improve your ads to emphasize your USP to stand out in a competitive market. By going the extra mile to showcase your distinctive offerings, you’ll be better positioned to captivate your target audience and boost your marketing efforts.
3. What keywords your competitors prioritize
Although you can’t directly access a competitor’s full list of active keywords, you can still gain insights into their strategy by observing their impression shares for the keywords you’re analyzing.
By spending a few moments examining keyword data, you can likely draw some meaningful conclusions about which keywords your competitors may be prioritizing based on their impression shares.
Advertisers often allocate higher bids to high-value or high-engagement keywords, as these tend to generate more clicks and leads, justifying increased spending on specific keyword groups.
While all brands experiment with their campaigns, if a key competitor consistently exhibits high impression shares for certain keywords, it could be a valuable opportunity to test the effects of raising your bid or adjusting your campaigns for those particular keywords. This approach may help you discover new strategies that work effectively for your own brand.
4. If a competitor bids on your brand name
Many advertisers relish the opportunity to bid on competitors’ branded keywords, hoping to capture some of their traffic. However, they often need to be more enthusiastic when they realize other brands can do the same to them.
It’s crucial to rank for your brand’s keywords, particularly when others are vying for those same terms. Monitoring impression share and identifying competitors bidding on your branded keywords (visible when running a branded keyword campaign) is significant for well-known brands.
To maintain control over your branded keywords, adjust your bids to outperform competitors and dominate the impression share. This ensures your brand remains at the forefront, securing your rightful traffic and safeguarding your online presence.
5. What devices your competitors prioritize
Device targeting may not be a primary concern for every advertiser, as many brands opt to advertise across all devices simultaneously. However, there are situations where observing your competition’s selective targeting of specific devices could provide valuable insights to enhance your own campaigns and gain a competitive edge.
For instance, a brand utilizing a lead ad extension might prioritize targeting mobile devices if they yield better results through the extension compared to landing page completion on desktops. This information can help you tweak your own targeting approach to achieve optimal results.
Similarly, a hotel chain can create device-specific ads, either individually or by using dynamic keyword insertion, and then target them to specific devices. They can do this to target people on specific types of devices based on historical data to help drive more conversions.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your competitors and see how they are targeting their ads to different devices. By doing this, you can refine your own campaigns and gain an edge over them in the ever-evolving digital advertising landscape.
6. If your competitors scaling up their PPC campaigns
When it comes to PPC ads, some brands are committed for the long term while others come and go from the Google Ad landscape. The competition may adjust their ad spend, pause campaigns, or drop out altogether for various reasons, including a budget, seasonality, and assessed value.
Keeping an eye on your competition’s scaling up or down can provide valuable information that you can leverage.
For instance, you may consider increasing your bid if you notice a competitor suddenly increasing their impression share or outranking you on your critical keywords.
Conversely, if you observe that they’re scaling back, and you’re ranking frequently in the top position with a substantial percentage of impression share, you may test decreasing your bid to maintain strong performance at a lower cost.
7. If you outrank your competitors in search results
Ads that appear at the top of the search results page typically receive more clicks than those further down. This means that even if your ad has a decent impression share, if it consistently appears at the bottom of the page, it may not receive as many clicks as it could be.
Ranking on the search results page is influenced by several factors such as relevance, quality, and bid. So, if you believe that your ad’s position is impacting its performance negatively compared to a competitor, take a closer look at these factors and see how you can improve your ad’s position.
Remember, impression share alone is not enough to ensure the success of your ad campaign. However, you can layer this data with other factors in your account to determine how to optimize a specific ad group or campaign.
8. Find low-competition opportunities
Picking the right keywords is a challenging feat and requires a strategic approach. This can take a long time if you are not used to the Keyword Planner, but you can cut the time in half by referencing your Google Ads Auction Insights report to find low-competition keywords.
You may find that your competitors, who are selling the same product as you, have vastly different keywords on their lists and you can use this information to find patterns in their strategy to maneuver around them in the market.
While some overlap may occur, their keyword choices could vary based on cost, competition levels, and even their target audience’s dialects.
By analyzing your Google Auction Insights, you can identify which competitors are ranking well and often for certain keywords.
If none of your top competitors rank for those keywords, it could indicate a low-competition opportunity worth exploring further.
This approach may result in a lower cost for you to bid on those keywords, making it a valuable investment.
9. View results in a specific timeframe
Timing is crucial in the ever-changing landscape of Google Ads marketing. Knowing when you and your competitors are getting results can be incredibly useful. Thankfully, Google’s Auction Insights is aware of this and offers the ability to break down results by time.
You can see the competitive landscape broken down by day, week, month, quarter, year, or even specific days of the week. This tool provides an additional segmentation option that allows you to monitor how your competition evolves over time.
It’s not uncommon for different competitors to show up more in different quarters or years, but sudden shifts day-over-day or week-over-week can be surprising. Additionally, using this tool may give you insight into your competitors’ seasonal priorities.
By utilizing Google’s Auction Insights, you can stay ahead of the competition by understanding their trends and strategies as they change over time.
Google’s Auction Insights provides small business owners valuable insights into how their campaigns perform against competitors. This information is key as you evaluate the health of your search campaigns, plus you can use the data to interpret shifts in the competitive landscape.
The Auction Insights report is not perfect, but its limitations are outweighed by the amount of actionable data it provides, allowing for the optimization of campaigns to become more competitive.
Additionally, you can use information about your top competitors to explore what they’re doing with their campaigns further by utilizing third-party tools like SpyFu or Semrush.
Overall, Google’s Auction Insights is a valuable resource to consider when looking to understand your market better and optimize your campaigns accordingly.
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