How to Use the Google Ads Auction Insights Report

Written by Nicola Bell

Nicola is the Digital Account Manager at GlowMetrics, preparing and executing PPC & SEO strategies for new and existing clients. Nicola specialises in integrated marketing campaigns, combining the best of paid social and paid search to get the finest of results for her clients
January 18, 2021

Did you know that you can compare the performance of your Google Search campaigns with your main competitors? Read on to discover how to get the most from the Google Ads Auction Insights report.

Every time a user searches for one of your targeted keywords, Google runs an ad auction in the background to determine which ads are served and where on the SERPs those ads appear. Auction Insights gives you information about any advertisers that are competing in the same keywords auction as you. Auction Insights can not however show the keywords, quality score, bids, or settings of your competitors’ campaigns. It is purely based on the performance of keywords in the Google Ads Auction. Despite this, it is still one of the most valuable, and underused tools within Google Ads.

Where to Find Auction Insights

You can view Auction Insights at the campaign, ad group or keyword level. Campaign and ad group levels provide broader insights, while analysing by keyword focuses in on specific ad auctions. To access Auction Insights, select which campaign or ad group you want to view the report on from the left-hand navigation menu. Then from the drop-down menu select “Auction Insights”.

Auction Insights Report

To view the report at the keyword level, it’s a little trickier to find. First, click on the keywords tab in the left-hand navigation bar. Then select the individual keywords that you want to get insights on, then click “Auction Insights” from the blue navigation menu above your keywords.

Auction Insights by Keyword

Remember, if you choose keywords with too little activity, Google won’t be able to generate the report. If this happens simply change the date range or select more keywords.

Auction Insights Key Metrics

The Auction Insights report for Search campaigns reveals 6 different metrics that you may not be familiar with.

Auction Insights Report Metrics

  1. Impression Share: The number of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  2. Overlap Rate: How often another advertiser’s ad received an impression in the same auction that your ad also received an impression.
  3. Position Above Rate: How often another advertiser’s ad in the same auction shows in a higher position than your own, when both of your ads were shown at the same time.
  4. Top of Page Rate: How often your ad (or the ad of another advertiser, depending on which row you’re viewing) was shown at the top of the page in search results.
  5. Abs. Top of Page Rate: The percentage of your impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  6. Outranking Share: How often your ad ranked higher in the auction than another advertiser’s ad, or if your ad showed when theirs did not.

Click here for more info from Google on what these terms mean.

Now you know what the Auction Insights report is, and where to find it, let’s look at the best ways to use this new data.

Discover if Competitors are Bidding on your Brand

Ranking well for your brand is the bare minimum you want to achieve. With the Auction Insights report, you can see if any of your competitors are bidding on your brand term and showing their ads to your customers when they are searching for your brand. Remember, organic results show below any paid ads so if competitors successfully show ads above your brand terms, your customers may click on the first result they see, whether it is an ad by your competitors or not.

With this information, you can then launch ads on your brand keywords to ensure you are protecting your brand space from competitors. You may also want to consider bidding on their brand terms too. If you find that no one is bidding on your brand you may decide to not run a Brand PPC campaign and focus that money elsewhere. This does mean, however, you will be relying on Google’s organic results.

Find New Competitors

If you see organisations that you don’t recognise in Auction Insights, well done, you may have just discovered a new competitor. It’s time to learn more about their brand and how well you position against them. Take a look at their products and landing pages, is there something you offer that they don’t (a free trial perhaps?). If so, that’s great, make sure you include that in your ad copy to stand out to potential customers. 

Reduce Wasted Ad Spend

If you see that you are overlapping with organisations you don’t consider to be competitors, it’s time to review your keywords. Make sure your keywords are relevant for your business and you aren’t showing ads on irrelevant searches, and potentially wasting ad spend. You may be bidding on keywords that are too broad, so we suggest pausing these or changing your keyword match type to weed out irrelevant searches.

Find Out Which Devices Your Competitors Are Focusing On

An often underused feature of the Auction Insights report is that you can segment your report by a specific device. Your competitors may be targeting specific keywords on mobile, and other keywords on desktop. These can help you tweak your keyword/device strategy so that you can outbid competitors and maximise your reach on specific devices.

Auction Insights by Device

Discover When Your Competitors are Most Active

Similar to segmenting by time, you can also segment your report to show data by day, week, month etc., to see which time periods your competitors are prioritising, and importantly when they are less active. You can then adjust your bid schedule to win more auctions when competitors are less active. 

Auction Insights by Time

And There You Have It…

Evaluating your competitors is a must, and with the Auction Insights tool the possibilities are endless for competitor research. One quick Glow Tip is that you shouldn’t worry about using this report on a day-to-day basis. In fact, there’s a delay in how quickly Google gets data into the report (it can take up to 24 hours). We therefore recommend you look at this report on a monthly, or even quarterly, basis.

For more Digital Marketing and PPC Tips, check out our Digital Marketing blog

 

 

 

 

 

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