Auction Insights – Google Ads

Ben Lund
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Auction Insights – Google Ads

Auction insights is a very valuable Google Ads tool to advanced search engine marketing experts. Auction Insights reporting will give intel to an advertiser on how competitive search keywords are and who is bidding on these keywords.  Below is a sample auction insights report, as you can see, it will showcase where “you” rank against competitors for the given campaign you’re researching.

Auction Insights

Below I’ll explain each of the metrics above and how it relates to your Google Ads campaign, starting with impression share.

Impression Share

Impression share is the percent of time your ad is shown, on your targeted keywords. In the example above, we had a 25% impression share (under the You row). This means that of 100 searches for your targeted keyword, your ad would show 25% of the time. Impression share has a variety of factors that influence this, including, but not limited to: daily budgets, keyword bids, quality score and competitiveness. The more competitors in the auction, there is likely a lower chance that your ad will show for every time someone searches these keywords.

Overlap rate

Overlap rate is the percent where you and an advertiser has ads present on the Google Search Results at the same time. For example, the first competitor “expertmarket.com” had a 50% overlap rate as us. This means that every time our ad was shown, they were also there 50% of the time.

Position above rate

Position above rate is the percent where a competitor’s ad was ranking higher than your ad. For example, adzooma.com, has a 100% position above rate. That means, for every time both of us were in the auctions together, adzooma had a higher position than us, 100% of the time. This is likely influenced by their bids (having a higher bid) and their quality score.

Top of page rate

Top of page rate is the percent of time you (or your competition) were at the top of the search engine results page.

Absolute top of page rate

The absolute top of page rate is the percent of time the ad was in the top position. You’ll see that top of page rate differs from absolute top of page rate. The absolute top of page rate is the absolute top positioning, where top of page rate could be any of the  ad positions at the top of the page.

Outranking share

Outranking share is the percent of the time your ad ranked higher on the search engine results page, than one of your competitor ads.  For more information on auction insights report, Google shares more information through their support article.

How to make this data actionable?

Now that you understand auction insights, now comes to how to make this actionable.  Below are a few recommendations that I have.

Keywords to add to your Google Ads program

Looking at your competitors can give you insight to new keywords to go after. This comes into two categories, targeting your competitors directly and researching keywords your competitors are bidding on.

  • Bidding on your competitors names: This can be a very productive strategy, where your ad can be shown when users are searching for your competitors. Your ad will give users another option to consider. With Google ads, it’s allowed to bid on your competitor names, you just can’t include their names within the ad copy, unless you’re selling or reviewing their products (i.e. selling nike shoes).  This could be a good strategy to consider, and even better if you target your competitor names with keywords to include research terms such as “reviews”, “alternatives”, etc.  So this could be “company name reviews”, ” company name alternatives”, etc.
  • Researching your competitors keywords they’re targeting: Using the auction insights report you can see your competitors. Then using other tools such as spyfu.com, you can research the exact search keywords they are paying for. Once you have this list, you can review to see if these are keywords to consider adding to your paid program.

Outranking your competitors

If there are specific competitors that you want to outrank, this report will be highly valuable. If a competitor is outranking you, consider the following:

  • Maximize your quality score. Higher quality scores (through optimized ads and landing pages with the full use of ad extensions), will create higher positioning on the page. Google rewards quality ads through higher ranking and lower CPCs.
  • Review your daily budgets. Your impression share might be low, due to low budgets. If you receive an error that your daily budget is being met, consider opening this up – so long as the investment is profitable.
  • Review your bids. If after the above two have been considered, try increasing your keyword bids, which will have a direct and immediate impact on your positioning against your competition.

Check auction insights for your branded keywords

This is hugely important. If a competitor is outranking your branded keywords, I would prioritize your brand and take actions to own the top positioning. Additionally, if there aren’t any other competitors bidding on your brand, you can consider pausing your brand terms – assuming you own the top position via organic search. If you have the top position on organic search and there arn’t competitors bidding on your brand, you really don’t need to pay for this traffic – unless you want to customize the messaging or direct users to a specific page.

There is a lot here, but hopefully this will help demystify auction insights and give some actionable recommendations when reviewing these reports.

Best of luck!

By Ben Lund

Ben Lund is a 14+ year digital advertising vet who founded Rise Marketing Group. Outside of managing his agency, he offers advertising courses on SkillShare and routinely shares his best practices on DIYDigitalStrategy.com

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