Using Ads Auction insights to Monitor Competition
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Google Ads
March 2,2015

Using Ads Auction insights to Monitor Competition

The Auction Insights report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are bidding on the same keywords. Auction insights data is available for Search and Shopping campaigns that meet a minimum threshold of activity. The team at Search Factory use this report in making strategic decisions about bidding and budgeting choices by monitoring competitors’ activities and identifying missed opportunities for better performance.

How to Find the Auction Insights report

The report is available for ad groups, campaigns and even down to a keyword level for search campaigns under “details”. The Auction Insights report allows advertisers to monitor 6 different metrics for search campaigns and 3 for shopping campaigns.  You can also generate a report for one or more keywords, ad groups or campaigns, and even segment results by time and device. Let’s take a deeper look at two examples of insights we can uncover from the Auction Insights report to drive strategic decisions for SEM.

Auction Insights 1

How to Identify Key Competitors

By running the Auction Insights report on your branded keywords, it allows you to identify competitors that are bidding on your brand term.  Two of the most important metrics you may need to monitor month on month are the average ad position and impression share of your competitors. Average position is the average rank of the ad in the auctions, which determines the order of the ads on the search results page.  It allows you to measure how high your ads are ranking compared to your competitors within the same auctions. Impression share is the number of impressions that you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. If your competitor’s domain appears in the Auction Insights report, this tells you they are bidding on your keywords.

A good monthly routine is to keep a close eye to those two statistics as well as identifying new competitors that are bidding on your brand. For example, the Auction Insights report below shows competitor A is gaining ad position and impression share. Therefore you should probably keep a close eye of their online activities, as strong competition is likely to drive up your brand campaigns CPA.

How to Identify Opportunity

You should also run an Auction Insights report for all non-branded keywords. This report allows you to identify competitors that have similar offerings and who are targeting the same keywords. The overlap rate is one of the main metrics to look at, as it tells how often another participant’s ad received an impression when your ad also received an impression. For example, if one of the other participants in your Auction insights report is showing “60%” in the Overlap rate column, this means that in six out of every 10 times your ad was shown, an ad from this participant showed as well.

Auction Insights 3

The Position Above Rate is another metric that you would also need to look at. It tells how often the other participant’s ad was shown in a higher position than yours was, when both of your ads were shown at the same time. For example, if one of the other advertisers in your Auction Insights report is showing “15%” in the position above rate column, this means that the other participant’s ad showed in a position above yours in 15 out of every 100 times that your ad showed at the same time. If your competitor is having a significant position above rate, this indicates that you might be losing clicks to your competitors. A good strategy to test is to try and outrank your competitors to determine whether this has an improvement on your conversion rate.


The Auction Insights report is a handy tool to monitor competitors’ activities and budget. For the SEM team at Search Factory, we believe it is also great tool to identify competitor budget and efficiently conduct competitor analysis.

Google Ads
March 2,2015
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