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How To Use Auction Insights Report- Best Guide For Google Ads Competitor Analysis 2023

If you don’t know how to use auction insights, then you are missing out. The data you get from the auction insights report can definitely step up your competitor analysis strategy, and it can even help you outrank your ad competitors. In this article, we will help you understand what auction insight is and how to use it for your Google Ads campaign.

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What Are Auction Insights?

Auction insights report is a Google Ads feature where you will be able to see how your competitors’ ads are positioned against your ads. This feature basically gives you competitor details and insights that are not found anywhere else.

As per Google Ads’ definition:

The auction insights report lets you compare your performance with other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions that you are.

Auction insights do not give you the data for the whole market, you have to be bidding or auctioning for the same keyword in order to see which competitors you have for your ads.

So if you don’t have the same keyword that the other competitor has, then you won’t see that competitor data from your auction insights report. You won’t see how much they are spending, and how their ads are positioned in the Google search results unless you have the same audience, search terms, and keywords.

Keep in mind that the auction insights report is only accessible in Search and Shopping campaigns. Read this article about Google Ads campaign types.

Why Use Google Ads Auction Insights?

If you have an active Google Ads campaign, we always recommend checking your auction insights report once you get a few months of performance data. Competitor analysis is an important part of marketing strategy, not only do you need to study your potential customers, but you also need to look at what your competitors are doing.

Auction insights will give you details on how your auction bidding is performing and how much percentage of the entire market impressions share you are getting compared to your competitor. This information is definitely useful whenever you need to make changes or improve your ad campaigns.

How To Use Auction Insights Data

Auction insight data can be seen at multiple levels

  • All campaigns level
  • Campaign level
  • Ad group level
  • Keyword level

In order to see your general auction insight data for all your campaigns, just go to the vertical left menu, and under ‘Campaigns’, click the ‘Auction insights’ tab. Then you should be able to see auction insights for all of our campaigns.

Click 'auction insights'

To see the auction insights data at a campaign level, go to your ‘Campaigns’ tab and select the campaign that you want to check. An options tab should pop up above the table, then click ‘Auction insights’.

Select a specific campaign, then click 'Auction insights'

To see the auction insights data at an ad group level, go to your ‘Ad groups’ tab and select the ad group that you want to view. An options tab should show up, then click ‘Auction insights’.

How to use auction insights data

Now to see auction insights for your keywords, go to your ‘Keywords’ tab, then click ‘Search keywords’ and select the keyword that you want to inspect. Click ‘Auction insights’ on the options tab. You should be able to see where you stand on that specific keyword.

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How To Read Auction Insight Metrics

This is what an auction insight report for the keyword “Dental Implant” looks like:

Auction insights for a specific keyword preview

You should see what specific item you are looking at above the table. Then “You” is your data, while below are your competitors but just for that specific keyword.

Now you might think, what do these columns and numbers mean?

Impression share

Impression share is how much of the market you are covering vs how much of the market is out there. The higher the value, the more frequent your ads are showing up.

Sample impression share data

This client is showing up 58 times out of 100 impressions (58.23%). This data is important because it will give insights when deciding how to compete with these competitors with the same keywords that they have and are auctioning for.

Keep in mind that you won’t always see the same value for impression share on auction insights and for overall impression share. This is because Google might filter out very low threshold keywords.

You might also see these values drop if they paused campaigns, change keywords, or change bids. So always consider the factor of data availability.

You can read more about impression share in the article “Understanding Search Impression Share And Other Competitive Metrics“.

Overlap rate

Overlap rate is how many times you show up on Google search results and overlap with the competitor. The one with the highest overlap rate is the true competitor since it means that you are showing up and overlapping for the same keywords, bid, and all.

Overlap rate sample

In this example, we can see that the ‘dentist-of-tustin.com’ has a higher overlap rate among these competitors. This means that the client and this competitor are showing up for the same keywords and bidding 28.53% of the time.

Take note that the impression share value will not be the same as the overlap rate value because the overlap rate takes into account the bids.

Your competitor might have a certain impression share and they might be eligible to show for a certain keyword, but they may not show up on the Google search results page because they are outbid.

In this example, ‘dentist-of-tustin.com’ might be placed below Google search results that’s why it is getting less impression shares.

Position above rate

Position above rate tells you how many times does your competitor’s ads are positioned above you. Now, this is the best way to gauge how much are they bidding. Are they bidding above us a lot or not?

Position above rate sample

You can see in this example that ‘clearchoice.com’ has a lower impression share (<10%), but has a 51.02% ‘position above rate’. This means that they are overlapping with this client sometimes, but when they do, they are bidding aggressively.

Basically, they show up less frequently than the client, but when they do, their ads are positioned really high (more than 50%).

Also, if a competitor has a low impression share but a high position above rate, this means that they have either a high bid, or they are doing maximum conversion as their bidding strategy. Max conversion usually assigns a higher cost per click to keywords.

Take note that this metric is only available for ‘Search’ campaigns.

Top of page rate & Abs. top of page rate

The ‘Top of page rate’ tells you how many times your ad shows up at the top of the page, above the organic search results. While ‘Absolute top of page rate’ tells you how many times your ad shows up at the absolute top of the page as the 1st ad among many other ads.

Now if your competitor has a large value in the position above rate, then they will most likely have a large value for the top of page rate too.

Outranking Share

Outranking share considers both ‘impression share’ and ‘position above rate’. This tells you what you did in comparison to their numbers. If you have a high number here, it means that they have a very low position. You are outranking them at a high rate in the auction.

A great column to look at for overall data for auction insights. Read more about auction insights here.

Use Segment Feature For Auction Insights

Now that you know how to use your auction insights report, we will teach you how to go deeper with your auction insights data.

If you do not know, you can get more data from Google Ads if you use the segment feature available. To use this, go to your insights report and on the far right side, click the segment icon.

Segment your auction insights report

You should be able to segment your auction insights data by a specific time and type of device.

Segment by time

If you segment the data by month, you can see the competitor’s month-to-month change and how your ad positions change against your competitor.

2 month auction insights report

You can see in this example that ‘dentistoforangecounty.com’ had a decrease in its impression share from January to February 2022, but its ‘position above rate’, ‘top of page rate’, and ‘abs. top of page rate’ increased. This might mean that they show up less frequently than the client, but when they do, their ads are positioned really high, just like what we explained earlier.

Again you will only see competitors’ data here if you share the same target keywords with them.

Segment by device type

Now, if you segment the data by device type, you can see the auction insights data for computers, mobile phones, and tablets. You will get insights into how your competitors’ ads are doing for each specific device.

Auction insight report segmented by device type

In this example, you can see that ‘dentistoforangecounty.com’ has a higher impression share on computers and they set their ads to not show up on tablet devices. You can also see here that their ads are frequently positioned above this client on computer devices. Also, we can conclude that they are ranking higher for mobile devices.

This information is very useful and you can consider it whenever you are optimizing your ad campaigns. Check out these articles on how you can improve your optimization strategies:

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Our Final Thoughts

It is a good practice to view auction insight every time you make changes to your ad campaign. If you know how to use auction insights report, you would know how your ad campaign is performing against your competitors.

You can interpret this the way you want but do not read too deeply into these numbers and make huge leaps in your assumptions. Google will not share too much about your competitors.

There’s still a lot to know about your competitors, but looking at your auction insights is still a good strategy. Just make sure to not fully rely on this and try to use other tools available online. Watch for changes, see who’s above you, look at their ads, check what is written on their ads, then compare your ads.

If you want an in-depth competitor analysis but don’t know where to start, our PPC experts can help you. Schedule a free consultation today!

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