Auction Insights – What it is and how to use it

Pete Whitmarsh

Head of Paid Media


Keyword Auction Insights

This blog post will explore the new feature in AdWords called Auction Insights as announced on the AdWords blog last week. I will explain how to use the feature, what it shows you and what decisions we can make based on the data.

How to use this feature

When browsing the keywords tab in AdWords you will now see some keywords with a little icon next to them. This indicates that auction insights are available for this keyword. If you click on the checkbox next to the keyword then click on the ‘Keyword Details’ button you should then be able to choose the option of ‘Auction Insights’.

What does it show you?

This will then give you all sorts of interesting information around your top competitors for these terms.

In reality the screen will show the names of the main players who have appeared on your keyword.

You are able to see:

Your impression share for the keyword vs your competitors. This is an indication out of all of the impressions out there how many times your ad has been displayed.

– The average position of where the competitors have appeared on this specific keyword.

– The ‘overlap rate’ demonstrates how often your competitor received an impression when you also received an impression.

– ‘Position Above Rate’ shows how often the competitors’ ads have appeared in a higher position than yours.

– ‘Top of page rate’ indicates how often the ads have appeared in the top 3 (as opposed to down the side or at the bottom).

How can we use this data?

This data can give you a fair amount of insight beyond the normal scope that you would get within AdWords. Here are some things to look out for:

– If your impression share is low but position is high. Indicates that you could be bidding too much. A lower bid would allow for more clicks at the same total cost.

– If a campaign ‘Top vs Other’ segment is demonstrating higher conversions rates as the top but your top of page rate is low you may want to increase the bids.

– If certain competitors are regularly able to pay for higher positions but sell similar products with similar margins. What are they doing to afford this? Look into the ads and the landing pages.

– Reporting on who the top PPC competitors are. A few searches on Google will show a few results pages but this data is much more accurate to show who the real big shots are.

– If we aren’t 100% confident if the keyword is working for us look at who the competitors are. This may unlock some secrets about ambiguity of the keyword.

– Finding more competitor names as potential targets to bid on.

– If your brand terms are getting dominated by competitors or re-sellers. It might be beneficial to increase some bids and make sure you are getting the market share you deserve on these.

– In the above example we see I have a fairly low position but am actually appearing in the top 3 fairly often. My own knowledge of the account tells me that this is probably as a result of bid adjustments through the day. However, this means I must be appearing in extremely low positions sometimes to average out at 5.5.

There are a bunch of more specific examples depending on the results you see.

As an overall summary it’s a fantastic new feature and the first time we have ever really seen Google giving any insight about specific competitors. The data that they are providing is still minimal compared to some of the larger market intelligence tools out there but it’s a definite step in the right direction.