Finding Competitive & Data Insights using the Auction Insights Report

By Brad


General, Google Ads Insights, PPC Management

The Auction Insights Report found within Google Ads can tell you a lot about your competition. You can see your primary competitors across your account or by campaign and then use that data to do a full ad analysis for your messaging and ad testing. Trending this data weekly can help see if your competitor’s budgets are running out before the end of the month. You can even make some inferences as to who is overbidding or isn’t managing their accounts very well.

We walk through all of this information and more in this video on how to use and interpret the Auction Insight Report.

Additional Resources Mentioned

Data Studio Report for analyzing competition and resources on how to interpret the data.

How to Use Your Auction Insights Data to Differentiate Your Ads.

Ad testing guide.

Full Transcript

0:00:00.5: Hello. In this video, we are going to look at the Auction Insights report and how to use the data to pull inferences and insights out of the information. First, if you go to campaigns, you can see your Auction Insights, this is account-wide, you can drill into a campaign and see Auction Insights for a specific campaign. First, you’ll see your competitor’s domain, and then you’ll see impression share. Now, normally impression share is the percentage of times your ad was displayed, compared to how often it could be displayed. In this case, it’s the percentage of times it was displayed when both of you could show an ad. In other words, when we both could show an ad, Expedia and Firebird Tours has less than a 10% impression share. Now we only have a 16%. This is travel worldwide, there is a lot of impressions available. So often we want to look at is who has the higher impression shares, because they’re our more likely overall competitors. Now, in addition, when you look at impression shares and you see impression shares higher than yours, that means they’re showing more often. This is often used as a budget conversation with your client or with people in the company saying, “You know what, we’re only showing 16% time, they’re showing 30%, meaning they probably have a higher budget than us,” so if you’re looking at budget conversations, this is another way to look at you versus competitors to see who is showing more often, which is directly related to budget or Quality Score issues.

0:01:42.9: And then we have overlap rate. This is the percentage of times we both showed an ad at the exact same time. When you think of doing competitive analysis and looking at what ads you’re selling against, whose ads do you examine so you can make sure that your ads are going to be very attractive in those auctions? You want to look to see who has your higher overlap rates, because that’s who’s showing at the same time as you. So, in this case, Go Ahead Tours are number one. Then we have a few others that sit in the 31, 26, we’d also want to take a close look at. This is often where we can also find some additional insights. For instance, these companies are showing less than 10% of the time, however, overlap rate is you showed ads at the same time, not just competition level. We only have a 16%, they have less than 10%, obviously, none of us are showing a huge number of potential times. Our overlap is how often we’re really showing at the same time, so it’s very possible for someone not to show very much but show a lot at the same time you are. Now, in some cases, it’s a very specialty competition, where overall we’re looking at account-wide, they don’t compete a lot with us, however, in a maybe a specific region, we have really high overlaps.

0:03:11.6: Right now, we probably are spending more in Spain than normal, because Spain Trails, we’re guessing is just in Spain, we have to do more research. Because travel, it’s common, it’s sort of [0:03:21.3] ____ budgets based upon some seasonality thing, same with a lot of different companies. Impression share is just how often are showing overlap is a much more important number when it comes to analyzing ads because that’s who you actually show against in this same auction. Now, another thing we can look at is, alright, Firebird Tours, we don’t show against them very often, it’s only 14%. We’ll get to position above these others in just a moment, but they usually show above us, and they almost always show at the top of the page and almost always in a top position, meaning they probably don’t have a huge budget, but when they do show, they’re bidding a lot, a huge amount. So, you can start to see who is sending really high CPAs at times. This company would probably be better off lowering their target CPA or however they’re doing manual bidding, we don’t know their actual insights, getting more impressions and more clicks, but being slightly lower on the page, because position one is often more expensive than 2 and 3. And there are ways you can use this if you’re even an agency looking at this, say, “Hey, so and so X and Y are really aggressive bidders, but they don’t show much.”

0:04:45.7: So, it’s a very different type of competition, than someone would show against a lot, but they are often not the number one ad. Now, position above rate is how often someone is showing above your ad. We’re almost neck and neck with Go Ahead Tours, if they’re above us, we’re above them, they’re a little bit higher, 52%. But if we take someone like Firebird, they’re above us 80% of the time, so we might want to look through our campaigns to see exactly where do we compete because we don’t show often, but boy, when they show, they show above us a lot. So then, outranking share is how often your ad ranked higher than someone else’s, or your ad showed and theirs didn’t, which is an important consideration. So here, we’re not outranking many people very often, but top of page rate, it is 68%, so we’re probably bottom of the top of page, so position 3 and 4 a lot where some of our competitors are often in the 1 or 2 position a lot, important to note. Top of page rate shows you how often your ad or the competitors was in the top of page range. [0:06:03.8] ____ And then finally, absolute top of page, how often that company was in the absolute first position. So, what we want to look at, at first in overall account level is often who is showing the most, who do we show against the most, this is our ad analysis; if we think about, do we want to raise bids based on competition? Which isn’t necessarily based on your CPAs or your ROAS, it’s more conquest campaigns.

0:06:33.3: Then you’re going to start looking at these position above rates and outranking share rates. Now, this again, it’s account-wide, meaning we probably have a whole lot of individual campaigns, this is travel, we have hundreds of campaigns, that we want to drill into. Now, if you have a small account with three or four campaigns, you could just click through your campaigns, see which campaigns you have really high overlap rates with, to know that you need to examine for this campaign, but not for a different one. Then you can go your tools, go to your ad preview tool, and take a look at what the ads look like in those regions. If you have a lot of campaigns, you probably don’t want to click through a ton of campaigns to find these insights. We also have a Data Studio report that you can use, that will show all your campaigns, your top competitors, and then heatmap them so you can start to see, “Alright, search in Morocco, we have a 43% overlap, we’re cancelling the tours, but Go Ahead Tours, we barely compete within Morocco.” And so, we can start to look across all of our campaigns very quickly, and many more competitors, sometimes hundreds are shown in this report as opposed to the 8-12, Maybe 15 you see in the auction insight report. To find those areas of how to examine different competitors, to understand how you’re running ads against them or how you might want to change your bidding.

0:08:07.8: So, when you’re just trying to get an idea of, who do you compete against the most? Who should you pay attention to? Auction Insights is super useful tool to use. However, if you have large brand campaigns, then they may not compete against your brand, and they certainly look smaller. So that’s where using a Data Studio to segment out brand and non-brand campaigns to look at that, or clicking through campaigns, can give you better insights into the data. Something you want to say, “Who do you primarily compete against? What types of ads are they running? What types of ad extensions are they running? What’re the special offers you might want to monitor for some of your competitors?” And if you compete against someone very little, or you compete in only a couple of markets, then you may have either your market specialists or yourself in some cases. We’ll look at those a little less often because they’re not a big competitor, but they’re important in certain regions. Or in travel, we often see certain countries have much higher travel booking rates at certain times of the year. So, you may pay attention much more to Spain at certain times of the year and then look at different competitors for South Africa or something at other times of the year. Again, this will vary greatly, depending on the type of company you are, and the products you sell, whether it’s B2B, B2C, travel, lead gen, etcetera.

0:09:39.3: In addition to Data Studio, you can even do a week over week to start to see, do you have competitors who have a much lower overlap rate at the end of the month? Which tells them they’re often burning their budget very quickly, and there may be cheaper clicks available at the end of the month, another good thing to look at. And so, Auction Insights, learn about your competitors, and then you can use the data and the data over time to see, who do you compete against the most by campaign? Take a look at their ads, how aggressive they are in the auction, to know how to make your ads look attractive in those campaigns and potentially regions when your ads are showing at the same time so that you’re getting the conversions and not your competitors.

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One Comment

  • Dave

    Great insights! Thanks a lot!

  • Leave a comment

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