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A Guide To Google Ads Auction Insights

Published on
by Lucy Greenaway

Are you curious about how your Google Ads campaign compares to your competitors?

Wondering how to gain an advantage in the bidding auctions and optimise your advertising budget?

Meet "Auction Insights," a powerful tool within Google Ads that provide valuable data and insights to help you outperform your rivals.

Auction Insights is a reporting asset that allows you to compare the performance of your ads with those of your competitors participating in the same auctions.

It offers statistics like Impression Share, Search Overlap Rate, Position Above Rate, Top-of-Page Rate, Absolute Top-of-Page Rate, and Outranking Share.

Understanding these metrics can be a game-changer for your advertising strategies. Say goodbye to confusion and uncertainty as we explain them in simple terms.

In this guide, we'll break down what Auction Insights are and how you can use them to boost your campaign performance.

By the end, you'll have all the tools you need to analyse your competitors, refine your bidding strategy, and improve your ad quality.

Are you ready to take your Google Ads game to the next level?

Let's dive in and unlock the secrets of Auction Insights!

Understanding Auction Insights Reports

google auction insights on computer

Did you know that 75% of people will never scroll beyond the first page of search results according to HubSpot? [1].

To ensure that your ads get the visibility they deserve, you need to understand how they perform in comparison to their competitors.

This is where Auction Insights in Google Ads come into play, providing crucial data to assess your campaign's effectiveness and market competitiveness.

The Auction Insights report in Google Ads offers a set of valuable metrics that shed light on your ad's performance with your competitors' ads in the same auctions. By analysing these metrics, you can gain insights into various aspects of your campaigns, allowing you to optimise your bidding strategy and improve overall ad quality.

One of the primary benefits of the Auction Insights report is the ability to compare your ad's performance with your competitors' ads in the same auctions.

This information enables you to identify areas where your ads are excelling, where improvements are needed, and how much ground you need to make up against your rivals.

Metrics in the Auction Insights Report

The Auction Insights report provides several key metrics that offer valuable insights into your campaign's performance and competition.

When looking at an overwhelming amount of data like you see in Google Ads, it can be difficult to actually use the information you are seeing to make data-driven decisions. This is where a Google Ads Management agency can help.

With that being said, let's explore each of these Auction Insight metrics:

Impression Share

Impression Share is a crucial metric that indicates the percentage of times your ads were shown in relation to the total number of auctions you were eligible to appear in.

According to Google Ads Support - "Impression share = impressions/total eligible impressions" [2].

It takes into account your ad targeting settings, approval status, bids, and Quality Scores.

By tracking your Impression Share over time, you can determine if your ads are reaching their full potential and how they stack up against your competitors.

Search Overlap Rate

The Search Overlap Rate metric tells you how frequently your competitors' ads appear in the same auction as yours.

For instance, if your overlap rate is 60%, it means your ad and your competitor's ad both appeared in the same auction 6 out of 10 times.

This metric helps you gauge your competitiveness and adjust your bidding strategy accordingly.

Position Above Rate (search only)

The Position Above Rate shows how often your competitors' ads appeared in a higher position than yours during auctions when both ads were shown simultaneously.

It highlights areas where you may need to improve your bids to achieve a higher ad position.

Top-of-Page Rate (search only)

The Top-of-Page Rate indicates how frequently your ad appeared in paid search rankings at the top of the search results page, above the organic search results.

Human beings in 2023 have a shorter attention span - and with a world of knowledge at our fingertips, we don't want to waste time scrolling through endless pages to find what we are searching for.

A higher Top-of-Page Rate means your ad is more likely to get noticed by users.

Absolute Top-of-Page Rate (search only)

Similar to the Top-of-Page Rate, the Absolute Top-of-Page Rate shows how often your ad, or a competitor's ad, appeared as the very first ad above the organic search results.

A higher rate means your ad is dominating the prime ad position.

Which is what we all want when running Google Ads.

Outranking Share

The Outranking Share metric tells you how often your ad ranked higher than your competitor's or if your ad was shown when theirs wasn't.

It provides insights into your performance against your competitors and helps you refine your bidding strategy.

Why You Should Pay Attention To The Ads Auction Insights Report

auction insights on search and shopping ads

But you should feel more confident analysing an Auction Insights report in Google Ads now you have a breakdown of the metrics to refer back to.

Now it's time to understand what the benefits actually are of utilising Auction Insights in your Google Ads campaigns.

Optimising search campaigns for higher ranking

When you analyse and monitor key metrics provided in the Auction Insights, you can identify areas where your ads are excelling and other areas in your Google Ads account for optimisation.

Armed with this knowledge, you can adjust your bidding strategy, increase your bids for valuable keywords, and enhance ad relevance to secure higher ad positions in auctions.

This, in turn, boosts your chances of appearing at the top of the search results page, where ads tend to receive more clicks and visibility.

Reducing ad spending through data analysis

Efficiently managing your ad budget is essential for maximising ROI.

With Auction Insights, you can evaluate your ad's impression share and identify opportunities to reduce ad spend without compromising visibility.

By understanding the competitive landscape and your ad's performance against rivals, you can refine your targeting, adjust bidding, and optimise your campaign settings.

This data-driven approach ensures that your budget is allocated where it matters most, saving costs and driving more conversions.

Identifying market opportunities

Understanding your competitors and their strategies is key to identifying market opportunities.

Google Ads Auction Insights reveals valuable information about your competitors' bidding behaviours, keyword prioritisation, and ad performance.

By observing patterns and trends, you can unearth untapped keyword opportunities and strategic gaps in the market.

Armed with this knowledge, you can tailor your campaigns to fill these gaps and capitalise on new markets, expanding your reach and gaining a competitive advantage.

Accessing Auction Insights in Google Ads

google ads bids on specific keywords

The following instructions are part of the user experience update for Google Ads. If you are currently using the older version of Google Ads, you can refer to the quick reference map or use the search bar located in the top navigation panel of Google Ads to locate the specific page you are looking for.

To access Auction Insights in your Google Ads account, follow these steps based on the specific information you want to check:

  1. Navigate to the corresponding page for Campaigns, Ad groups, or Search keywords, depending on the insights you need.

  2. Choose a particular campaign, ad group, or keyword by selecting the checkbox next to each item. Remember that you can only choose keywords on a single page unless you run a report for 'All.'

  3. Click on the "Auction Insights" option.

  4. You'll be directed to your auction insights report, where you can find valuable data based on your selections.

  5. If you have chosen a mix of Search, Shopping, or Performance Max campaigns, you'll need to specify 'Search campaigns' or 'Shopping campaigns' from the dropdown menu. This will segment the data for each channel accordingly.

    Note that only keywords and ad groups that meet a minimum activity threshold will have the auction insights report available.

  6. If you want to filter your auction insights for a quick overview of keywords, ad groups, or campaigns with available reports, you can create a filter following these steps:

  7. Click on the filter icon above your statistics table.

  8. Choose one of the filters that appear, which will display a list of conditions for new filters.

  9. Enter your desired condition and click "Apply." The table will automatically update to show you the keywords or ad groups with available auction insights reports.

Strategies for Optimisation Using Auction Insights

Increasing bids to improve Impression Share

If you notice that your Impression Share is lagging behind your competitors, it might be time to consider increasing your bids. By bidding higher, you can improve your chances of winning auctions and increase the visibility of your ads. This, in turn, can lead to higher ad exposure and potentially more clicks.

Ad quality improvement for better performance

The quality of your ads plays a significant role in how they perform in auctions.

Google takes into account factors like ad relevance, ad format, and expected click-through rate to determine the Quality Score of your ads.

A higher Quality Score can positively impact your ad's positioning and reduce the cost per click.

By focusing on creating high-quality, relevant ads that resonate with your target audience, you can improve your ad's Quality Score and achieve better performance in the auctions.

Refining targeting options based on competitor analysis

Auction Insights allows you to identify competitors that frequently overlap with your ads in auctions.

When you analyse potential competitor strategies and targeting options, you can gain valuable insights into potential areas for improvement.

Consider refining your targeting to reach a more specific audience or experimenting with different targeting criteria to gain a competitive edge.

Understanding where your competitors focus their efforts can help you optimise your own targeting strategy for better results.

Adjusting bids and ad strategy based on ad positioning

Position Above Rate and Top-of-Page Rate metrics provide insights into how often your ads appeared in higher positions or at the top of the search results page.

If your ad positioning is not where you want it to be, consider adjusting your bids and ad strategy.

Increasing your bids can improve your chances of outranking competitors and securing top ad positions.

Additionally, optimising your ad strategy to enhance relevance and ad quality can positively impact your ad's positioning and overall performance in the auctions.

Monitoring Competitors' Bidding Strategies

reports in google ads auction insights

One of the most valuable aspects of Auction Insights in Google Ads is the ability to monitor your competitors within these auctions.

By understanding how your rivals are approaching their bids, you can gain critical insights into the competitive landscape and make data-driven decisions for your own campaigns.

Identifying competitors bidding on brand terms

Are your competitors targeting your brand terms?

With Auction Insights, you can find out which competitors are bidding on keywords related to your brand.

This information is crucial to ensure you maintain control over your branded keywords and protect your online presence.

By analysing impression share and identifying these competitors, you can take strategic actions to outperform them and secure your rightful traffic.

Observing competitors' scaling up or down

Some competitors may scale their campaigns up or down over time.

This behaviour can provide valuable clues about their strategies and market priorities.

By keeping a close eye on shifts in impression share and ranking positions, you can stay ahead of the game.

If you notice a competitor suddenly increasing their impression share or outranking you on critical keywords, it might be time to re-evaluate your bidding approach.

On the other hand, if a competitor scales back while you're consistently ranking well, you may consider adjusting your bid to maintain strong performance at a lower cost.

FAQ: How Often Do Your Ads Show vs. Competitors?

The Auction Insights report in Google Ads shows how often your ads were displayed compared to the total number of auctions you could have appeared in.

It's represented as "Impression Share," which is a percentage. By comparing your Impression Share to your competitors', you can see how visible your ads are in the market.

If your Impression Share is low, it could mean budget limitations, low-quality ads, or opportunities to use untapped keywords.

Analysing this data helps you improve your ad campaigns, increase visibility, and get more conversions.

FAQ: How to Identify Your Main Competitors?

You can see which competitors show up often alongside your ads in auctions by looking at their impression share and overlap rate within the Auction Insights report.

FAQ: How to Improve Your Ad Positioning?

Ad positioning is crucial in Google Ads.

To improve your position, focus on relevance, ad quality, and bidding strategy. Create highly relevant ad copy and landing pages to boost your Quality Score, increasing your eligibility for higher ad positions.

Regularly review and adjust your bids based on performance data and experiment with different bidding strategies.

Consider using ad extensions to make your ads more appealing and useful to potential customers.

FAQ: How to Utilise Auction Insights for Seasonal Campaigns?

For seasonal campaigns, analyse Auction Insights data for specific timeframes.

Monitor how your competitors' strategies change during peak seasons. Adjust your ad spend, bidding and targeting strategies based on seasonal trends to capitalise on opportunities and optimise your campaigns.


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