2022 is the year of automation, with all digital advertising platforms taking steps toward a more automated approach to campaign set up, targeting, creative and reporting. As a result, to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly level playing field, advertiser focus must move away from day-to-day optimisation and focus more on the wider digital strategy.
Competitor analysis forms a key element of any digital strategy. After all, how can you be ‘better’ without a baseline from which to gauge your success? When it comes to analysing competitor performance on Google Ads, the Auction Insights Report should be your first port of call.
What is Google’s Auction Insights Report?
Google’s Auction Insights Report allows you, the advertiser, to compare your ad performance with other businesses competing in the same auctions as you are AKA businesses targeting the same keyword or product searches as you within Search and Shopping campaigns on the platform. For example, if you were targeting ‘digital advertising agency’, you would see data about other businesses who have listed this as one of their target keywords in their Search campaigns.
The report shows key statistics such as the following;
- Impression share – the number of times a domain appeared as a percentage of impressions eligible to receive
- Overlap rate – how often the other domain appeared at the same time your ad did
- Position above rate – how often the other domain appeared higher than your ad in the same auction
- Top of page rate – how often a domain appeared in the top of the page ad results
- Absolute top of page rate – how often a domain appeared as the first ad result
- Outranking share – how often your ad ranked higher than another domain
You can view an Auction Insights Report for your whole account, by campaign, by ad group or by keyword (for Search campaigns only). Which level you view will ultimately depend on the complexity of your account structure and the data you are looking for.
Where do I find Google’s Auction Insights Report?
To view an Auction Insights Report, complete the following steps;
- Sign in to your Google Ads account
- Navigate to Campaigns, Ad Groups or Keywords from the vertical menu on the right.
- Select a specific Campaign, Ad Group or Keyword then select the Auction Insights option that appears within the vertical menu on the right.
- You will now be taken to your Auction Insights report. You can use the filter option that appears to refine the shown data further if required.
Alternatively, you can use the search function at the top of the page to search ‘Auction Insights Report’.
How do I Use Google’s Auction Insights Report?
Now that you have located the data, how exactly do you use it to gain a competitive advantage within your Google Ads efforts? Below we outline 5 ways you can use this report to get ahead of the competition.
- Identify your Google Ads competitors – Not every business invests in Google Ads and digital removes some of the boundaries set by your physical location. Therefore, your Google Ads competitors are likely to be different than your organic competitors, social competitors and local competitors, with new competitors potentially entering the market at any time. The Auction Insights Report at account level will give you a comprehensive list of exactly who these businesses are within a particular period and who you therefore need to monitor. Take this list and analyse their ad creatives (trigger with keyword searches), landing pages and overall website to identify ways for your own efforts to improve or areas where you can stand out.
- Identify competitors for your key products, services or locations – View the Auction Insights Report at Campaign or Ad Group level to see how you stack up for specific products, services or locations in which you compete. If you have a wide product/service offering or geographical reach, your competitors may differ across areas.
- Inform budgeting decisions – Metrics such as impression share are a clear way to see who you are out-performing and who is taking a bigger chunk of the pie than you are. Spot a competitor with greater impression share than you have for a particular campaign? Bump up your budget (if you can!) and re-visit your report next month. Note that budget is just one way to improve impression share – you should always pay close attention to your Quality Score also.
- Inform bidding strategies – There are a number of bidding strategies you can use within a Google Ads campaign such as maximise conversions, maximise clicks, maximise impression share etc. If the Auction Insights Report identifies that one of your competitors has a greater impression share and often appears higher up the page than you do, it may be worth testing a maximise impression share bidding strategy.
- Identify irrelevant targeting – If you note competitors appearing at Campaign or Ad Group level who you would not deem to be relevant competitors, you should review your targeting. The keywords you have included may be too broad and may even be irrelevant. Conduct further keyword research if necessary and implement negative keywords to refine your targeting.
Regular analysis of your Auction Insights Reports is an essential element of Google Ads optimisation but can also contribute to the overall digital strategy of your business, allowing you to identify key competitors in real time and act fast to gain or maintain an advantage. Set yourself a monthly or quarterly reminder and watch your results soar!
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