In the previous installments of our AdWords hidden features series we explored advanced targeting and automation capabilities. In this installment, we highlight an advanced AdWords reporting feature that is imperative for campaign performance analysis, as it reveals valuable information about your competitive search marketing landscape.  

Auction Insights reports for AdWords campaigns

Understanding your competitors’ search programs is vital in order to assess, analyze and explain fluctuations in campaign performance. With the AdWords Auction Insights report you can learn which of your competitors are bidding on the same keywords as you are, what their average positions is, the rate that you overlap, and more.

Use this report to dive deep into a campaign, ad group, or analyze specific keywords. In order to truly gain valuable insights from this data, we recommend drilling down to the keyword level to analyze ‘exact’ and ‘phrase match’ keywords for brand and non-brand terms, separately. Here’s how to set up the report:

Access & Implementation

  1. Click on the Campaigns, Ad Groups, or Keywords tab in your AdWords dashboard to define the data you want to see in the report.
  2. Click on the Details box, located above the statistics table.
  3. Select All or Selected from the dropdown. To use the Selected option you need to first select specific keywords from the list.

Jumpshot Search Marketing tips

That’s it, your Auction Insights report is ready. You can now see who is competing with you and assess where you stand in comparison. You’ll also see impression share metrics, average ad position, overlap rate, position above rate, top of page rate, and outranking share. Bear in mind that this report only reflects a certain portion of your impressions, typically under half, so this information should be viewed as directional only.

This advanced reporting feature is worth testing for numerous reasons, including:

  • Competitive keyword data: Understanding who’s bidding on your terms can be very insightful. Are they bidding on your non-brand terms, brand terms, or both? Are there new players competing for those terms that previously slipped under your radar? We recommend looking at this data on a bi-weekly basis to continuously assess the competitive landscape on your keyword set.
  • Campaign performance analysis: You might detect shifts in campaign performance, such as increased cost per click (CPC) rates, that you cannot attribute to the obvious suspects, like an increase in average position, seasonality effects, or the addition of new keywords. The Auction Insights report can fill in the gaps by shedding light on your competitive landscape. It also allows you to compare the performance of the keywords or campaigns you are interested in over time in order to detect trends and understand anomalies. You might find that your CPC rates increased due to the increased volume of companies competing for the same keywords, or a drastic increase in a competitor’s impression count indicating an increase in budget. You might even find that the overlap rates increased across the board, suggesting that your competitors have started to bid on a larger portions of your terms, driving your CPC rates up.

Bottom line: The Auction Insights report adds a layer of information that is mostly overlooked: Competitive keyword information. Don’t limit yourself to your comfortable repertoire of AdWords features and tools. Successful digital marketers constantly push their limits and continue to test and optimize to increase ROI from search programs.