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Auction Insights: Google AdWords’ New Feature for Competitive Analysis

Last week Google announced and launched a new reporting feature – Auction Insights for Google AdWords. This new feature shows advertisers who competes with them in keyword auctions. The competitive URL is shown along with five different statistics: impression share, average position of advertiser and competitor, overlap rate of when both ads are shown, position above rate and top of page percent.
Initial launch of this report is for single keywords only, and data is provided only from May 1, 2012 to present.

This new feature it is a great addition for businesses, as it cuts the time spent on the Ad Preview Tool trying to determine how ads stack up against the competition. Using this new tool, you can now see a range of new competitive metrics on any given keyword within your campaigns.

What do the different available statistics mean?

  • Average position: Average position is a quick way to gauge how high your ads are ranking compared with those of other advertisers competing in the same auctions. Average position is the average rank of the ad in the auctions, which determines the order of the ads on the search results page.
  • Impression share: Impression share is the percentage of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive. Eligibility is based on your current ads’ targeting settings, approval statuses, bids and Quality Scores. In the Auction Insights report, impression share also tells you the impression share of other advertisers as a proportion of the auctions in which you were also competing.
  • Overlap rate: Overlap rate tells you how often you and another advertiser received impressions at the same time for this keyword.
  • Position above rate: Position above rate tells you how often another participant’s ad was shown in a higher position than yours was in auctions in which you both received impressions.
  • Top of page rate: This statistic tells you how often your ad (or the ad of another advertiser, depending on which row you are viewing) was shown at the top of the page, above the organic search results.

Auction Insights

How accurate is the data shown in Auction Insights?

It is important to note is that this report does not indicate whether the competitors are running the exact keyword with exactly the same match type or targeting settings as you. It only shows the metrics for who else competed in the auction with you for a given keyword. Therefore one can’t take these results literally. For example, the competitor may be advertising in phrase match, while you were advertising in exact match categories.

It is advisable to look at longer time ranges or to ensure that the analyzed keyword has had lots of impressions. Otherwise there may not be sufficient data for Google to display.

How is Auction Insights going to help?

The main advantage of Auction Insights is that it allows you to see which competitors are bidding on the same keywords as you. If you have campaigns split by devices, Auction Insights can help you determine whether your competition is advertising on mobile platforms or not – if not, then you can use that to your advantage.

Auction Insights can help to make changes to your bid strategy. For example, if your competitor’s ads are getting shown above your ads more often than you would like, you may choose to increase your bids to be positioned above your competition.

Domus Inc. can help you improve your SEM campaigns. We can custom-tailor your SEM campaigns, making sure that you get more bang for the buck you spend on online advertising. You can get in touch with us by clicking here.

Dhawal Sehgal is a Programmer at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at or 215-772-2805.

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