I have been asked many times by my Google Adwords clients – how can I tell what keywords my competitors are bidding on? Or, how can I tell how much my competitors are paying for clicks? Well, Google has made gleaning information about these questions a whole lot easier with the addition of a new feature called “Auction Insights”.  While it will not directly answer the questions above, it will give you enough information to help make you a better advertiser.  I do also want to point out that there are some paid services out there that do offer detailed information on competitors, their bids and so on, and if this truly is something you want, you can get it – how accurate these numbers may be is another story. Anyway, back to auction insights…

Below is a screenshot of what you’ll see after selecting an eligible keyword and clicking on Auction Insights.  At first glance you’ll notice your competitors URL’s on the left, which we blurred out in this example, and also your keyword at the top of the page.  Next we’ll explain what each of these columns mean:

Google Adwords Competitor Insights

Impression share: This column basically shows you a percentage of impressions you received in the auctions for which you were competing.  So if you’re wondering how this could be anything but 100%, things like quality score, bids, approval statuses and targeting settings could impact these results.  Something to note, is that this is a percentage of impressions in auctions that you were competing in, meaning if you were not competing in the auction, say because you set your ads not to run from midnight to 3am, and the auction occurred at 1:30am, this will not effect your impression share.

Average Position: This column is pretty straight forward, although it allows you to understand your total ad rank position in comparison to your competitors for this particular keyword.  Basically, if you average around 1-3 you’re at the top of the page above the search results. 4-10 and you’re on the right hand side of the page.  The best click-through-rates are spots 1,2 and 3 (45% of all clicks in a recent Google study).

Overlap Rate: This column shows you how many times your competitor’s ads receive an impression when yours does.  This is a direct relationship with impression share.

Position Above Rate: This column indicates the percentage of impressions in which your competitors ads were ranked better than yours.  It is extremely rare to always own the #1 spot, so if this is what you’re after and your competitors receive this spot only 1-2% of the time, you’re in good shape. You may also notice some rogue competitors here who likely have smaller budget than you, but high quality scores.  Keep an eye out for these guys.

Top of Page Rate: Finally this column is a percentage of how often your ad appears in spots 1,2 or 3.  This column also indicates the same for your competitors. In our example above, you can use this to better understand exactly which ads show for users who are searching for this particular keyword.

All in all this is really cool info that can be used to help you improve your ads.  The best part, is that this feature is so new, that
most Google Adwords clients don’t even know it exists.  You can find it on your keyword page – good luck out there!

As always if you have questions about your Google Adwords campaign, would like to get one started – drop us a line, we’d be happy to help.

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Post Written By:

Brian Siddle

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