Delving Into the Auction Insights Report

The Auction Insights report is a super useful report in AdWords. It allows us to benchmark ourselves in the auctions we have chosen to enter compared to others in that auction. This report is vital to an advertiser’s analysis, as the bidding strategy of others has a direct impact on results. This report has come a long way since its first release of only analyzing one keyword at a time. Read on to discover how to get the most out of this report.

Auction Insights Overview

There are lots of blogs out there on this, so I will keep this brief. The report gives you insight into the following five metrics compared to others who entered the same auction as you:

  1. Impression share – the percentage of impressions you received compared to the total impressions you were eligible for.
  2. Ad position – the average rank of your ad on the page.
  3. Position above rate – how often participants were shown in an ad position above you.
  4. Overlap rate– how often other advertisers appeared in the same auction as you.
  5. Top-of-page percent – the proportion of time your ad appeared at the top of the page, above the search results.

These metrics are based on a sample of impressions within your selected date range. The data provided is based on others who matched for the same search query. They do not need the same keyword, match type, or settings.

The first great update to this report in June 2013 was when we were allowed to look at auction insights for a whole account, selected campaigns, selected ad groups, and selected keywords. Previous to this we could view this data one keyword at a time only. Although this was still very useful, pulling the reports I am covering in the next section would have been a huge headache.

The second great update at the beginning of this year was the ability to segment data by date and device. Now we can see how performance has changed over time without having to download multiple reports with different date ranges. The addition of the device segment is fantastic, too, as the constant change of user behavior across device makes this analysis really important.

How to Use This Report

Use AdWords labels to group sets of keywords. This will make running the report simpler, especially if you come back to run the analysis again. Select the most important keywords in your account – highest converting, best return on investment (ROI), highest spending, brand terms etc.

Quite often we will see fluctuations in our cost-per-click (CPC) on specific keywords despite our strategy remaining constant. This is usually driven by someone else in the auction changing their strategy, someone new entering, or someone exiting.

impressions-share-trend

Here is an example of the change in impression share of competitor activity on brand terms. We have seen CPC consistently rise on these terms over the past two years.

  • Competitor 1 – is in the auction pretty consistently and increases activity in Q3 and Q4.
  • Competitor 2 – has increased their impression share year on year.
  • Competitor 3 – turned off halfway through this year. Probably not seeing a return with the rising CPC.
  • Competitor 4 – looks to be toning down activity.

position-above-trend

Looking at position above rate we can see competitors 1 and 2 have got a lot more aggressive recently, which explains the rise in our CPC.

You can take this a step further and segment the data by device. In the chart below we are looking at the position above rate of competitor 2 by device. We can see that the increase in their position above us is mainly coming from mobile. This will really allow us to fine-tune how we react to the more recent aggressive behavior. To gain back position one we can apply a small increase in bid to win on desktop and tablet and a larger increase in mobile bid adjustment. This should help minimise the increase in CPC we are likely to see.

position-above-device-trend

Using the Auction Insights report will continue to be an important addition to our analysis tool belt. The new segments becoming available allow us to get more granular date and make better informed decisions. Above is just one example of how delving into mobile can help drive better decisions. Every month mobile becomes a more and more important factor in search. Traffic and a user willingness to purchase is growing. This means being aware of your main competitor’s strategy across different devices is incredibly important. The addition of the device segments to the auction insights give us this detail.

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