Jonathan Saipe

“Auction Insights” Reveal Your Google AdWords Competitors

28 May 2012, Jonathan Saipe

Last week, Google announced a new feature in AdWords called Auction Insights. It enables advertisers to view additional information when competitor ads appear at the same time as your own ads within a given auction.

As Google rightly said in their official blog,  a fundamental component to creating a search advertising strategy is understanding the competitor landscape and optimising campaigns accordingly.

AdWords Auction Insights Single Keyword Only

This represents an unusual move from Google, as in past it has revealed little about AdWords competitor information other than impression share metrics (illustrating the percentage of ad impressions received versus the estimated number of impressions for which they were eligible) and estimated bids.

The nuts and bolts

The new Auction Insights report reveals who is competing in a given ad auction and publishes the URL of the advertiser in addition to five different statistics:

  • Impression share – the percentage of time your ad appeared based on the number of impressions that you were eligible to receive
  • Average position – the average position of your ad in the list of ads
  • Overlap rate – how often a competitor’s ad received an impression when your ad also received an impression
  • Position above rate – how often a competitor’s ad was shown in a higher position than yours
  • Top of page percent- how often a competitor’s ad appeared at the top of the page above the search results

Does it really help?

It’s important to note that the Auction Insights report publishes data on other advertisers that participated in the same auction. This does not necessarily mean that these advertisers shared the same keywords or match types.  Nor does it reveal your competitor’s specific campaign settings.

So, the data revealed is therefore open to interpretation. And going even further, you could argue that some competitor data is already available when searching on Google, although not in any condensed format. Having said that, the data does provide a degree of transparency into who your regular competitors are.

But alas we will have to wait before Google considers publishing more specific campaign settings such as CPC bids, keyword matching or geo targeting.  Now that would really heat things up!

Jonathan Saipe is founder of Emarketeers and has been involved in the search marketing industry for over a decade. He currently leads Emarketeers’ AdWords training course.