Valuable Competitive Insight Now Available from Google!

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Within the last several weeks, Google announced the release of ‘Auction Insights’ through its industry leading AdWords advertising platform.  This latest innovation from Google enables us to see who we are competing against on a per auction basis at the keyword level.  The additional transparency into the ad auction enables us to gain insight

This type of information has been sought after since the introduction of internet marketing.  Some savvy marketers have been able to gather some level of insight though a tedious manual process of data gathering and analysis or through third-party software tools.  In either case, the results were never very accurate, and the accompanying statistics were minimal.

By virtue of what Google is, there cannot possibly be a more reliable or accurate gauge for this all important measurement.  Google not only indexes your web pages, they create a mirror of the entire internet – hosted on their own servers, every 12-15 days!  Through auction insights, we can now further tap into that wealth of information to refine our online marketing strategies at a very granular level.

There are five different statistics available:

  • Impression share:  The percentage of impressions you received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  • Average position: The average rank of the ad in the auctions, which determines the order of the ads on the search results page.
  • Overlap rate: Overlap rate tells you how often you and another advertiser received impressions at the same time for this keyword.
  • Position above rate:  How often another participant’s ad was shown in a higher position that yours was in auctions in which you both received impressions.
  • Top of page rate:  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.

It should be noted that, at this point, you can only run the report against one keyword at a time.   Also, the data is only available for keywords that meet a minimum threshold.

Google makes it clear that the information that we see is not the direct result of a specific keyword auction.  Rather, the statistics relative to other advertisers here is based solely upon instances where your ads were also estimated to be eligible to appear.   That said, the release of this data does not reveal your campaign, keywords, or related strategy in any way.

Said simply, the auction insight is a collection of aggregate data between advertisers who participated in the same auctions across a specified time period.

We see the following key benefits for advertisers:

  • Keyword validation:  Through logical deduction, it is accurate for you to believe that – if you are seeing a number of your competitors showing up in your insight reports – you are pursuing the right keywords.
  • Qualtiy score, targeting settings, and bidding strategy:  If your impression share is high, it is accurate to believe that you are doing well in terms of these considerations.
  • Further validation on bidding strategy:  If you have a ‘top of page rate’ that exceeds 90%, you are outranking your competitors on 9 out of 10 impressions.  That means that you should now focus on your return on investment (ROI).   

Finding the Auction insights report for a keyword

  1. Go to your Keywords tab.
  2. Click the box next to the keyword you are interested in. (You’ll know if the Auction insights report is available for this keyword if you see an icon to the left of the keyword.)
  3. Click the “Keyword details” box at the top of the statistics table.
  4. In the dropdown menu, click “Selected (single keyword)” under the “Auction insights” header.
  5. You’ll now be taken to the Auction insights report for your selected keyword.

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