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New Auction Insights into AdWords Competitors

New Auction Insights into AdWords Competitors

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Yesterday the Inside AdWords blog posted "Make smarter decisions with the new Auction insights report", announcing the release of the new Auction insights report. This new report supplies information on who is competing for certain keywords and how aggressively:

"The Auction insights report provides data at the keyword-level, and provides five different statistics: impression share, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page percent..."

The Auction insights report gives advertisers a list of what sites they are competing against, and how effective their own campaign is relative to the competition. The new report provides impression share at the keyword level for all displayed domains, along with the other stats.

Reported Statistics

Auction insights report on AdWords

Previously, Impression share was only available at adgroup and campaign level. The Auction insights report is the first time this statistic has been available at the keyword level. Average position is also fairly straight forward, but is slightly more useful now that it is supplied with the new Top of page rate. The Top of page rate indicates how often an ad appears above the organic results for the search which when combined with Average position, give at least some insight into the range of positions the ad may have appeared in.

Both the Overlap and Position above rates give information on competition. Overlap rate tells you how often your own ad appears at the same time as the other, and Position above indicates how often the other ad appears above your own. Considered together, these two statistics indicate competitor behavour: how often they appear above yours, and how often their ads appear with yours.

The report is only available on a small number of keywords, and we have found that these are mostly head terms with a high search volume. It is anyone's guess as to how many keywords the reports will cover, but I suspect it is safe to assume that it will only be those with a significant amount of bidding activity and traffic.

These new AdWords reports only supply information on the auctions you participate in, based on your own settings. The competition's choice of match types, scheduling, targeting and so on have no bearing on the report. The Auction insights report is intended to show where your campaign is working, and where it might need more work.

This information can help to inform bid, budget and keyword choices as well as identify changes in direct competition over time, though we are yet to see any data older than May 1, 2012. How short the time periods you can create reports for is limited to the time periods offered and the level of activity observed by Google.

A Better Competitive AdWords Tool?

By making this information more readily accessible to their advertisers, Google AdWords has made it easier for their customers to see how their ads are performing relative to their competition on a number of keywords. The reports can only be created one keyword at a time, and for the time period specified. You can create an Auction insights report for any length of time from a single day to all time, but only if there is enough activity. Even with these limitations, AdWord's Auction insights report does provide some interesting insights.

The ability to reliably identify who is competing for the top spots and how frequently your own ads appear above the fold makes optimising for visibility more efficient. Identifying who is competing on the same search result pages as you makes it easier to tailor your own copy in response to the competition. The fact that this tool is also available for free if you already advertise in AdWords is a bonus.