Auction Insights Google Ads

Auction insights google ads



Auction Insights Google Ads: My Specialist Metric Techniques

Ok, I’ll take you guys (in detail), through some of my specialist techniques that I use for the auction insights in Google ads. This metric can be utilised to optimise your Google ad campaigns and budgets. 

Anyone who is currently running Google ads can utilise these strategies to improve the performance, but also analyse how your campaigns are performing against your competition. 

Those industries that are competitive will find this most valuable because these strategies will allow you to understand exactly what’s going on inside your ad campaigns when it comes to market share and other metrics. 

An example of this would be one of my clients in Australia is within a highly competitive roadworthy industry. Another could be the solar industry which is really competitive on Google ads. 

We can analyse the Google ads auction insights within either the campaign or ad group to understand how we are performing against their competition and make data driven decisions to reallocate budget or optimise areas. 

Ok, so now you understand that we can move forward with a more in depth analysis of the auction insights metrics in Google ads, and how you can use this metric to optimise your campaigns further. 

What Are Auction Insights In Google Ads?

In the most simple terms, auction insights are a feature in Google Ads that allows you to compare your performance with other advertisers who are bidding on the same keywords as you. 

Essentially, you can see other websites who are currently running ads on Google ads platform that are in direct competition to yours. You are then able to check out their websites, landing pages, and if you are smart even their ads. 

There are 6 in-depth metrics you can analyse in this report which are:

impression share illustration

Impression Share

Impression share is the percentage of times your ad shows up compared to the total number of times it could have shown up, based on your settings and quality of the ad.
overlap rate illustration

Overlap Rate

Tells you how often another advertisers ad appears when your ad does.
position above rate illustration

Position Above Rate

Indicates how often a competitor’s ad shows up in a better spot than yours.
top of page rate illustration

Top of Page Rate

Shows how often your ad appears at the top of the search results page.
overlap rate illustration

Outranking Share

Tells you how often your ad ranks in a higher position than a competitor’s ad, or shows up when theirs doesn’t.
absolute top of page rate

Absolute Top of Page Rate

Shows how often your ad appears in the #1 position for the search query or keyword.

Now, with this report you can only use filters to look at specific ad groups or campaigns. You won’t be able to view by keyword or even narrow down by ad. You can add some segments to view devices and time/week. 

In summary, auction insights in a metric in Google ads that you can use to view how your ads are performing against your direct competitors who are also using the Google ad platform. 

(PS. This will only show you competitors who are running Google ads in the date range you selected. If your competitors have their ads paused, they will not show. It will not show any organic SEO rankings either).

You Can Find Your Auction Insights Under The Ad Groups Tab

So, where can you access this report? Here’s a simple easy step by step guide with photos:

Step 1.

Go to your Google Ads account here

navigating to ads.google.com

Step 2.

Select the ‘Campaigns’ tab.

going to the campaigns section of your google ads

Step 3.

Then choose ‘Auction insights’.

choosing the auction insights from the campaign level

Step 4.

You can also view auction insight in specific campaigns inside ‘Ad Groups’. 

choosing the auction insights from the ad group level

Please note: If you are looking at auction insights from the campaign view, this will show data from all of your campaigns. 

This might mean if you have a really high performing campaign, and a low performing campaign, overall your auction insights may look ok. 

I recommend going into each campaign and then viewing the auction insights of each Google ads campaign for more accurate data to analyse. 

Your Auction Insights Will Only Be Available Search And Shopping Campaigns

Also, if you are struggling to find the auction insights this could be because you are not running any search or shopping campaigns. So, as a quick run down auction insights only work on the search and shopping network. 

This is because it’s much easier to see who is bidding on the same keywords vs the different number of websites your ads are showing in the display network. When it comes to performance max, you can get some data back regarding this but not more. 

I go into more detail about this in my performance max review here. With Google’s new Demand Gen campaign I can imagine it will be very similar to performance max as well so, prepare for limited data. 

Again, this is really designed for those competitive industries who are maxing out the search and shopping campaigns. 

Auction Insights Will Indicate Your Outranking Share Against Other Google Advertisers

Ok, so the outranking share can allow you to see if you are dominating your market share, or simply being dominated by your competition. 

The higher your outranking share, the more times your ads are shown above your competitors. The lower your outranking share, then the more times your competitors ads are shown above yours. 

What does this data show? Well, high outranking share can suggest that your ads bidding strategy is performing better than others. If you are using an automated bidding strategy, it can suggest that your quality score is better than your competition. 

It may also suggest that you are putting in more budget than your competition, meaning you are capturing more market share because their ads are running out of budget. 

Alternatively, with a low outranking share it could suggest that you are running out of budget and your competition is being shown more than you. It may also suggest that your quality scores are low, and need improvement. 

It’s important to consider this data, as it will allow you to make tactical decisions on your ads.

What if your outranking share is low?

With a low outranking share, the first thing I would do is check my keyword quality scores. If they are super low, I’d work on how to improve them. 

I’d analyse my competition’s website and ads (through the Google ads transparency center) and see what they are doing differently. Don’t just straight up copy them, but get inspiration. 

If they are doing it a certain way, how can you do it better? How can you attract your client through a certain message or impactful style of marketing? 

use the ad transparency center to see what your competiton are doing.

You Can See The % Of Time Your Ads Were At The Top Of The Page Vs Your Competition

I love the top of page rate metric. It’s great for finding out if you are being shown in a prominent position, or being pushed down in the ad ranks to the bottom of the pages. 

Before I go on, don’t underthink this metric. It can be amazing seeing a high top of page rate, but if your ads are not converting then it would suggest something is wrong with your website or landing page. 

One super cool thing I love to test with top of page rates would be to test a new strategy to target impression share. I’d run an experiment with a 50% budget split to see if being at the top of the page actually increases conversions for you. 

Sometimes the top of the page is overrated 😆. Run a test and see if your industry works better when you are at the top for your high performing keywords. Make sure to run the test when you already have data inside of your auction insights, and use them to see the results of the test. 

Again, if you have high performing metrics for your top of page rate, you can test scaling back your budget slightly to see if you lose much top of rate %. If you see that it’s staying quite consistent, you will be saving a nice chunk of budget. 

What if your top of page rate is low?

To be honest, this is possibly the easiest fix. To get a better ranking, change up your bidding strategy or just increase your budget. However, as ad specialists we want to optimise and not go for the easiest way out… 😆. 

So, if you do have a low top of page rate, I’d actually source back to your ads and try to instantly improve 2 factors. Expected click through rate, and ad relevance. 

For expected click through rate, this is essentially how enticing your ads are for people to click through even without extensions and other boosting ad areas. I’ve found the easiest way to improve this is through creativity. 

Make your ads stand out. Now, a cheat method is using AI or Chat GPT to make hyper relevant but creative ads. Depending on your industry you can use puns, plays on words, pain points and call outs. 

If you focus on your customers biggest desires or pains, it will resonate with them and they will click through. 

For ad relevance, set up some testing ads that focus more on your keywords or have your targeted keywords in the ad text, ad description and ad path. 

increase your budget and optimise your quality score will focus on quick top of page improvements

Run Your Competition Domains Through Google's Ad Transparency Center

Give me a better feeling of when you see your competition above you, and realise you can see exactly what ads they are running and how they are out performing you. Well, now you can do exactly this. 

It’s a super sharp trick that not a lot of people have clocked onto yet. Google’s ad transparency center was launched in the Fall (or Autumn) of 2022. Here you will be able to pull your competitors from your auction insights and run the domains who are outranking you and view their ads. 

You can see if they have better ad copy, more relevant ads or even a better landing page. Again, don’t ever copy your competitors but you can get inspiration from their campaigns and how they are performing. 

What’s awesome for shopping users (and I suppose search users) is that you can see when your competitors are running new ads, and if they have turned off old ads. Now, this gives you another level of insight and suggests maybe that old campaign wasn’t working. 

However, you won’t be able to see the historical ads in the center, but if you analyse enough you will see the ads that are running and then see them go with new ones that get released. 

This strategy allows you to wait for your competition to spend their budgets on trialling new campaigns, products, copy and styles before running with it permanently. This will save you the cash and budget on finding out what resonates with your audience.

Narrow Down Your Auction Insights Reports By Ad Groups Or Campaigns

Just as a heads up, you can narrow your report down by campaign level or ad group level. Now, I did cover this shortly above but I’ll run through a little more detail regarding this.

Campaign level is really good to get a generalised overview of your auction insights. I guess it’s like having an overview to see your average, most generalised metrics. However, like I mentioned above, this data doesn’t go into details about low or high performing campaigns.

Looking at your auction insights under the ad group level paints a better picture on each specific campaign performance. Here, you might find that different keywords for each campaign might be more competitive than others.

Auction insight reports for campaign level might show specific campaigns are more competitive than others, or some campaigns are working better than others.

You may find that the more niche campaigns are to your product or service, the better the performance and the more broad, the worse your performance. Of course, you won’t actually know this without data though.

This way, you can really understand which campaigns are doing better than others and know why.

choosing the auction insights from the ad group level

How Can You Utilise The Google Ads Auction Insights Metrics In Your Reports?

So, here’s a few more suggestions of how I currently use the auction insights metrics to optimise and work on my clients (and my own) Google ads accounts. 

Understand which areas/keywords/audiences have the highest competition

This may just mean that people are bidding on these keywords because they think that’s what their customer is going to search, or think that’s who their customers is, or where they are located. 

Sometimes, this is not the case. It’s worth setting up campaigns and split testing against this strategy. Expand your location reach to more rural areas or worldwide. 

Open out your audiences to observation only instead of targeting them to specific interests or demographics you think works. Once you’ve got the data back then you can optimise it to be more targeted again. 

Choose a long tail keyword strategy to capture low competition keywords with more search intent. Yes, they might be low in search volume however you can add lots of these and it will add up (especially with broad max or a high volume search bidding strategy). 

This way you are moving areas from high competition areas which may decrease your cost per click, cost per lead and increase your conversions as you are getting more market share. 

Key Optimisation Points:

Reallocating Budgets

Ads Positioning

Monitoring & Reporting

Quality Score Optimization

Impression Share Boost

Outranking Share Analysis

View the areas that you are capturing or dominating a large market ad share

You can see which campaigns are capturing a dominant market share. This means that if the campaign is broad or niche, you can look to replicate the strategy across different channels or campaigns in Google ads.

These campaigns might be high performing for a reason. The ad copy might be good, the keyword research, the landing page or quality scores.

You can look to replicate this and broaden out different campaigns in different channels, locations or other areas to improve your Google ads.

Key Optimisation Points:

Competition Analysis

Keyword Testing

Audience Diversification

Data-Driven Refinement

Long-Tail Strategy

CPC Reduction

Analyse if you need to increase your budget, quality score or other ranking factors

Usually, with a lower top of page and impression share rate inside your auction insights, you can make a data driven decision that you either need to increase your budget or improve on your quality scores.

Each campaign might have different results based on different data, but you will usually be able to tell which areas you might be falling behind your competition. This way, you can ensure your campaigns are performing the best they can be.

Also, it gives you a good indication of how much marketing will cost in your industry or how much your competitors are spending. If they are spending a lot, there is a high chance that Google ads are working in your industry.

Key Optimisation Points:

Budget Assessment

Quality Score Review

Impression Share Focus

Competitive Spend Insight

ROI Estimation

Market Viability

Calculate the % of metrics you need to beat your competitors and rank the highest

You can usually see through the outranking share, how much % you might need to start dominating. If it’s something like 10%, you know that you need to increase your budget or improve your quality score by 10%.

This way, you don’t have to over optimise or push loads of budget in, you can just make the improvements of the % you need to be in the dominant position and move up in the rankings.

Key Optimisation Points:

Overlap Rate Target

Competitor Spend Estimation

Quality Score Threshold

Quality Score Optimization

Target Outranking Share

Impression Share Goal

Process ranking data to see if you need to reallocate your budget into different areas of your campaign

I mentioned this slightly above, but an example would be an area that you are dominating vs an area you are not. You may be able to pull small amounts of your budget from your high performing campaign over to your low performing campaign to improve the auction insights.

This way you can afford to test to see if reducing the budget for your high performing campaign affects your auction insights metrics much, if not then you can improve your other campaigns through the adjusted budgets.

Key Optimisation Points:

Reallocating Budgets

Ads Positioning

Monitoring & Reporting

Quality Score Optimization

Impression Share Boost

Outranking Share Analysis

Don’t Think That Auction Insights Are The Most Important Metric

Look, I know that we have gone very in depth with the auction in-sights metric however I will stress that this is not going to be the most important metric to focus on. 

Actually, when you look at it, the auction in-sight data is a direct representation of your quality score and performance of your ads. 

By improving your quality score, budget or bidding strategy you can easily change the data in your auction insights so that’s certainly something to consider. 

However, credit where credit is due. Auction in-sights can give you some awesome information and guide you to know which campaigns are working well, and which ones might need some more attention or budget.

Lastly, I always stress. Test your campaigns. Do a 50/50 split to see what happens to your auction insights when you make some changes to your campaign. Whichever the winner, keep running with that and test again. 

Google has some really amazing AI features to help you improve so test these as well and see if they work well in your industry. 

Even with low auction insights, you could still be running good ads

Your competition could be running very bad ads, pushing false date into the system 

Just to back up the point that I made above as well about it not being the most important metric; I’ve worked with clients where their auction insights weren’t the best but their ads were still generating a huge amount of leads. 

Usually this could be because your competition is dumping huge amounts of budgets into their ads for a few weeks, not getting any results and then pulling the plug. With a large amount of budget, the algorithm will be showing you in prominent  positions. 

It happened because new competition would pop up, dump cash on the ads and then pull them. This would be a monthly cycle, so again take your auction insights into consideration but don’t make them your main focus.

sometimes your competition may be driving down you auction insights metrics


So, that’s basically everything there is to know about Google Ads auction insights and a bit more in depth on my strategies on how to use them to improve your ad campaigns. 

In summary, they are an awesome metric to use to compare against your competitors and understand how much they are spending in Google ads, how well their advertising is scored in Google ads, and how you can dominate a large market share in your industry. 

By actioning some of these strategies, I’m very confident that you will get some good results coming back or at least, better allocation of your budgets. 

Please share your thoughts and strategies in the comments below, so everyone can benefit from new generation Google ad strategies.


About The Author

George Panayides is a digital marketing specialist, focusing on SEO, Google ads, Social media marketing, website development and link building. He’s looking to help other freelancers or business owners become a master in their industry and move towards a better, more successful future.

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