For any Marketer or Business, it’s important to be aware of what your competitors are doing around you. The purpose of which, is to be able to truly take advantage of opportunities that you may be missing. Google has made this process easier than ever, thanks to their Auction Insights Report, a new tool that can be found within the Google Ads platform.

What is the Auction Insights Report

There’s no better tool for paid advertising marketers than the Auction Insights Report, used to understand how the business is positioned against competitors.

The Auction Insights Report provides data insights on paid ads performance, allowing advertisers to compare their keyword bid performance against competitors in the same auctions. Using this report means that you’ll be able to understand how the presence of competitors impacts the performance of your paid search or shopping campaigns.

The main metrics to keep an eye on in the Auction Insights Report include:

  • Impression Share, which is considered the most simple, yet critical metric to look at. The impression share is calculated by dividing the number of impressions earned by the total number of impressions when a search is done. In other words, it is the percentage of time the ads of competitors showed up for the same search query. An increase in competitors’ impression share, indicates that they’re increasing the keywords they’re already bidding on or that they increasing bids.
  • Overlap Rate specifically reports how often both your ads and competitors’ ads earned an impression at the same time, within the same auction. The overlap rate helps you analyse competition at keyword level, allowing you to determine how much overlaps you have and for which specific keywords.
  • Position Above Rate allows you to determine which competitors are ranked in a higher position than yours when your ads were showing at the same time in the same auction. Additionally, at keyword level, the position above rate allows you to determine if you’re outranked for certain keywords.
  • Top of Page Rate is another metric which enables you to determine which advertisers’ ads are ranking at the top of the page within the search results – in general the top 3 or 4 positions – in the same auction.
  • Absolute Top of Page Rate helps you determine which of your competitors’ ads are ranking at the very first position above the organic search results. It’s worth noting that the difference with the Top of Page Rate metric is that it’s specific to the very first position in the search results.
  • Outranking Share is pretty similar to the Position Above Rate metric as it states how often your ad ranked at a higher position compared to other advertisers’ ads in the same auction. The difference with the position above rate metric is that it takes into account the times your ads or other advertisers’ ads didn’t show up. For example, if your ads showed up but your competitor’s didn’t then that would be counted as outranking. And this calculation works for the opposite! For this reason, the Outranking Share is usually more used than the Position Above Rate.

How to interpret all this data provided by the Auction Insights Report

The data in your Report is representative of only what’s in your PPC account, or what you selected from your account at a campaign or keyword level. The Auction Insights report presents data specifically for the terms selected from your account. If you are reviewing a large number of keywords in aggregate, you wouldn’t notice any changes in your competitors’ behavior. But, if you view in more details at a keyword level, you’ll notice significant changes in competitors’ spend on certain keywords. For this reason, we would recommend you to look at data in segregated pieces – at keyword level.

Now that you’re aware of this, let’s dive in the best ways to interpret this data provided by the Auction Insights Report.

Estimate your Competitors’ Budget

Even if you can’t see what are their actual spend, you have access to which keywords earned them impressions and top positions in the search results. Thanks to this information, you will be to decide whether they’re spending more than other advertisers on these keywords and estimate on how much percent more.

Determine which Devices are Most Competitive

You can use the device filter to determine how your competitors are targeting keywords on each type of device. They may target specific keywords on mobile, while they target different keywords on desktops. You could use these insights to adapt your bidding strategy accordingly to each type of devices to outbid your competitors for those target keywords.

Assess Keywords Performance

The Auction Insights Report provides you data on performance for distinct keywords, allowing you to assess their performance individually and decide on biddings to reduce your CPA.  In addition to this, the Auction Insights Report will enable you to determine which keywords your competitors focus on the most, and allows you to decide whether you want to bid on them to increase your impression share.

Find out which Competitors are bidding on your Brand Name

The Auctions Insights Report allows you to see competitors that are bidding on your brand term – How dare they? Don’t you worry! The Auction Insights Repot has your back. With the data provided, you can decide on your bidding strategy to ensure you outbid them, and drive most of the traffic for your brand terms.

Times your Competitors are more Active

The Auction Insights Report gives you information on when your competitors are more active or less active on bidding. Based on that information you can bid more aggressively during the days of the week, or hours of the day that they’re the most active.

Identify Competitors’ Landing Page with High Performance

If you notice that a website has a large Impression Share and a Top of the Page Rate for a competitive keyword for a long period of time, that means they’re getting very good results from that keyword. Thus, the best thing to do is to check the content of your competitors’ landing page and see which keywords are on. This will help you optimize the content of your pages to increase conversions.


The Auction Insight Report is the perfect tool to allow you to develop a good understanding of what your competitors are doing. Google has gathered as much direct data as possible to help you get smarter about your strategic actions and determine new opportunities to optimise your PPC campaigns and improve ROI.

The data provided by this report really helps you compare your performance with other advertisers. The one warning I would give is to combine a selection of these metrics to get a more accurate insight and not looking at only one metric at a time.


Polaris is an award-winning B2B SEO agency in London specialising B2B, PPC, e-commerce and the healthcare industry.

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