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6 Useful Auction Insights Metrics: Dominate the Competition

Published by Algorithmic Global on

Auction Insights

The six metrics listed on the auction insights page of your Google ads provide a wealth of information about your competitors.

Advertising using Google ads doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Whenever your ad shows, there are also ads from your competitors vying for the same click. The auction insights page provides information about how your ads stack up against those that show alongside yours.

Since your competitors’ ads can affect how high on the search engine results page (SERP) your ad shows, your cost-per-click, and your search impression share, understanding the information on the auction insights page will help you become a better advertiser.

This article will outline why the auction insights page is a big deal in the first place, review what the six metrics mean, and give you ammunition for understanding your ads.

runners lined up in a race

Auction insights provide information about your competitors

First off, we’ll start with the name: auction insights. Google chooses which ad shows on their SERPs based on an auction that considers the ad’s optimization score and the bid amount. So, if everyone that bids on similar searches somehow talked and agreed they would bid much higher, your current bids might not be enough to win any auctions.

This scenario never happens—it’s just hypothetical. Worth mentioning: Google ads provides a notice that a bid is “below first-page bid.” All this means is that the bid entered into the system isn’t enough for the first page at that time—it doesn’t mean at all times. So, maybe during peak hours, the bid won’t show on the first page. But, at other times, the ad is in the running. Because of this, we don’t suggest paying attention to that particular warning unless winning every auction is the goal of your campaign.

So, your competitors can affect your cost-per-click. Their actions can also influence where your ads show up on the SERPs. A particular bid might have been enough for top-of-search, but because of your competition, your highest possible position might be second or third, or even on the ads served in the bottom.

These possibilities are all related and play into the last significant way your competitors can affect your ads: lowering your search impression share. If your competition suddenly bids higher, your ads will show less often, meaning a reduction in your search impression share. 

You can learn about all of this on the auction insights page.

hand next to papers showing charts

6 auction insights metrics

Luckily, Google provides us with data about our competitors on the auction insights page.

You can get to this information by logging into your account and navigating to “campaigns.” There, beneath the “campaigns” tab, is your auction insights page.

There are six metrics available on the auction insights page:

  • Impression share
  • Overlap rate
  • Position above rate
  • Top of page rate
  • Absolute top of page rate
  • Outranking share

Let’s take a look at what these all mean.

Impression share

Strictly speaking, this number is the measure of how often an ad shows up compared to all the possible times the ad could have shown up. 

There are two ways you could see a competitor’s impression share increase:

  • Increased bid amount
  • More keywords 

In both scenarios, your competitors’ ads will have a more significant percentage of the share of the total number of possible impressions.

Overlap rate

The overlap rate on the auction insights page is a measure of how often your ad and a competitor’s ad show up at the same time. Because this measurement is a direct comparison, you won’t see a number displayed in your account’s column.

The higher an overlap rate, the more that account is your direct competitor. They probably have many similar keywords and are targeting the same locations.

The overlap rate is an excellent metric for identifying a new player in your market.

Position above rate

This metric shows how often a competitor’s ad shows above yours when they’re displayed simultaneously. You can see which ads are beating when searchers trigger your ads.

A 50% score means that half the time your ads show above theirs, and half the time their ads show above yours. Again, since this is a direct comparison metric, you won’t have a number displayed for your account.

Top of page rate 

Top of page rate is similar to the impression share metric in that it measures how often an ad shows. In this case, it measures how often your ad’s shown at the top of the page—generally, one of the top 3 spots.

A competitor that shows at the top of the page more often than you most likely has a higher bid on their keywords. 

Absolute top of page rate

Absolute top of page rate and top of page rate are two very similar auction insights metrics. In this case, the absolute top of page rate is how often an ad shows at the absolute top of the page, or in the first possible position for an ad.

This number is a good indicator of which of your competitors employs the most aggressive strategies.

Outranking share

This metric is another one on the auction insights page that is a measure of a direct comparison. Therefore, you won’t see a number displayed for your account.

The outranking share is similar to the position above rate metric but isn’t limited to when both ads are shown. That means that when a competitor’s ad doesn’t show when yours does, you outrank them.

Taking a look at both the outranking share and position above rate can provide insight into how much overlap your ad campaigns have with a competitor. This number is the best measure of how well you stack up against a competitor.

Using the auction insights

There are two main ways we use the auction insights, and they both deal with client communication.

The first is during monthly reporting. Clients enjoy hearing about how their accounts stack up against the competition, and the information helps keep clients happy with their account’s progress. Using this information helps clients understand the effects of canceling an ad account—we can show them which competitors will absorb their search volume.

The second has to do with the rules of a national chain. There are strict advertising rules that limit which areas the franchise can run ads in, and whenever other franchises appear in the auction insights, our clients can take action and keep other franchises from infringing on their turf.

computer showing blue graph

PPC advertising with Algorithmic Global

Knowing your way around the metrics on the auction insights page will help you prepare for conversations with clients about their campaigns. Or, if you find yourself dealing with a national chain, you can help keep competing franchises from infringing on your client’s territory.

Navigating the six metrics on the page can explain why advertising results vary, giving you a powerful tool for when you come up with your next strategy.

Understanding the auction insights is just one aspect of Google ads management. If you’re interested in getting help with your PPC campaigns, the team at Algorithmic Global can help! Give us a call or reach out to us via our contact page, and our experienced team will follow up with you and find out how we can work together on your digital marketing!


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