Competitive analysis: Making your auction insights work for you
Columnist Amy Bishop shares tips for identifying actionable takeaways from your AdWords auction insights data.
Oh, the auction insights report. You want to love it because it comes straight from AdWords, while most other competitive data comes with a grain (or maybe a pillar) of salt. Yet, while the information in this report is all nice to know, it might not seem to be immediately useful.
Don’t throw in the towel too soon, though — with auction insights, there’s more than meets the eye. Let’s talk about how to put the data to work.
Who has the majority of the impression share?
This is, of course, the most obvious use of the report. Who seems to be dominating impression share? You can look at this a few ways:
- Who is dominating impression share across all of your campaigns?
- Who is competing for impression share for each campaign? What about your top-performing, or worse-performing, ad groups?
- Who is vying for impression share on your top-performing keywords?
You can garner a few things from this report at a pretty high level. For one, who are you really up against? Along with your competitors, you’ll likely see other businesses competing on your terms for other purposes outside of your organization’s offering. You’ll also note how often you are outranking your competitors and, overall, how your impression share stacks up.
A few potential outcomes from this data could include:
- Your impression share is better, and you outrank your competitors the majority of the time. Hooray, you’re winning! But are you spending more than you have to? It is worth reviewing your highest volume terms and top performers to see how they stack up. Maybe you could afford to pull back a little while still maintaining your market share.
- Your impression share is better, but they typically outrank you. I would still consider this to be mostly a win, but you might consider increasing your bids to see if outranking more of your competitors’ results in a significant gain. I would be more likely to test this on specific target keywords versus an entire campaign.
- Your outranking share is better, but overall your impression share is worse. This could be an opportunity to decrease bids with the goal of gaining impression share by sacrificing rank to get more for your budget. Again, I would dig into the auction share of your top-performing, highest-ranked keywords before making any decisions.
- Your outranking share and your impression share are both worse than your competitors’. If the campaign is doing well, and there’s an opportunity for more budget — this would be a good opportunity to ask. If more budget isn’t an option or if the campaign isn’t performing well enough to justify more budget, then it is time to do an account audit to identify where you can trim the fat to make more impactful use of your bids and budget without breaking the bank.
Identifying the gaps and opportunities
One of the lessons that stuck with me from many, many years ago came from a professor in a college advertising course. He teed up the lecture by explaining that during the Great Depression, many organizations pulled back advertising budgets. Naturally, they did this because they needed to find ways to cut costs. However, those brands that didn’t react by pulling back thrived and established market share. Why? Because not only did they continue advertising — but they were advertising with less competition.