Taking Auction Insights a Step Further

auctionI’m often surprised by how many people at conferences say they either didn’t know Auction Insights existed, or they admit they’ve glanced at it but not gone too far beyond that. This handy tool in AdWords is easy to sort of nod at and say, “Huh. Interesting” before moving onto the next thing you have to do that day. Beyond the basic parts, Auction Insights can give you some good nuggets of information that will reveal not only whether you’re doing well compared to others, but also where they’re weak.

Auction Insights can be found under the Campaign, Ad Group, or Keyword tab by clicking the “Details” button.


You can select it for “all” or click the check box next to the specific rows of criteria in your account you’re wanting specific information for.

The table that’s presented to you is sometimes eye-opening on its own. Many clients see some competitors they’re familiar with, but often ones they hadn’t been aware of. This can provide a good list if you want to plug into those URLs into more comprehensive research tools such as SpyFu or SEMRush.

Beyond that, here are some things to look at.

Device Performance

The screen you first see defaults to showing PC/Tablet information. Now that mobile is so important, knowing how you stack up there can be crucial. Once you’re in the Insights screen, you’ll notice there’s a Segment button at the top. You can choose “Device” from there, and you may see a very different story:


Notice how if you just look at the default line, the impression share looks close. But then look at this advertiser’s Mobile share vs. the competitor’s – theirs is much higher. They also are consistently higher up on the page for all devices. Depending on overall mobile performance, this advertiser may want to consider being more aggressive to capture some of the market share the competitor is getting.

Performance By Day

Another segment is to look at these stats by their average on a given day of the Day of the Week. This is provided in table form, but I prefer to export it to Excel because you can pivot it to view the data a little easier.


You can drop in any of the main measurements to your pivot. In this example, I show outranking share. There are a few ways you can use this information, but a good place to start is to look at those who consistently outrank you and spot their weaker days. In this example you’ll see there are weaknesses on Wednesday fairly often. The advertiser could use this as a chance to test bumping their bid modifiers higher on those days to try and capture a little more traffic, of course ultimately gauging if it gets them more sales.

You can also export this information by Month or by Quarter, which can be useful in looking at seasonal trends for your competition.

Have any clever ways you’ve used Auction Insights before? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!