Beat the Competition with Auction Insights

If you want to know how you compare to your competitors online, the best tool for paid search marketers to use is the Auction Insights report.

Auction Insights can help your Google ads agency or business to see how your competitors impact your own Google Ads performance. In this article, we will tell you how you can use auction insights to make decisions about your campaigns and how to use that information to beat out your competition for the best-placed ads.

google ads

What is the Auction Insights Report? 

First, let’s discuss what the auction insights report is. Every time someone searches for one of your keywords, Google runs an ad auction in the background to decide which ads to serve and where each ad should appear on the search engine results page. The auction insights report is a tool from Google Ads that allows you to compare your performance with other advertisers who are participating in the same auctions you are. (It is also sometimes referred to as Google AdWords Auction Insights.)

In Google Ads, the Auction Insights report for Search campaigns shows you six data points for both you and your competitors:

  • Impression Share: This is the number of impressions you got, divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to get.
  • Overlap Rate: This tells you how often your competitor’s ad got an impression in the same auction that your ad also got an impression.
  • Position Above Rate: This tells you how your competitor’s ad in the same auction shows in a higher position than your own, when both ads were shown at the same time.
  • Top of Page Rate: This tells you how often your ad, or the ad of your competitor, depending on which you’d like to see, was shown at the top of the page in the search results.
  • Absolute Top of Page Rate: This is the percentage of your impressions that are shown as the very first ad, even above the organic search results.
  • Outranking Share: This tells you how often your ad ranked higher in the auction than your competitor’s ad, or if your ad showed when theirs did not.
  • Google Shopping: The Impression Share will help you determine who your biggest competitors are on Google Shopping campaigns.

How to Access Auction Insights in Google Ads

Google Ads Auction Insights

Here are the steps to navigate to the campaign, ad group, or keyword you wish to see: 

  1. Log in to your Google Ads account. 
  2. Next, select the specific campaign, ad group, or keyword by checking the box next to each item. 
  3. Click on Auction Insights. 

How to Interpret Your Auction Insights Data

There are several different questions that your auction insights data can help you answer. For example:

  • Are the number of my competitors bidding on a keyword affecting my cost-per-clicks?
  • How is my competitor affecting my keyword performance?
  • Are there new competitors bidding on our keywords that we didn’t know about?
  • Are our competitors bidding on brand terms that we aren’t?

Now, take a look at your own Auction Insights report and see what kind of information you can find.

How Google Ads Auction Works

Every time an ad is eligible to appear in a Google Search, it goes through the ad auction. This auction is what determines if the ad shows up and which ad position it will get on the page. When someone searches, Google Ads finds all ads whose keywords match that search. Of those ads, those with a high enough Ad Rank will be displayed. Your Ad Rank is a combination of your bid, ad quality, the context of the person’s search, and other criteria. Don’t worry too much about your ad spend: even if your competition bids higher than you, you can still win a higher position at a lower price if your keywords and ads are highly relevant to the search.

Questions About How to Use Auction Insights Data to Find an Edge on the Competition 

You might encounter some questions as you utilize your auction insights data to improve your campaigns. Let’s answer some commonly asked questions:

Why are my direct competitors not sames as the ones I see listed in my Auction Insights report?

There are a few different reasons why this might be happening. The most likely answer is that the keywords you are bidding on are too broad or even irrelevant. Try performing a search query analysis against these keywords to see what users are searching for. If those initial searches are not relevant to your business, then you will want to bid on new keywords that are more relevant. If you need help performing keyword research, contact SEO Design Chicago today.

I can’t increase my advertising budget. How can I beat my competitors? 

If you can’t increase your ad budget, there are other ways. First, perform Google searches or use a keyword tool like SEMrush to compare your ad copy to that of your competitors. Then, make sure your ad copy is as well-optimized as theirs. Here are some things to look for in your research:

  • What promotions and value propositions are your competitors offering that you aren’t?
  • Which ad extensions are they using?
  • What kind of content are they using on their landing pages?
  • How is their sign-up, lead generation, and sales funnel process?

Can I see my competitors’ quality score in Auction Insights?

No, Auction Insights doesn’t show the quality score of your competitors.

Gain an Edge Over Your Competitors on Google with SEO Design Chicago

The Auction Insights helps you better determine how to SEO Design Chicago can help you create a Google Ads campaign to help beat your competitors. Or, we can help you optimize your existing campaign. Contact us today!


  • What is the Auction Insights report?
  • What is top of page rate?
  • How do I see my Auction Insights report?
  • What data does the auction insights report show me?
  • What does outranking share mean?

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