Competitor Analysis: Three Awesome AdWords Competitive Reports

Yesterday’s post touched on how your competitor’s performance affects your own when participating in AdWords auctions. Beyond maintaining healthy Quality Scores by adhering to best practices, it’s also helpful to understand the various resources on offer within AdWords for assessing competitor performance against your own. AdWords provides a number of helpful tools for this:

 

Impression Share Reports:

This suite of metrics allows you to view the percentage of auctions in which your ad appeared against the number of auctions in which you were eligible to appear. The suite contains eight metrics:

  • Search Impr. share – impressions you’ve received on the Search Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive
  • Search Exact match IS – impressions you’ve received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive on the Search Network for search terms that matched your keywords exactly
  • Search Lost IS (rank) – estimated percentage of impressions on the Search Network that your ads didn’t receive due to poor Ad Rank.
  • Search Lost IS (budget) – how often your ad didn’t show on the Search Network due to low budget.
  • Display Impr. share – share is the impressions you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive.
  • Display Lost IS (rank) – estimated percentage of impressions on the Display Network that your ads didn’t receive due to poor Ad Rank.
  • Display Lost IS (budget) – how often your ad didn’t show on the Display Network due to low budget.
  • Relative CTR – how your ads perform on Display Network sites compared to other ads on the same sites.

Impression Share metrics

Auction Insights Report

This report gives insight into the specific competitors in your ad auctions. This is a great tool for identifying top competitors to research (or at least keep an eye on), as well as to identify competitive trends. The Auction Insights Report provides a number of helpful stats for assessing performance:

  • Impression Share – as described above, only at the level of specific competitors
  • Average Position – the average position in which your ads appeared, compared to your competitors
  • Overlap Rate – How often a competitor’s ad received an impression when your ad also received an impression.
  • Position Above Rate – how often how often your competitor’s ad was shown in a higher position on the page than yours was.
  • Top of Page Rate – how often your competitor’s ad appeared at the top of the page above the search results.

Auction Insights Report

Keyword Planner

When choosing new keywords for your account, use this tool (located in the “Tools” section of the AdWords UI) to get performance averages from a number of vantage points.

AdWords Keyword Planner

Identify Niche Keywords

The Keyword Planner tool gives you the ability to really dig in to your keyword themes and identify relevant but low competition terms. The performance estimates are shown at the keyword level across device, location, and match type so there’s a great deal of granularity available.

 

Find niche opportunities by:

  • Exploring high value terms by device — you may find prohibitively expensive terms on desktop to be affordable on mobile
  • Exploring high value terms by location — some terms might be cheaper in certain areas
  • Doing longtail keyword research — the longer your terms, the less general (and likely less competitive) they’ll be.

 

Conclusion

  • AdWords provides a number of great tools for analyzing your competitive standing
  • Impression Share reports help you strategically shore up lost exposure
  • Auction Insights report provides insight into specific competitors
  • Keyword Planner gives performance estimates for keywords by device type, match type, and location
  • Use keyword planner to identify niche keyword opportunities