How to Spy on your Adwords Competitors

How to Spy on your Adwords Competitors
Office table with digital tablet showing search engine marketing concept


Every business would love to know how their competitors are performing and now you can! (Sort of.)

Google Adwords has a handy little tool to show how your keywords are comparing with your top nemesis’ accounts. The chances are there are a select amount of keywords on any Adwords account that drive the majority of traffic and conversions, these keywords will likely have some tasty data that means you can get some lovely insights into how your competition compare in terms of how often their ads show and when there are on the page when compared with you.


Accessing Auction Insights and Checking the Data.


Provided you have keywords with enough traffic, you can select specific keyword or a group of keywords and take a look into the competitive data:

Log into Adwords > Select “Keywords” > Tick the Keywords you want to uncover the data for > Select “Details” > “Auction Insights” > Selected… and hey presto!

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This tool will give you a precious look into how your competitors are performing but remember that it may not have data for all campaigns or Ad Groups and in truth it only really matters on the top performing keywords… Low performing keywords will likely have little to no data and if there is data it will only be for a select number of your competitors, certainly not everyone who is bidding on the same keywords.


How Well are you Doing?


As this example shows, the account in question has an impression share of 97.40%, and average position of 1.6 and a top of page rate of 89.13%.


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There are a lot of factors that could have a bit of a knock-on effect on this performance, obviously budgets, quality scores, ad-scheduling etc will affect overall performance: For example, a limited budget could mean that your ads are exhausted quickly and though you have a good average position, you may only have 25% of the impression share. Now you can assess whether a bigger budget or opening the times the ads will show would be a useful way to go.

The “overlap rate” gives you an insight into how often Amazon overlaps with you on the same page… In this case 19.72%. The “position above” rate is the number of times your competitors ad appears higher up the page than your own… Again, Amazon would be 3.40%. Finally the “top of page rate” is not the top position but one of the top positions above the organic listings… Often there are three ads above the organic results.

Remember however, that wanting to attain the top performance across the Insights board may not be a good idea. Resist the urge to simply raise bids as that likely won’t work and you may be taking budget from areas that ARE already working to do so. As always, you can improve quality scores and work on the account in a number of ways to bolster performance so budget should not be the go-to solution.

However, if you do see your account dominating the competition then take heart from that; you or your Adwords manager is doing a good job so it’s time to make sure other keywords are where you’d like them to be!