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Adwords Auction Insights Isn’t Very Insightful

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We were originally optimistic about Google’s latest AdWords report called Auction insights –launched in beta on May 22ndAccording to Google, “with the Auction insights report, you can compare your performance with other advertisers who competed in the same auctions as you.” Google states that it will help advertisers make strategic decisions about a campaign because you can see where the campaign is succeeding and you can identify missed opportunities. We are all about improving our client’s campaign performance, so we couldn’t wait to test its effectiveness.

AdWords Auction Limitations:

Robyn, Paid Search Director here at Be Found Online, discovered the limitations of the report when she tried it out earlier this week. Robyn shared her feedback about the Auction insights report with us:

  • The report is only capable of pulling auction insights for one keyword at a time. This is not very helpful unless we notice significant changes in a singular keyword’s performance over a period of time – even then I’m not sure how helpful it will be in regards to actionable next steps.
  • While the report gives you the names of the competitors and their average position for the keyword phrase, it doesn’t  actually give their  Max and Average CPC, how long they’ve been in the auction, how often they appear next to our ads in the auction, or for that matter any real actionable information that is useful in the management and analysis of a paid search account.
  • It’s based on broad auction system, meaning it’s quite possible that the other advertisers showing up in the report are not actually bidding on the same keyword, match type, or even targeting the same geography
  • The statistics are based on instances when our ads were “estimated” to be eligible to appear. That means the report is using Google broad match system so it’s possible, if not probable, that when running an Auction Insight report  on a term like “restaurant” the other advertisers showing up could be bidding on “restaurant supplies,” “restaurant jobs,” or other unrelated keywords


Adwords Auction Benefits:Adwords Auction Insights

Josh Barwa, BFO’s SEM Account Director, calls out a few positive points about Auction Insights:

  • While the reports do not currently provide the competitors’ CPC bid, the reports are useful for some competitive insights.  Although Google will leave the number punching to you, utilizing multiple keyword reports over an extended period of time will help you to map out competitive strategy.  For example, you can get an idea of emphasis placed on a set of keywords by reviewing impressions share and average rank over time for your core competitors
  • While these reports make it clear that Google is not yet ready to give away the Paid Search farm to their audience, it is a sign that that Google is listening to repetitive requests for more insights in Adwords.  That is a positive.

First Impressions – We Aren’t Impressed

We had hoped for more. Until Google gives us real actionable insights that actually allow us to make strategic decisions about a campaign, we will continue using current reports, analysis and expertise to guide our clients’ to success.