Competitive analysis should be a regular and essential task for everyone involved in managing the PPC ad campaigns. Keeping up with what messaging the competitors are using, what keywords they’re bidding on, and where they’re overlapping with you are essential for keeping your campaigns on the point.
The Auction Insights sections in Microsoft Advertising and google ads offer almost every detail of information about where your competitors are bidding against you.
Accessing auction insights
As long as your account has enough of the data, you can look at auction insights at the account level, by the campaign, by ad group, or by using keywords (or a set of keywords). These segmentations can allow you to see what topics specific competitors care about, based on which ones show up on each campaign’s radar.
To get to Auction Insights from your Google Ads account, you can click on “Campaigns” in the left sidebar and select “Auction Insights” from the menu that appears. It will show account-wide insights.
To get Auction Insights in Microsoft Advertising, look for the “Auction Insights” tab on the top of the screen of your system, next to “Campaigns.” You can also access information about Auction Insights for individual campaigns/ad groups/keywords similarly to Google Ads, by selecting the ones you want to include from the table and then choosing Auction Insights. Microsoft Advertising also consists of a graph that allows you to check how your competitor metrics have changed over the period in a bar graph format. Interestingly, this chart option is one feature Google Ads does not have.
Applying for auction insights
Now the important question arises that how can you make this report practical to your account management process? The following are a few tips for looking at and applying the facts to the account:
Identify new competitors
Auction Insights are perfect for identifying the new competitors who are starting to scale up their advertising efforts. If you see any new names you have not come across, you can bring those up with your client or marketing team to analyze what your competitors are doing online.
Often the people who compete with your brand most on search are not necessarily the people who are your top competitors.
You can also determine if brands that have existed but previously not had done much with the paid search are starting to put more budget into search. If you observe your competitor suddenly having a high overlap rate compared to the past, you should know that they have most likely scaled up their budget in a PPC campaign.
You can also identify this if your competitors are expanding themselves by offering different products or services or even the regions where they grow their business. For example, if you have separate campaigns for other countries, you may have seen a client overlapping in the US but not Canada.
By monitoring your competitors’ Auction Insights, you can see if they are expanding their advertising efforts into Canada and flagging potential international expansion efforts.
Compare Google Ads and Microsoft Advertising
The competitor list available in Google Auction Insights is often different from what shows up in Microsoft Advertising. Usually, fewer competitors are active on the Microsoft end, and the ones who are spending the most on Google might not even be competing in Microsoft. Sometimes, you will find completely different competitors showing up in Microsoft than in Google.
Be sure to include Microsoft and Google in your Auction Insights analysis to potentially identify even more competitors and get a more clear picture of their cross-channel tactics and strategies.
Track historical changes
You can track all changes in bidding activity over time by pulling reports by month and looking to see which brands have increased and which have decreased. You’ll need to remove words manually for various date ranges to get this data for Google Ads. But Microsoft Advertising makes this analysis more comfortable by showing the statistics in graphs directly within the interface.
By looking at Auction Insights of a month, you can identify seasonal trends. Do other businesses increase or decrease their activity in search at the same time as you do? You may also see responses to current scenarios(such as how they have adjusted their PPC efforts when the global pandemic hits the world).
Keep a watch on who is bidding on your brand.
Brand bidding is a frequently debated topic in the PPC industry, with many valid and logical arguments for or against it. But one benefit from the brand bidding can be the auction insights report, particularly in spaces where the companies frequently bid for each other’s name.
By analyzing the auction insights report concerning your brand campaign, you can see a snapshot of the other companies bidding most aggressively on your brand name. You may also see which ones are likely to allocate the most budget and the highest bids for competitor bidding based on their higher impression share in the report.
Start monitoring your auction insights.
Suppose you have already made monitoring Auction Insights a regular task in your PPC management process and make a note to review the data. You will have the opportunity to identify core competitors and track their bidding activities month by month. Dive into these reports within your accounts and see what you find from these Auction insights reports.