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Using Google Ads Auction Insights to Analyze Impression Share

Dec 22, 2015

A few months ago, one of my clients experienced a drastic month-over-month decline in their branded impression share in Google Ads. With such a vast decline in their impression share, it was my responsibility to dig deeper into their account to figure out why this was happening. There was only one report I needed to analyze this drop in impression share and that’s none other than the Auction Insights report.

For those of you who are not familiar with this report, the Auction Insights report is a competitive analysis tool in Google Ads. This report lets you compare your performance metrics against other advertisers who are bidding on the same keywords.

I will walk you through a step-by-step process of analyzing the Auction Insights report by device, and how doing so led me to methods of increasing my client’s impression share.

The first step of digging deeper into the report was to evaluate trends in my overall impression share, year-to-date. I pulled the data from the Auction Insights report in Google Ads and created a pivot chart in Excel to make any differences visually apparent.

I noticed a few things at first glance, from the graph shown below:

  1. My client had a larger decrease in their impression share in Q2 than in Q1.
  2. There were more competitors in the auction bidding on my client’s brand terms in Q2.

Although this quick glance gave me some insights, these observations alone were not enough to diagnose the reason behind my client’s tremendous loss in impression share.

My second step was to figure out where these losses in impression share were coming from in a more granular way. In order to do so, I analyzed the impression share by device. First, I specifically evaluated the impression share from desktops. As you can see from the chart below, my client’s impression share remained steady from January to May and then began declining slightly in June due to one of their competitor’s increased impression share.

There seemed to be no evident reasoning yet for the loss in impression share when looking at the data in this filtered view.

For my third step, I went on to analyze the impression share from tablet devices. Looking at the chart below, you can see that in Q2 the blue competitor’s impression share drastically increased. I concluded there could be two reasons for this: (1) the blue competitor increased their budget or; (2) they increased their bids.

This was great information, but I had one device left to analyze in search for the granular details behind the drop in my client’s impression share.

Lastly, I analyzed the data set of impression shares on mobile devices. Upon examining the chart below, I finally discovered the greatest contribution to the concerning decrease in my client’s impression share. The blue competitor had significantly increased their mobile bids on my competitor’s branded terms, which gave them a greater percentage of the overall impression share.

After fully becoming aware of the cause behind my client’s large loss in branded impression share, I took three important steps to fix the problem:

  1. I increased my mobile bids by 30%.
  2. I increased my keyword bids by an additional 10%.
  3. I updated my mobile ad copy to include the trademark symbol so that my ad stands out on the SERPS.

These three, simple steps significantly increased my client’s mobile impression share and ultimately, their overall impression share (shown in the charts below). My client is now well on their way to regaining 100% impression share for their branded terms.

Portrait of Leandra Parks

Leandra Parks