Nursing Your Paid Search Campaigns Back to Health

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Advertising
Nursing Your Paid Search Campaigns Back to Health

These days, the competition for paid search advertising is fierce. If you’re not continuously optimizing your campaigns, it’s difficult to stay at the top. Throwing more money on your bids won’t help – you’re going to need to take some serious care of your campaigns in order to nurse them back to health.

Are you seeing a slow decline in click-through rate (CTR) or a steady increase in cost-per-acquisition (CPA)? Your campaign problems might be the result of several different factors. In the post, you’ll learn what optimization strategies you can apply with AdWords to nurture your paid search campaigns back to health.

Get a Bandage

Review your keyword performance report and search query report from the last 60 days. Pausing keywords that have a high CPA, lots of clicks with zero conversions, or an extremely low CTR (< .10%) and no conversions should lower your cost-per-click to start.



Stop the Bleeding

In your search query report, you can see all the keywords you purchased. If there are irrelevant terms that are costing you cash, stop the bleeding and add these as negative keywords.

Run Some Tests

Always testing your ad copy. With only one ad variant, you’re missing out on the opportunity to test messaging. Two to four active ads per ad group will add some lift to your campaigns. Just don’t forget to pause the losing ad as soon as you have enough data to identify it.

Use Segmentation Therapy

I’ve commonly seen campaigns grouped together for network, device, and location targeting. However, organizing campaigns this way actually makes it very difficult to optimize your ads for the particular device, audience, and network. By creating separate campaigns for devices, networks (search and display), and locations, you can optimize each campaign separately.

Don’t Overmedicate

Having too many keywords in a single ad group could be detrimental to campaign health, as some of those terms could be highly irrelevant. Additionally, if you’re only targeting broad- or phrase-match keywords, your ads could appear for very irrelevant search queries. To fix this issue, try using exact-match keywords, especially if they are able to drive enough volume. For ad groups that have more than 25 keywords, break those out into more smaller ad groups that target a single concept.

Take Preventative Measures

Make sure to include ad extensions whenever relevant. Ad extensions give searchers more information up front, taking up more real estate on the search page. You can use Sitelink Extensions, Call Extensions, Product Extensions, and Location Extensions to increase CTR and conversions.

In the example below, the  ad with extensions occupies a larger space in the search engine results.


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Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

Posted by on Feb 25, 2015 in Advertising, Search
Top 5 Excel Features for PPC

There’s probably no tool more dear to a digital marketer’s heart than Microsoft Excel. It’s the must-have data analysis program that helps turn raw numbers into actionable insights. Here are five of my favorite Excel features that I’ve learned to love over the years.

5. Table Formatting

Difficulty: Beginner

Table Formatting lets you apply a beautiful table style to your raw PPC data quickly.

Excel Table Formatting

For example, you can use it to convert your plain AdWords campaign performance report to a presentation-ready table.

How to set it up:

  1. Remove any extra title and total rows
  2. In the Table ribbon, select a predefined table style
  3. Your table will now feature clear formatting and filterable headers

Learn more about table formatting for PPC.

4. Macros

Difficulty: Intermediate

Macros let you automate repetitive tasks in Excel by recording your manual actions so you can replay them in future worksheets later with a single keystroke.

record excel macro

For example, you can create a macro that removes title and total rows from your AdWords spreadsheets for easy analysis with pivot tables.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords campaign performance report in Excel
  2. From the Developer ribbon, click Record
    1. Assign a keyboard shortcut (e.g., Opt+Cmd+S)
    2. Store the macro in your Personal Macro Workbook
  3. Begin performing the manual tasks you’d like to repeat automatically in the future
    1. Delete the first row in your table (the AdWords report title)
    2. Delete the last 4 rows in your table (the AdWords total rows)
  4. Click Stop to conclude recording
  5. You can now strip the title and total rows quickly by running this macro

Learn more about Macros for PPC.

3. Text to Columns

Difficulty: Intermediate

Text to Columns lets you parse through the data from one column and distribute it into multiple columns.

excel text to columns

For example, you could use Text to Columns to remove UTM tracking parameters from your destination URLs. This would make it easy for you to analyze landing page performance in a Pivot Table.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open an AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Select your Destination URL column, and launch Text to Columns (Data > Text to Columns)
    1. Leave your data set to Delimited, and click Next
    2. In the Delimiters section, type “?” into the Other field, and click Next
    3. In the Data preview section, select the new column (with your tracking parameters)
    4. In the Column data format section, select “Do not import column (Skip)” and click Finish
  3. Your Destination URLs no longer contain any of your tracking parameters after the “?” and are ready to be analyzed with a Pivot Table.

Learn more about Text to Columns for PPC.

2. Pivot Tables

Difficulty: Intermediate

Pivot Tables make it easy to summarize, analyze, explore, and present large sets of data. It’s a great way to reformat your raw data into interactive tables.

excel pivot table

For example, you can use a Pivot Table with the Ad Performance Report from AdWords to quickly discover the best-performing headline of your ads.

How to set it up:

  1. Download and open your AdWords ad performance report in Excel
  2. Prepare the table by deleting first row (the report title) and the last 4 rows (the totals)
  3. Highlight the table, and insert the Pivot Table (Data > Pivot Table)
  4. Use the Pivot Table builder to dynamically structure the new table
    • Segment performance by campaign and headline by dragging “Campaign” and “Ad” into the “Row labels” field
    • View relevant performance metrics by dragging “Clicks,” “Impressions,” and “Converted Clicks” into the “Values” field

Learn more about Pivot Tables for PPC.

1. Formulas

Difficulty: Beginner

Finally, we get to the most beloved Excel feature of all: Formulas. Formulas allow you to perform calculations and take actions on data in your worksheet. There’s a myriad of formulas that you can combine to make incredibly powerful spreadsheets.

excel formulas

For example, you can use the simple LEN formula to count the number of characters in a cell. This formula is especially useful when writing ad headlines and descriptions.

How to set it up:

  1. In a cell, type =LEN(
  2. Then type the reference of the cell you’d like to count (e.g., your ad headline in A2)
  3. Now, you’ll have a real-time count of the length of your cell

Learn more easy Excel formulas for PPC.

Share Your Favorites

Did I miss your favorite Excel feature? Share yours in the comments below!

5 Ways to Optimize AdWords Campaigns for Mobile

Posted by on Jan 21, 2015 in Advertising
5 Ways to Optimize AdWords Campaigns for Mobile

Every year, groups of very smart advertisers are asked to give their prediction for the future of digital advertising. For the past 3-4 years, the answer was an overwhelming “shift to mobile.” So what will the predictions for 2015 be? You guessed it, mobile!  So it should be no secret to anyone in this industry that mobile advertising is becoming increasingly competitive. In this post, I will show you some ways to make sure you set yourself up for success on mobile platforms.

While the focus is primarily on AdWords, many of these tactics should be considered when optimizing other networks, and certainly your message should be consistent across your channels.

1. Mobile Landing Pages

Having a mobile-friendly landing page will do wonders for your conversion rates. It makes the user experience less frustrating and makes finding necessary information easy.

Here are two ways to make your landing page mobile friendly:

  1. Use a mobile responsive website – With a responsive website, your site layout and images will automatically adjust to the screen size of the device it’s displayed on. This typically requires an overhaul of your design, but it’s the optimal method and future-proofs your site.
  2. Create a mobile landing page – With a dedicated mobile landing page, you can create a high-converting page that renders well on mobile, without changing your existing website. You can create one in minutes with tools like Lander or Unbounce.

2. Call Extensions

Call extensions simply add a phone number to your ad to help encourage people to call your business.

Which type to use:

  • Just the phone number – only populates a phone number when clicked; customers are unable to click through to the site.
    • If your website is not mobile friendly, or hard to read.
    • If someone will actually answer the phone.
    • If you do most of your business via phone.
    • If there is value for a person to call; e.g. free consult, place an order or book an appointment.
  • Both phone number and clicks to website – if a person clicks on the ad headline, they will be allowed to go to your website; if they click anywhere else, a number will populate to call.
    • If your website is mobile responsive.
    • If your business is hard to understand and more information is needed.
    • If someone will answer the phone.
    • If your website brings value to your business; e.g. you offer a lot specials, typical questions can be answered on your site and information is easy to find.

3. Mobile Optimized Ads

Creating dedicated ads for mobile devices will make testing much easier, and it will help you segment data so you can make more important decisions.

  • Put your specials first –  People’s attention spans on mobile are very short– they are likely on the go or simply don’t have time to research heavily. So put the meat out first, and let them get the potatoes on their own.
  • Use shorter keywords in ad text – mobile searches tend to be shorter, and we know that Google bolds the ad text if it’s part of the search. With that knowledge, if you couple keyword insertion with some carefully placed keywords in the description, you’ll have a pretty bold ad.
  • Use callout extensions – Callouts are a great way to list specials in a short, easy to find place. Learn how callouts can strengthen your offer here.

4. Mobile Bid Modifiers

You can also use bid modifiers allow you to adjust your bids on mobile devices by a percentage of your desktop bid.

There are several rules of thought here. Mobile ads used to be considered a cheaper click than a desktop bid, but since enhanced campaigns, that no longer seems to be the case. However, I usually just keep bid aounts the same until I can get some data to make a decision. You can find that data by segmenting your campaigns by device:

segment by device

5. Be Aware of the Display Network

Let me be blunt– the display network for mobile devices is terrible. You will likely spend most of your time trying to figure out how to exclude all the Mobile Apps. That said, the cpc’s do seem to be pretty low on the GDN. If you want to try and make it work, I would suggest using very specific targeting and placements.

Bonus Tips

Test Everything

Once you’ve gotten a solid mobile strategy in place, TEST! Just because your website looks great on mobile doesn’t mean it’s conversion friendly, nor does it mean your customers will see it the same as you. Test your specials, ad text, landing pages, etc. Remember that any good test has a control and a variable. Once you choose a winner, iterate and test again.

Mobile Only Campaign Test

Since the launch of enhanced campaigns, mobile campaign customization is virtually impossible. However, I’ve heard of some people placing conversion codes on your mobile landing page; then once you’ve gotten enough conversions, changing your bidding strategy to Conversion Optimizer. Google’s algorithm should recognize that mobile is getting all your conversions and start to shift all your impressions to mobile. You will want to make two conversion codes to track the real conversions if you do this. I have not tried this strategy myself, so proceed at your own will. I did think it was a clever concept, though, so I figured it would be worthwhile to share it with you.


Mobile devices can be a valuable tool for driving customers to businesses. Carefully planning your strategy will help ensure you advertise on mobile more efficiently. Test your strategies, and throw your ego aside, letting the data lead your decisions.

Have other mobile optimization strategies? Please post your comments below!

Use AdWords Callout Extensions to Strengthen Your Offer

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Advertising
Use AdWords Callout Extensions to Strengthen Your Offer

Savvy advertisers know that highlighting perks like “free shipping” and “price matching” can strengthen their offer and improve the performance of their ads. But it can be difficult to feature these benefits when space in the ad description is limited. To make it easier to reveal important features in your ads, AdWords offers callout extensions: additional text that displays with your ads to highlight key information about what you have to offer. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use callout extension to strengthen your ads in Google AdWords.

google adwords callout extension example adstage

Set Yourself Apart from the Competition

Callouts let you craft a more compelling offer by including additional snippets of copy with your Search ads. It’s a simple and effective way to draw attention to unique features that may be missing from the competition. For example, if your ad includes a callout that specifies “free shipping,” customers can easily recognize your value over your competitors. By including distinctive features in callouts, customers will have a better understanding of what sets you apart before they decide to click through to your landing page.

Leverage Callouts on Mobile

Callouts offer the flexibility needed for cross-device marketing and can be tailored specifically for mobile devices. If there are features relevant to mobile users, you can create mobile-optimized callouts that will show on mobile devices exclusively. For example, a car insurance broker can create a callout for a “quick mobile quote” to encourage mobile users to click through. Alternatively, if there are features that are only applicable to desktop users, you can disable those specific callouts from displaying on mobile. With this level of versatility, you’ll want to create callouts for every device.

adowrds mobile callouts

Combine Ad Extensions for the Greatest Impact

Callouts also work well when combined with other ad extensions. For example, if you have a sitelink for “Christmas Gifts,” you can give last-minute shoppers peace of mind by creating a callout for “free overnight shipping.” Or, if you’ve set up a location extension to display your restaurant’s address, you can reach a broader audience by creating a callout for “free delivery.” As with other ad extensions, callouts make your ads more useful and improve your Ad Rank. This enhancement also improves your ad position, which can place your ad above the competition in search results.

Create and Optimize Callouts for the Highest ROI

Getting started with callouts is easy. You can create, manage and report on them from the Ad extensions tab. Like sitelinks, you can either create general callouts that span across your entire account, or create tailored and highly relevant callouts on the campaign or ad group level. For example, an advertiser can create callouts on the account level for site-wide features like “free shipping,” while category-specific features like “30% off sunglasses” can be created in the “sunglasses” ad group. Because reporting is available for individual callouts, it’s easy to find opportunities for optimization so you can ensure that every callout has the highest ROI.

google adwords callout reporting


Callouts are incredibly flexible, and creative marketers like you and I can consider them a blank canvas. For help getting started with callouts, read The New Must-Have AdWords Extension: Callouts. See how you can leverage them to improve your ads by creating your first callout today!

Have any tips or tricks to leveraging AdWords the callout extension? Share them in the comments below.

Counting Down to Sales in AdWords Ads Just Got Easier

Posted by on Dec 18, 2014 in Advertising
Counting Down to Sales in AdWords Ads Just Got Easier

Last week, I wrote about how to use scripts to make meaningful optimizations. One of the optimizations I listed was the sales countdown script. In September, Google announced ad customizers that included the sales countdown function, which was essentially a less intimidating way of using scripts for making ad optimizations.

Well, it seems like Google has just one upped me, making part of my last post somewhat obsolete…but either way, everyone wins! Google has integrated the ‘Countdown’ logic into its own ad creation with its countdown widget; which I have to say, is way easier to use than implementing a script or filling out a document with arguments and other criteria.

How To Set Up a Countdown

To get started, navigate to the AdWords interface and type “{=” into a description line in your text ad. This text will automatically trigger the new Countdown widget.

adwords countdown widget

Next, fill in the start and end dates for your countdown.

Advanced Options

You get the option to use the ad viewer’s time zone, or your account timezone to display the countdown, as well as the language you would like the countdown to display. The advanced options are nice because they give an extra layer of customization to agencies or those operating across multiple time zones and languages.

Countdown Examples

There are many different applications for ‘Countdowns,’ while most think of sales as the main use case. Here are a few other uses.

  • If you want to promote a timed event, such as webinars or live streams
  • If you want to encourage contest entries
  • Promoting a new store opening
  • Promoting a shipping date (ex: “Order within the next 3 hours to get same day shipping!”)
  • Call out a special occasion (ex: 3 days until Valentine’s day!)

Pro-tip: Create one or two ads for mobile only; you’ll want to be sure to put the countdown in the beginning of the ad so that the urgency is there on mobile devices.


Creating urgency in ad text is one of the best ways to engage customers, and Google’s countdown feature makes creating time-sensitive ads much easier. It will be interesting to see if other networks work this type of functionality into their own ad creation. I could see this feature doing very well in social advertising.  Finally, if you don’t have it in your account, be patient– according to Google, the feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks.  If you do have it, though, consider yourself lucky!

Have other great ideas for using the countdown in your ads? Post them in the comments!

How To Optimize Your Campaigns with AdWords Scripts

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Advertising, Search
How To Optimize Your Campaigns with AdWords Scripts

There are many techniques that marketers use to optimize their AdWords accounts. Some choose a very manual approach using AdWords Editor to make bulk changes, some use 3rd Party bidding tools that use an algorithm to help achieve a desired goal, and some use both. In this post, I will offer an alternative route and show you how AdWords scripts can help make some really important optimizations that will take your campaigns to the next level.

The Dilemma

3rd Party Tools

The biggest problem I found with 3rd party tools is that they only show data from the past day and rely heavily on historical data.  This information is useful, but when increasing and decreasing bids based on conversion data, I prefer to also account for same day data. Having both helps ensure I’m making the right decision at the right time. Another issue is cost, because big enterprise tools are expensive and typically require a contractual obligation.

Manual Optimizations

The problem with manual optimizations is that they are time consuming, daunting when  working with large campaigns, and typically surface level optimizations (changing bids, re-writing ad copy, changing match types, etc.). While these optimizations are 100% necessary, I believe this process can be more efficient.

Wind up robots


Enter AdWords Scripts

First, lets take a minute to understand what scripts are and what they can do. Scripts let you automate actions in your AdWords account by using JavaScript code. While scripts aren’t new by any means, they are often overlooked due to their complexity. Don’t panic, though–while they are crazy to look at if you are not a Software Engineer, theres plenty of code already created.

All you need to do is change a few things in the script to tailor them to your account. What’s more, the pre-made scripts do a good job of telling you what to replace and how to implement the script. There are two great resources for discovering new scripts. You can check out,, a terrific blog dedicated to sharing new scripts, and Google’s own developer documentation.

Why You Should Use Scripts

Scripts take a lot of the manual work out of simple optimizations and incorporate some pretty advanced optimizations to take your campaigns to the next level. Scripts can be created to run advanced reports, set up advanced bidding changes, customize ads and set-up alerts.

My Top 5 Favorite Scripts

1) Bid to Position

For many advertisers, there is a sweet spot when it comes to position where they can get an optimal cost/conversion & desired conversion volume. This script is designed to increase bids for keywords below the optimal position and decrease bids for keywords above the optimal position, so long as the CTR is above 1%.

Note: this script only works with accounts with 50,000 or less keywords. If you have an account with over 50,000 keywords, this script can still be implemented. However, only 50,000 bids will be increased and 50,000 will be decreased.

2) Flexible Budgets

This script is great because it will dynamically change your budget each day until you reach a desired goal. When I was running campaigns, one of my biggest pain points was managing spend– especially in instances where clients wanted to spend an increased amount over a certain period, say during the holidays.  Depending on the industry, this isn’t always easy. With a flexible budget script, however, it makes it much easier to pace and manage spend.

3) Sales Countdown

Probably my favorite of them all. The countdown script is designed to dynamically change your ad text to match the time left during a sale. As marketers, we always talk about creating urgency in ad text. This script is a great way to do that without creating a ton of ads and flipping them on and off, or setting up a bunch of rules to do it for you.

4) Link Checker

There is nothing worse to a campaign manager than a broken URL; it creates a very poor experience, and takes some credibility from your business. Broken URL’s do happen for reason’s out of our control (a client makes a change to their site, server outages, etc.). This script will help prevent these potential errors, saving you hours clicking each URL to make sure they direct to the right pages.

5) Bid By Weather

What a cool concept. For many advertises weather can have a big impact on business, this script is designed to adjust bids based on the weather. For example, if you are an electrician, you may want to increase bids during inclimate weather where power outages are more likely to occur.

Implementing AdWords Scripts

Initially, I was a little hesitant to create scripts that would affect my campaign performance. So I eased in by using the reporting scripts. These are simply used to push out reports to a ‘Drive’ document. So if you are new to scripts, I’d start here.

Note: Some scripts will require a separate spreadsheet to be created with inventory or other information in order for them to work. It will then call from that spreadsheet to run the script. For reporting, scripts often just need a place to spit the data out.

To implement a reporting script, do the following:

1. Scripts are located in the ‘Bulk operations’ section of AdWords

2. Click +Script to add a new script

3. When you create a new script, you’ll need to ‘Authorize’ Google to have access to your account. This permission allows them to pull data and make changes from the JavaScript code.

adwords script example authorization

4. Enter or paste your script in Google’s script builder . Then, you can preview it to ensure that you’ve created it properly. The logs will tell you if there are any errors and where they are located.

adwords script example log details

5. Once your script is checked and ready to go, you can schedule it to run once, hourly, daily, weekly or monthly.

adwords script schedule


There are a lot of great optimization tools, some of which are very pricey and some which are more advanced than others. I’m a firm believer in automating tedious processes and spending my time deep in the analytical parts of the optimization instead. Scripts are a great way to shift your focus from maintenance, to more rewarding tasks, like the deeper analysis and optimization of your accounts. So give AdWords scripts a try; they may be just what you need to make your optimizations more efficient and get the results you’ve been craving.

Have other tips about scripts? Share them in the comments below.

 Why AdStage Automation Beats Facebook Automation Every Time via

Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar]

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Advertising
Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar]

planning a knockout 2015 PPC strategyHave you begun planning your PPC strategy for 2015 yet?

Do you know what the future looks like for the digital ad space in the coming year?

In this webinar, experts will talk you through some of the most popular trends from this year, what predictions look like for 2015 and give you tips and tricks on why and how you should be analyzing the data for your PPC strategy.

Join the experts from AdStage and PPC Hero as they discuss the future of PPC and offer tips on how to formulate an all-around knockout PPC strategy for 2015.

You’ll get expert-level PPC tips like:

  • An inside look at what the future of PPC holds
  • How to analyze trends for an organized and lucrative strategy
  • What channels have grown and why they are important 

Webinar Recording


Webinar Slides


Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar Announcement]

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in Advertising
Planning A Knockout 2015 PPC Strategy [Webinar Announcement]

Have you begun planning your PPC strategy for 2015 yet? Do you know what the future looks like for the digital ad space in the coming year? In this webinar, experts will talk you through some of the most popular trends from this year, what predictions look like for 2015 and give you tips and tricks on why and how you should be analyzing the data for your PPC strategy.

Join the experts from AdStage and PPC Hero as they discuss the future of PPC and offer tips on how to formulate an all-around knockout PPC strategy for 2015.

When: 10am – 11am PST on Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

planning a knockout 2015 ppc strategy

You’ll get expert-level PPC tips like:

  • An inside look at what the future of PPC holds
  • How to analyze trends for an organized and lucrative strategy
  • What channels have grown and why they are important

Save Your Seat

Why Google’s New Custom Affinity Audiences Matters to You

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 in Advertising, Search
Why Google’s New Custom Affinity Audiences Matters to You

Last week, Google announced that Custom Affinity Audiences is available for everyone on the Google Display Network. Google’s Custom Affinity Audiences gives advertisers more flexibility in how they target across the Display Network.  It’s been a busy few weeks for advertisers with the release of new targeting toys; In addition to Google’s announcement, Facebook also recently announced their Audience Network expansion. In this post, I will share my insights on how Custom Affinity Audiences will impact you as an advertiser.

What is it?

Custom Affinity Audiences allows advertisers to reach the exact people they are looking for as they create the audience parameters. This feature is the culmination of two years of Google launches, including affinity and in-market audiences.

  • Affinity – Someone with a strong history of viewing a subject, i.e. a technophile
  • In-market – Someone who is actively browsing, researching or comparing the types of products you sell, i.e. a new technology

Now, Google is providing advertisers with this information in a way that allows them the ability to define their audience with a combination of interests and sites.

What Are the Benefits?

  1. No longer dependent on Google’s pre-defined audiences
  2. Couple numerous ‘personas’ together to target an audience specific to your business
  3. More control of how you want to find customers online

How to Set It Up in Google AdWords

1. Create a new Ad Group within a AdWords display campaign

2. Select “+ Targeting” to add new targeting

adwords custom affinity audiences

3. Name your Ad Group

4. Choose “Interests & Remarketing” for targeting and select “Affinity” as the category

adwords custom affinity audiences category

5. Below the list of affinities, select “+ Custom”

adwords custom affinity audiences create

Now, you can start designing your Affinity.

  • Be sure to hit enter between each target. For placements, make sure it’s in URL form; if not, it will default to an Interest.
  • This screenshot below shows what it might look like if we wanted to target people for our blog.

adwords custom affinity audiences example

My Take on Custom Affinity Audiences

It’s interesting that this feature launch happened so soon after Facebook’s Atlas announcement and the aforementioned Audience Network expansion. It seems Google is getting closer and closer to “persona” targeting.

As an advertiser, I love the ability to hone in my audience as tight and specific as possible, so I can say firsthand that this  play is very appealing for anyone looking to create Display Campaigns.  I’ve always been a fan of the Google Display Network (GDN) and have seen some very good results from advertising on it. Google Display Network to many is like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks; hopefully, this new way of targeting will help alleviate some apprehension to advertise on the GDN. The GDN notoriously has been used as a way for companies to brand, and according to ComScore, it reaches 94% of the web in the U.S. and 89% of global users, so hopefully we’ll see more responsiveness from consumers in terms of conversions.

Custom Affinity Audience targeting gives advertisers an extra layer of targeting and customization, and rightfully so since Google took a lot of customization away with enhanced campaigns. It will be interesting to see how Google uses this data to form other targeting options, i.e. lookalike audiences. Have thoughts on Custom Affinity Targeting? Please share in the comments.

Analyze Your PPC Competition with AdWords Auction Insights

Posted by on Sep 22, 2014 in Advertising
Analyze Your PPC Competition with AdWords Auction Insights


Have you ever searched Google to see which of your competitors also appear for the keywords you’re bidding on? You can get a much clearer picture of this data with the Auction insights report in Google AdWords. In this post, I’ll give you an overview of this report to help you understand your competitive landscape and optimize accordingly.

About the Auction Insights Report

The Auction insights report in Google AdWords lets you compare your auction performance with competitors who advertise across the same keywords. You’ll see see how often your ads outrank your competitors as well as how your share of voice compares with theirs.

adwords auction insights

While the report does show you some interesting high-level insights about your competitors, it won’t show you the details. You won’t see which keywords, bids or settings your competition is using. Neither will you see their account metrics, like CTR or Quality Score.

How To Generate The Report

To view your Auction insights report in AdWords:

  1. Drill down to the part of your account you want to analyze, or click on the appropriate tab (campaigns, ad groups or keywords) and select the appropriate rows.
  2. Click the details drop-down, and select “Auction insights.”
  3. View the report (and adjust the date range to see how the data changes over time).

adwords auction insights menu

Once you generate the report, you can also apply different segments (like time or device) to see how the landscape changes for these different scenarios.

adwords auction insights segments menuadwords auction insights segments

Auction Insights Metrics

Here’s an overview of the metrics the Auction insights report covers:

  • Display URL Domain – This is the URL your competitor is using in their ads. Use this to identify who your competition is.
  • Impression Share – This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed in auctions you were also competing in. Use this to identify your most visible competitor.
  • Average Position – This shows the average position of your competitor’s ads on the search results page for auctions you were also competing in. Use this to approximate how aggressively your competitor is bidding.
  • Overlap Rate – This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed alongside yours. Use this to understand how frequently you’re going head-to-head with your competitor.
  • Position Above Rate – This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed higher than yours. Use this to understand how your ad rank compares with your competitor.
  • Top of Page Rate – This shows how often your competitor’s ad displayed at the top of the search results page for auctions you were also competing in. Use this to determine your most aggressive competitor.

Please note that this data only applies to the section of your account which you’re analyzing and doesn’t reveal your competitor’s overall advertising strategy.

Now armed with this data about your competition, you can modify your strategy to react to competitive threats and opportunities!