How to Analyze Your AdWords Competition


1. Analyze Competition in Opportunities Tab from AdWords
The Analyze competition feature under the Opportunities tab in the AdWords interface gives you a comparative relation between your AdWords campaign and other advertisers.

Click on the Opportunities tab and you’ll be able to find Analyze competition on the left side of your screen.
Choose the Metric According to Your Goals

By clicking the impressions tab, you can choose the metric you want to use, with such options as:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Average Position.
  • Filter Competition by Location

By clicking the Filter competition tab you can chose to compare your performance to advertisers only in certain locations.

Compare your Campaigns to Competitor Performance in the Same Range

Hover your cursor over the panel under Competitive Range to see the following detailed options:

  • Bottom of Range
  • Medium
  • Average
  • Top of Range

Anonymous Data That Only Shows Performance Within Google Search Network

All data from your competitors is aggregated and averaged. You might not know who your competitor is, but you will be able to see your performance against the competition. However, it does not consider the Google Display Network, but only shows performance within Google Search network.

Let The Campaign Run For At Least Two Weeks To Gain Insights

In order to ensure you´ve accrued enough performance history and measure the impact from those changes, Google recommends you let the campaign run for at least two weeks before making any other change.

2) Find Out Who You Are Competing With by Using Auction Insights

You can now spy and analyze your competitors with the Google AdWords Auction Insights report, which shows the display URL domain for all advertisers – and not just top competitors- who are competing with you for a specific keyword in an auction.

Before this tool was implemented you were only able to find out who your competitors were by performing a search in the Ad Preview Tool, which was inconsistent at best.


Google AdWords Auction Insights provides five different statistics

A) Impression Share Can Reveal Keywords That Are Important To Your Competitors

I suggest a rearrangement of sentences: Impression share shows the percentage of time your ads and your competitors’ appear on Google searches. As you can see in the graph above, our ads for the keyword taxi los angeles show up for an estimated 86.26% of the available searches, while the ad from the competitor below shows up at 55.34% of the searches. Some competitors may always show in first position but may not show all the time.

If you see a keyword from a competitor with high Impression Share and Top of Page Rate, you should ask yourself:

  • Why is this competitor focused on keeping this specific keyword in the top?
  • Does this mean the keyword is converting well?

You can also apply this analysis the other way around and take advantage of your competitors’(s) weak spots.

A thing you may want to do is analyze your competitors’ landing pages for good performing keywords, identify which areas could be helping for high conversion rates and which ideas you could be inspired from to improve your own landing pages.

B) Average position

The average position metric is based on auction position rather than page position. An ad with a larger average position may perform better than one with a smaller average position:
On one hand, if you bid on a keyword that many other advertisers are bidding on, your ad may appear in a low position due to high competition from other advertisers
On the other hand, if you bid on a keyword that nobody is bidding on, you may end up in first position but with very few clicks.

C) Overlap Rate

The Overlap rate shows the percentage of your search queries for a keyword as well as your competitors’ within the same auction.

D) Position Above Rate

Position above rate shows the percentage of queries from your competitors´ ads showing above yours within the search results.

E) Top of page rate

Top of Page rate shows the rate at which both your competitors’ ads and yours are being displayed at the top of the page rather than on the right hand side.

Are your Competitors’ Ads Showing on Branded Keywords and Yours Aren´t?

The easiest way to stop this is to call those competitors showing on all your branded terms and make an agreement with them not to bid on each other’s brand terms.

If you´re the only one in the first position, meaning no one else is close to you in any of the Auction Insights stats, you should consider lowering your bids.

3) Your Competitors’ Secrets Revealed with SpyFu

SpyFu is a Search analytics company who shows the keywords that website advertisers buy on Google AdWords as well as those showing on organic searches.

1) SpyFu Classic Let’s You Gain Insights

Just by typing in your domain or your competitors’ you´ll discover the most lucrative keywords you are both missing.

Discover competitors’ daily budget, bid prices, clicks/day, ad copy and other interesting PPC facts & figures.

Just by typing your competitor´s domain, you´ll be able to see this:
2) SpyFu Kombat Compares Several Advertisers At A Time
SpyFu Kombat lets you add 3-domains and prevents you from overlooking any valuable keywords. It also brings you a clear idea on what to add next depending on the keywords your competitors are advertising on while you are not.

3) Eliminate Second Guesses with Tested Ad Copy from Ad History
Ad History shows tested ad/keyword combinations from advertisers revealing their biggest hits and misses which can help you achieve a higher ROI right off the bat.
Do your Competitors Have Ads Suiting Every Search or Do They Always Show the Same Ad?

If they always show the same ad, there are only two possibilities:

  • The competition uses a single ad group with different keywords or a generic keyword broad match
  • The competition uses the same ad for all the ad groups and (are) it is likely they do not (to) perform any kind of A/B Testing with them

This type of information is very useful as it gives you opportunities there is something missing. (If) you can get many benefits by tailoring your ads to different types of searches and performing A/B testing to find the best “Calls to Action”.

Last Minute Tips for Analyzing your AdWords Competition

Differentiate harmless from dangerous competitors. Don´t waste money, time and effort with what´s not harming you, but focus on fighting against what is damaging your business.

With AdWords you could spend all year collecting data and including it in reports full of bright colors without making a single change to improve the campaign. Data is interesting, but business should really be what catches your interest

It is important to identify your goals and weaknesses before proceeding onto a competition analysis

You might be finding out many things from the competition but remember to always apply a little common sense from your experience to achieve great results.

Fabiola Sanchez

SEM Account Supervisor