When it comes to learning how your AdWords campaigns are doing against others, Google has actually provided us with a rather large collection of tools. The most common competitive metric used by AdWords administrators is the Average Position. If your average position is in the 1.1 to 1.4 range, you can feel confident that your ads are placing at, or near, the top of search results for your targeted keywords. If you are in the 4 or 5 range, your ad might not be seen very often.

However, Google has provided with metrics beyond just the average position, and with a few clicks, you can gather even more data to help you improve your ad performance.

Competitive Metrics

AdWords Competitive MEtrics

To view the competitive metrics in AdWords click on the Modify Columns icon in the Campaigns or Ad Groups screen and click on the Competitive metrics menu. From here you can select any of the metrics you want to compare against other advertisers. Let’s look at the metrics that pertain to the search network first.

Modify Columns

Seach Metrics

Search Impression Share

This metric is the most popular with clients. It gives you an estimate of how often your ads are shown when the potential for your ad to show is triggered. For example, if someone types in a keyword from your keyword list. The single largest item to affect your search impression share is your daily budget. Your ads simply stop showing early enough in the day that you don’t get the coverage that you would like.

Search Lost Lost Impression Share (Budget)

The Lost IS Budget metric shows you approximately what percentage of times your ad did not show due to a low budget. This can be useful when the campaign or ad group is performing well but you are losing clicks and impressions due to your budget. It is a useful metric to help you determine if you should increase your budget to gain more coverage.

Search Lost IS (Rank)

The other side of the lost impression share is the Lost IS Rank. This indicates the percentage of impressions that you are missing because your ad rank is too low when compared to other ads. This is nearly always a reflection on your ad quality score. To improve this you need to improve your landing page or break down your keywords into smaller ad groups with different targets to increase your quality score.

Search Impression Share Metrics

Display Metrics

The other group of Competitive Metrics available to us is the Display Network Metrics. The first three, Display Impression Share, Display Lost Impression Share (Budget) and Display Impression Share (Rank) behave just as their search counterparts do. However, Display Metrics include a fourth metric, Relative Click Thru Rate.

Relative Click Thru Rate

Your relative click thru rate is a comparison of the CTR of your ads vs the CTR of other ads on the same website. The formula for this has recently changed from a multiple of your competitor’s CTRs to a percentage of your competitor’s CTRs. In the case below the CTR of these ads are performing 97.7% as well as other ads on the same website.

Display Metrics

Relative CTR is important because it helps provide some context to your ad performance. When you only look at primary metrics such as CTR and see very low numbers, this may just be normal for that niche on those sites. Or you may be doing far better or worse than average.

Getting your ads working to their best ability requires more than just spending more money, it requires refining every aspect of the ad and using these competitive metrics can help you see where you are doing better, or worse, than your competition.