How to use auction insights to understand your market and get an edge on your competition

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Wondering how your PPC campaigns are performing against your direct competitors? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll introduce you to a Auction Insights, a Google ads tool that can help our multifamily marketing managers answer some hard questions such as:

  • Are my CPCs impacted by the number of competitors compared to their relative budget size?
  • Do we have new competitors or ILSs buying these terms?
  • Are competitors bidding on our brand terms?
  • How does competitor X affect my overall account performance?

First things first, here’s how you can access your Auction Insights data from within your Google ads account: 

Now that you’ve found your insights, let’s dive into what metrics Google provides us, and what each of them really mean so we can learn to decipher what the data is telling you. 

  • Impression Share: Your total number of impressions (times your ad was viewed) divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible for.
  • Overlap Rate: How often a competitor’s ad received an impression in the same auction where your ad also received an impression.
  • Position Above Rate: How often your competition’s ad appears in the same auction in a higher position than your ad. (each search-auction is unique)
  • Top of Page Rate: How often that URL was shown at the top of the page in search results. (Position 1-4)
  • Abs. Top of Page Rate: The total percent of impressions that are shown as the very first ad above the organic search results.
  • Outranking Share: How often your ad ranked higher in the auction than another advertiser’s ad. (This also counts when your ad shows and theirs did not).

The example property above is in a very popular part of Miami, and the keywords we were bidding on were high funnel research terms like “apartment for rent near me”. Obviously, these are very competitive and important terms that all nearby apartments are going to be bidding on, right? 

This type of searcher is most likely still “window” shopping — she/he is most likely just  interested in gaining general information on various properties such as pricing and location. Gaining users in this part of the search funnel is very important, while most users don’t convert on these terms, capturing them here provides brand recognition, immediate consideration, and brand recall as they continue their apartment search journey. 

Now that we have a vague idea of what market we are in, the terms we are buying, and the data we are looking at, let’s dig into what this report is telling us by analyzing the first competitor on the list. vs us:

  • Their SIS is 50.44% this means that out of every 10 searches made, they appear 5 times. While you can see we only show 10% of the time, or 1 out of every 10 auctions. 
  • Their Overlap rate is 41.48% meaning their ad received an impression in a bid with our ads 4 times out of every 10 auctions.
  • The Position Above Rate shows when we are in direct competition that their ads show up above ours almost 4 out of every 10 of these auctions. 
  • Top of Page Rate is very impressive at 91.08%, giving them the top 3 positions in 9 out of 10 auctions. 
  • With their Absolute Top of Page Rate being 35.93% and that translates to, you guessed it, 3.5 out of every 10 auctions they are in, they are the top bidder. 

And you can see our Outranking Share is saying that we appear higher than the group only = 1 out of every 10 auctions. With a Top of page rate of 86.30% and Absolute Top of page rate 39.54 we can say we are putting up a great fight.

Having a David sized budget against the lead generation Goliaths is always a challenge, but when managed properly, your PPC campaigns can compete with Enterprise efforts. 

So, how else can you stand out from your competition without increasing your ad spend budget? You get a bonus tip for getting this far, good job! 

Include competitive value propositions, imperatives, or special offers/promos in your ad copy and on your website to convince your buyers! 


Value Prop – Spacious Floorplans, Close to Downtown Nightlife, Find Your Hidden Gem, On Site Parking, Just Minutes from X.

Imperative – Apply Before They’re Gone, Hurry Only 1 Unit Left, Pre-Leasing Pricing Ends Soon.

Special Offers – $1500 Off Move In Special, Get 3 Months Free Rent, Receive a Gift Card with Your in-Person Tour


Let’s not forget that at the end of the day, when it comes to selling apartments, your Google bid or ranking is just a piece of the puzzle. The factors that really impact leasing decisions are: price point, location, convenience, and enjoyment. 

So when you have less impression share due to a lower budget than your competitors, it’s more important than ever to make sure the ones you get really count. Don’t be afraid to pull out your proverbial sling and let your leads know why your apartment building is the best, most attractive deal for them!



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