In the fast-paced world of digital marketing, staying ahead of the competition is crucial. Businesses are constantly seeking ways to outmaneuver their rivals and capture the attention of their target audience. One intriguing strategy that has emerged is bidding on competitors’ terms.
In this comprehensive blog, we’ll explore the potential benefits, drawbacks, and optimal scenarios for implementing this tactic. Prepare to delve into the depths of competitor bidding and uncover the hidden opportunities it holds for ambitious marketers – like you.
But before we embark on this journey, let’s first define what competitor bidding truly entails. Understanding its essence and significance is essential to mastering this powerful marketing approach.
What Is Competitor Bidding?
Simply put, competitor bidding (aka conquesting) is the concept of bidding on your competitors’ branded search terms. While this may seem self-explanatory, seasoned digital marketers know there are many nuances and components to take into consideration before implementing this aggressive PPC strategy.
The 411 On Competitor Campaigns
Competitor campaigns focus on targeting a rival company’s branded or trademarked terms with the aim of diverting web traffic and potential customers to the advertiser’s site. This approach can effectively connect with highly qualified users who are already in the consideration stage of their buying journey, thus allowing an advertiser to benefit from their lower-funnel search intent.
However, it’s important to note that this strategy is not without its challenges. Every business and industry has its unique characteristics, making it essential to understand the pros, cons, and best practices of competitor bidding to maximize online lead generation.
To identify your competitors in the vast realm of the internet, a comprehensive competitor analysis remains an invaluable approach. It allows you to gain insights into their strategies, positioning, and customer base, enabling you to better navigate the competitive landscape. By staying informed and implementing competitor bidding best practices, you can position your business for success in capturing the attention and interest of your target audience.
Playing The Long Game: Knowing Your Competitors
Most of the businesses we partner with have a strong idea of who their top competitors are – and to that, we say, “Are you sure?”
Here’s why: not all competitors bring the same energy when it comes to digital marketing, specifically with paid ads. The bright side to all of this is that by teaming up with a paid search company that thoroughly understands competitor research and excels in campaign execution, you’re stepping onto a playing field where you consistently hit grand slams, leaving competitors in the dust every time.
Competitor Finding Tools
Maybe you’re not ready to outsource an advertising agency. You may be an in-house marketing manager tasked with improving online traffic and sales – and that’s a tall order! Luckily, a variety of tools exist to help people like us identify who else is showing for our target search queries.
Google Ads Auction Insights
Google Ads’ Auction Insights is an invaluable tool specifically available for Google Ads accounts, campaigns, and ad groups that have impressions exceeding 10%. It becomes an absolute necessity for competitor search campaigns. Not only does it provide competitive metrics, such as top-of-page rate and overlap rates for your ads, but it also offers real-time insights into Google’s identification of your competitors.
By harnessing this knowledge bestowed upon us by the PPC Gods themselves, campaign managers gain a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape. They can utilize this information to make informed decisions and optimize their strategies in real-time.
With Google Ads’ Auction Insights, you have the power to monitor and analyze the performance of your ads in relation to your competitors. This data-driven approach enables you to stay ahead of the game, adjust your bidding strategies, and seize new opportunities for success.
For any marketer engaging in competitor campaigns, Google Ads’ Auction Insights is an indispensable tool that empowers you to navigate the dynamic world of paid search advertising with precision and confidence.
Google Ads Preview & Diagnosis
To access this competitor research tool within Google Ads, navigate to the Tools and Settings tab, then click on Planning. Within this section, you can simulate real-time search engine results pages (SERPs) for different locations, devices, and target audiences. This feature allows you to identify the competitors appearing for your targeted keywords or other relevant keywords you are focusing on. Moreover, the platform provides valuable insights into the time of day and locations that your competitors are targeting. The accuracy of this data is truly impressive.
If you’re looking to further enhance your competitor research capabilities, don’t hesitate to explore third-party providers that offer comprehensive solutions compatible with campaigns of all sizes and objectives. Expanding your arsenal of competitor research tools can provide you with additional insights and a more holistic understanding of the competitive landscape.
By leveraging the power of Google Ads’ built-in tools and exploring external options, you can gather the necessary intelligence to stay ahead of your competitors and make data-driven decisions that drive success for your campaigns.
Third Party Competitor Research Tools
A plethora of third-party programs, including SEMRush, SpyFu, and Moz, offer valuable insights into your competitors’ keywords. One highly recommended approach, favored by ForeFront, is utilizing SpyFu’s “Ads History” tab to uncover competitors’ paid keywords.
These tools also provide access to essential information like search volume for each competitor term. This knowledge empowers campaign managers to strategically bid on terms based on the traffic generated by competitors’ branded terms. Understanding this data allows for effective decision-making and leveraging competitive advantages.
By combining the power of these tools, we have witnessed significant success in our competitor bidding campaigns. The comprehensive overview they offer helps unravel competitors’ strategies while shedding light on which brands are targeting the same non-branded keywords as your own. This information is crucial in determining if competitors have a more enticing offer on the table.
Pro tip: Remember to be mindful of negative space and factor in which of your competitors aren’t bidding on their branded terms, or bidding at all.
Utilizing the collective insights from these tools, helps you gain a deeper understanding of the competitive landscape and can fine-tune your bidding strategies accordingly. Stay one step ahead by leveraging these resources to make informed decisions and gain a competitive edge in your campaigns!
The Benefits Of Running Paid Search Conquesting Ads
Running paid search conquesting ads offers numerous benefits that significantly impact your digital marketing strategy. By bidding on your competitor’s branded terms, you can redirect web traffic and attract customers who are already in the consideration stage of the customer journey, particularly in industries like automotive and retail where identical products are available.
Conquesting ads also enhance brand awareness as users associate your business with similar products and services when they see your ad alongside their search for a competitor. Additionally, competitor research may reveal untapped keyword sectors, providing a unique opportunity for your brand to fill the gap and establish a strong market presence.
Incorporating paid search conquesting ads empowers your brand to seize new opportunities, expand customer acquisition, and enhance overall brand recognition. Strategically deploying conquesting ads allows you to attract qualified users, increase visibility, and solidify your market position.
Drawbacks Of Running Paid Search Conquesting Ads
One major concern for brands running conquesting ads is the potential for retaliation from competitors. When competitors notice your ads on their branded or trademarked terms, they may respond by running ads on your branded terms, initiating a bidding war and driving up the cost of advertising. If you weren’t already running ads on your own branded terms, this could force you to do so, but at a higher cost.
Google places great importance on the relevance of ads to search queries, which can be influenced by the terms used in the ad copy. However, including competitors’ branded or trademarked terms in ad copy is against Google’s policy. As a result, your ad may be deemed less relevant to the targeted keywords, which can lower its ad rank. This makes it more challenging for your ads to appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for competitors’ terms, especially if other advertisers are using the same strategy.
Bidding on competitors’ branded and trademarked terms carries similar risks as bidding on your own branded terms. Depending on your industry, you may end up inefficiently spending on navigational traffic or targeting unqualified users. One way to mitigate this is by focusing on less-broad branded terms, although this approach carries the risk of missing out on qualified traffic and limiting brand awareness.
When implementing conquesting ads, it’s important to carefully consider these risks and find the right balance between targeting competitors’ terms and maintaining a cost-effective and relevant advertising strategy.
When To Bid On A Competitor’s Terms (If At All)
Choosing which competitor’s terms to bid on can be challenging, but conducting thorough keyword research can help narrow down your options:
- Assess the monthly search volume (MSV) of your competitors’ keywords to ensure they have sufficient traffic worth bidding on.
- Leverage Google’s Keyword Planner to gauge the terms’ cost per click (CPC).
- Consider offline factors too, such as your top sales competitors, physical location, and the resources you’re willing to allocate for this effort.
- Evaluate how relevant your offering is to users searching for your competitors’ terms and the likelihood of them converting.
You should also think about the similarity of your product or service to your competitors. For instance, a roofing company or bakery likely fulfills similar needs as their competitors, while a software company or gym might offer a different solution that requires more persuasion. Unique businesses, like certain entertainment venues or restaurants, may not completely fill the niche in users’ minds compared to their competitors.
Assess the pros and cons discussed earlier and consider your existing relationship with the competitors you’re contemplating bidding on. Reflect on your earlier keyword research and evaluate the prevalence of conquesting campaigns in your industry, as well as the effectiveness of this strategy in persuading your target audience.
What To Do If A Competitor Bids On Your Brand Terms
Picture this: You’ve uncovered that a competitor is actively bidding on your branded terms.
What should you do next?
Securing ownership of your brand’s name on the search engine results page (SERP) is paramount. Our SEO team strongly advocates that any business should have no trouble appearing for their own business or branded name, as long as their website is optimized for organic visibility. This approach empowers you to reinforce your value proposition and counter your competitors’ messaging effectively. However, it’s crucial to consider the overall SERP landscape before making a decision.
By focusing on organic optimization, you can ensure a strong presence for your brand, both in paid campaigns and organic search results. This synergy between paid and organic strategies establishes a solid foundation for long-term success and maximizes your brand’s visibility and impact.
Remember, your goal is not just to compete in the bidding arena but to establish a commanding presence organically. By adopting a holistic approach and optimizing your website for organic search visibility, you can effectively own your brand’s name on the SERP and maintain a strong position in the digital landscape.
Considering these factors empowers you to make informed decisions about bidding on competitors’ terms and maximize the impact of your PPC campaigns.
Strategies For Successful Competitor Campaigns
So, you’ve made the decision to embark on a competitor campaign and step into the spotlight. Just like Beyoncé once said, “check my technique.” And that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with. As you navigate this competitive landscape, we’ll guide you through some crucial tactics to keep in mind along the way.
- Stay informed about Google’s advertising policies, including those related to trademark usage, brand impersonation, and brand affiliation implications.
- Familiarize yourself with the regulations surrounding bidding on competitors’ keywords set by professional bodies in your industry. For example, the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct prohibits lawyers from bidding on rival lawyers’ branded phrases.
- Determine the tone of your ad copy. Do you want to passively present yourself as an alternative or actively engage with users and their expectations?
- Ensure that your ad copy is compelling and your offer stands out as the winning choice on the SERP. Highlight the unique value propositions that differentiate your brand from the competition. Remember, the users you’re reaching are already aware of their problem and potential solutions, so use this opportunity to explain why your solution is the best one.
- Regularly review, test, and re-evaluate your conquesting ads. Keep a close eye on conversion rates, bounce rates, and user journeys on your website when visitors enter through competitors’ keywords.
- Analyze the search terms your ads are appearing for and identify which ones are driving desired actions on your site.
- Continuously test different ad copy strategies to gain insights into your target audience and determine the most effective language and approach.
- Don’t hesitate to pause your campaign if the results don’t justify the allocated resources. It’s important to acknowledge that conquesting ads may have lower conversion rates and higher bounce rates compared to other campaigns.
All in all, the knowledge you gain about your users and competitors during this process will be invaluable for shaping your future strategies.
Mastering Competitor Bidding: Unlocking Your Campaign’s Competitive Edge
Bidding on competitors’ terms can be a powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal. By understanding the fundamentals and leveraging competitor campaigns, you gain valuable insights and opportunities to outmaneuver your rivals. Approach competitor bidding with caution, and remember to consider factors like budget, resources, and brand reputation impact. Utilize tools including Google Ads Auction Insights, Preview & Diagnosis, and third-party research to gain a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape.
The decision to bid on competitor terms depends on your specific goals and market dynamics. Do the risks outweigh the reward? Or vice versa? Only time (and preliminary research) will tell. Successful competitor campaigns require ongoing monitoring, analysis, and adaptation. Embrace best practices, data-driven insights, and industry trends to gain a competitive edge.
Now armed with knowledge and tools, it’s time to seize the opportunity and make your mark in the paid advertising realm. Best of luck on your bidding journey!
Remember, if you’re even hitting a wall and need to talk to people who (literally) live and breathe digital marketing, ForeFront can help. Kick off your next campaign with confidence and get professional advice before hitting that publish button!