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Adwords PPC Competitors – How to Beat the Competition

Your Adwords strategy is incomplete if it has no plan on how to challenge competitors with differentiated Ads, effective landing pages, a unique bid strategy and targeted keywords.


The AdWords PPC landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade with the biggest change being more competitors using PPC advertising as their core channel to boost sales and leads.


This trend has led to a corresponding increase in advertising costs due to an increase in average CPC bids. And this has made PPC a non-viable option for many.


However, AdWords is still effective and many advertisers are reaping the benefits of a targeted strategy that includes differentiating from their competitors through USPs, an effective bid strategy, targeted ads, optimised keywords and much more.


Here are some tips to make Adwords work for your business and in the process outflank your AdWords competition:


Do you know your competitors?


Many advertisers don’t really know who their ‘true’ competitors are. And by ‘true’ I mean the ones that you are competing against in the auction results, and not just known competitors that may be doing very little or no PPC advertising.


There is a quick way to find out who your true competitors are and that is by using the auction insights report. This little-known report is packed with information on how you have been performing in the search results relative to your competitors


auction insights report


As you can see from the image above, one of the important metrics is top of page rate and this tells you how often specific competitors have been outranking you and you can then decide how to challenge them.


The report also shows a snapshot of your traffic and as you can see in the image above, this report is based on 1% of  impressions.


One of the best ways to use this report is to first decide on which competitor to try to outrank and it’s usually best to go after one that shares the highest impression share with your ads and has also a higher percentage top of page rate.


You can then use this to change to a Target Outranking Share bid strategy which is what we discuss next


How to Outrank Competitors


Having decided to outrank that specific competitor with the Outranking Share strategy, you can change to this bid strategy in the campaign settings as seen in the image below:


Target Outranking Share Bidding


As you can see, you first add the domain name of the competitor in the appropriate section and then state what how often you want to outrank them. If you want to outrank them all the time, then you would put 100% but also ensure you put a bid cap because this can be a very costly strategy if you are both using this strategy or they have very high bids.


However, there are a number of other ways to outrank competitors which include both long term and short term approaches.


A long term approach would be to work on your ad quality and quality scores to help Improve your Ad Rank. So this will involve aiming to get above average performance for expected click through rate, ad relevance and landing page experience, which are always contributing factors to your quality scores. And with the improvement of your ad extensions such as sitelinks, callouts and call extensions, you will see an improvement in Ad Rank for lower costs.


A short term approach on the other hand would include using another bid strategy like Target first results page which aims to put you above your competitors. However, this strategy is not always very effective especially when competition levels are high.



Which AdWords Competitor research tools?



There are many competitor tools out there to look into your competitors ads and keywords and help get some ideas for your own. One effective tool is the SE rankings Competitor Audit tool which is included in one of the monthly and yearly plans and not as a standalone tool like Spyfu.


The amount of info you can glean from these tools will depend on the competitor you are investigating and in some cases you will get little data if they are not doing a lot of PPC advertising.


However, the information can be very insightful and will show details of where they are ranking for particular keywords. Added to that you will see the type of keywords they are bidding on what strategy they are following, if any.


Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is seeing how specific ads are performing for metrics like Click Through Rate (CTR) and you can use that data to craft your own ads and make them differentiated.


Bear in mind though that a small number of advertisers change their strategies regularly and you could be working on outdated data, especially if it’s days or weeks old.


Benefits vs. Features


For most advertisers, it’s easy to describe what their products or services do. It’s relatively easy to make a long list of what that product or service includes and this is what they often promote in their Ads.


However, customers want to know what that product or service does for them. People are not interested in your product. They are more interested in what that product can do for them. This is what is known as the product of the product or the core product as marketers call it.


Looking for help to launch or manage your Adwords campaigns. Find out how I can help and contact me for an Adwords review today.

I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

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