Competitor research is important in the ever-changing and highly competitive world of PPC and should be a part of your process. Not only is it wise to have a strategic plan in place, but you should be aware of the various tools available to do a competitive analysis. Are you questioning who your competitors are or how good their campaigns are? Do you know the good and the bad of bidding on competitors keywords?
In the webinar recording, experts from SEMrush and Hanapin Marketing discuss leading tactics in competitor research that will give you a leg up on your competition.
You’ll get expert-level PPC tips like:
*When and why you should do competitive research
*Research tools you should be using and best practices for them
*The pros and cons of bidding on competitor terms
Today will be talking about cutting edge tactics for spying on your competitors and how to make that information actionable for your PPC programs
Cassie – I’m a PPC vet with about 6 years experience in the PPC agency world. I’ve been with Hanapin for about 2 years now and have a passion for spying on my PPC competitors which is why I was selected to do this webinar with our friend David Black at SEMrush.
David would like to take a minute to introduce yourself?
Don’t be shy! Join in on the conversation for todays webinar by including the hastag thnkpcc in your tweets. Or use the comment box and we will save some time at the end to answer any questions you may have.
The PPC industry is always growing, and sometimes even we’re surprised by how fast the digital advertising landscape expands and changes. We thought it would be interesting to take a look at Inc Magazine’s list of the 5000 fastest growing companies in America and see how they spend their PPC dollars.
So we partnered with SEM Rush to create the infographic here which details how these Inc 5000 companies use PPC to scale up their businesses and turbocharge their results.
As we can see – The IT Services industry also spends the most on PPC – including companies like GoDaddy.com
4 out of 5 companies on the Inc 5000 list spend money on PPC advertising
The Advertising and Marketing Industry spends the largest percentage of its revenue on PPC
So as you can see with some of these Inc. 5000 companies spending big dollars on PPC, having a strategic competitor plan will be important to compete in the digital space. Lucky for you, we will cover some tips on how to do just that.
David does #1
Cassie does question #2
Start with researching the competitive PPC landscape. Analyze competitor’s keywords, budget, ads and trends. Understand your place in the PPC space. Finding this information manually can be tricky and time consuming but very important, especially if you are in a very competitive space or have a small budget.
You can use the Auction Insights available in your AdWords account but this only gives information for keywords showing up for and nothing for Bing. You can manually search terms but that can be super time consuming. I highly recommend using some sort of competitive research tool and lucky for you folks, David From SEMrush is here today to show you more about how their tool works for doing competitive research.
Once you’ve gathered all your data, Perform a GAP or a SWOT analysis to see where your strengths and weakness are compared to your competitors in the digital space. For example, maybe you see your competitor is running a 20% off ad and you are running a 10% off ad.
Understanding where you can stand out from your competitor will be key to a successful PPC strategy. Capitalize on areas where your competitors are weak and learn where you need to work on being more competitive.
Lucky for you we will cover a few strategic tips on how to compete with your big budgeted competitors – Get champagne results on a beer budget.
If you don’t have a remarketing tag on your site. Step 1, DO THAT ASAP. You are really missing out.
Step 2, Now that you’ve done your research, you have an idea of what high volume keywords your competitors are bidding on. The problem is that they may be way more expensive than you can afford – story of my life. Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) are a great way for you to compete with the big budgeted competitors on keywords that you find valuable.
RLSA allows you to show ads to users that have previously visited your site while they continue to search on the Google Search Network. Since these users have already shown interest in your site and there is a smaller audience, the price of those competitive terms becomes more tolerable to your budget
“Tirendo, a European online tire retailer, saw a 161% conversion rate increase with remarketing lists for search ads, leading to a 22% overall sales increase” - Google
Let’s say you don’t have enough cookied users on your search remarketing list yet to use RLSA. The next best option for competing on these competitive terms is using ad scheduling.
Take one of the competitive terms, go to your dimensions tab and analyze performance by hour of the day and day of the week. This analysis will give you a better idea of when it makes most sense for you to attempt to compete on these terms.
Maybe you notice that between 1am-7am there is not as much traffic and the conversions are more expensive so you choose to opt out or bid down during those times. Or maybe you go the other route and push hard by increasing bids during times of the day when there doesn’t seem to be as much competition.
Implementing ad scheduling can help stretch that shoestring budget.
Maybe there is a region that performs well for you and there is limited competition so increase bid modifers for specific geo-locations to compete with big budgeted competitors in regions where it is most profitable for you.
Maybe in Georgia your shipping costs are lower so you focus more heavily on this area.
Bidding on your big budgeted competitor terms can be a great way to piggyback off their brand terms. Typically these campaigns convert well because the user has done their research and ready to purchase.
Bidding on competitor terms is generally accepted in the US and typically Google will not investigate as long as trademark terms are not used in the creative.
Some terms you could bid on include: Competitor Name Competitor Domain Competitor Product Name Competitor Product SKU numbers Competitor Name + Product/service you also provide
If you do decide to pursue this approach, be cautious. If a competitor complains about a particular keyword or set of keywords you are advertising against, the best policy, in my opinion, would probably be to simply stop using those keywords immediately.
If a competitor is bidding on your terms, why not at least complain send them a note asking them to stop, even if you’re on unclear legal grounds?
Brand terms, and SKU/Models, on average, should have a very high click-through rate, perhaps twice the normal average. They should also convert at a higher rate than the typical keyword.
Pros: Lower volume but higher conversion rates – 11X Higher CVR Lower CPAs (21% Lower CPA in the campaign above) Usually higher CTRs
Cons: CpCs more expensive – 10X higher CPCs Low Quality Scores due to lack of keyword/ ad/ landing page relevancy Competitors cold start bidding on your brand terms increasing CpCs
Whatever you do, NEVER USE DKI in a competitive ad copy. You will be in violation of adwords policy and could be at risk for a potential law suit. Not worth it. Be selective with ad copy. Do your research.
Gmail Sponsored Ads are another Google product that can be used in competitive strategies by bidding on specific competitor terms. This strategy will allow your Gmail Sponsored Ads to show up in user email whenever someone mentions a competitor’s domain. Unlike Display AdSense text ads that take the user directly to a landing page, all Gmail Sponsored ads, including those in the Promotions tab, open a screen like the one below.
This is a separate platform that you will need to contact a Google Rep to get access to.
Gmail Sponsored Promotions ads are priced on a cost-per-click basis. Advertisers are only charged the first time an ad is clicked and aren’t charged for actions taken from the promotional message..
End users have the ability to save or forward the ad. They can also dismiss the ad which will prevent the ad displaying in their email again.
Cassie There are two parts to a Gmail Ad. 1) The teaser, which you see in the sidebar/promotions inbox. 2) The “email”, which you see when you first click on the teaser. Clicking beyond that email sends you to your designated landing page.
These ads typically don’t see a lot of volume but tend to convert really well when set up correctly
LEAVE OPEN IN Q&A
Cutting-Edge Tactics To Spy On Your Competition
Spy On Your PPC Competition
Cutting-Edge Tactics To
& HOSTED BY:
• David Black
– Customer Success Director at SEMrush
• Cassie Oumedian
– Senior Digital Specialist at Hanapin
Join the conversation
• Include the hashtag #thinkppc in your
Or use the webinar question box to send
Inc. 5000 Competitive Research Study
• 4 out of 5 companies on the Inc 5000 list
spend money on PPC advertising
• The IT Services industry also spends the
most on PPC
• The Advertising and Marketing Industry
spends the largest percentage of its
revenue on PPC
Live Poll Question #1
How long have you been in PPC?
A. Less than 1 year
B. 1-3 years
C. 3-5 years
D. 5+ years
Live Poll Question #2
How do you manage your account(s)?
a) I manage it myself.
b) I’m part of a team that manages it.
c) I outsource my account management.
d) I’m rethinking how my account is managed.
Competitor Research and Analysis
• Start with researching the competitive PPC landscape.
• Analyze competitor’s keywords, budget, ads and trends.
• Competitive research tools make this MUCH easier
AdWords Auction Insights
Competitive Research and Analysis
Create a SWOT
place in the market
and create a plan of
attack on how to
in the PPC space.
Don’t have a budget of 5.2 Million dollars to
spend on PPC like your GoDaddy.com
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads
Strategy Tip: Use RLSA to
bid on expensive generic
terms your competitors bid
on that are too expensive
to bid on solely on Search
Have an AdWords Remarketing Tag pixel
on your page?
• Time of Day
• Day of Week
• Time of Day, Day of Week
Bidding on competitor terms is generally accepted in the US and typically Google
will not investigate as long as trademark terms are not used in the creative.
Bid on Competitor Brand Terms
• Competitor Name
• Competitor Domain
• Competitor Product Name
• Competitor Product SKU numbers
• Competitor Name + Product/service you also provide
Bid on competitor terms cautiously and be
sure to read up on Google’s trademark
policies to make sure you are not in
Competitor Bidding Pros & Cons
• Lower volume but higher conversion rates – 11X Higher CVR
• Lower CPAs (21% Lower CPA in the campaign above)
• Usually higher CTRs
• CpCs more expensive – 10X higher CPCs
• Low Quality Scores due to lack of keyword/ ad/ landing page relevancy
• Competitors cold start bidding on your brand terms increasing CpCs
#1 Rule For Bidding on Competitor Terms….
NEVER USE DKI (Dynamic Keyword Insertion)!!
Gmail Sponsored Ads
• Target users in their gmail accounts by targeting specific
domains… competitor domains or other competitive keywords.
** May not be available in all verticals. Check with your Google rep.
Live Poll Question #3
Where does competitor analysis fit into
your Marketing plan?
a.) I’ve done it in the past but not right now.
b.) I am actively conducting competitor analysis.
c.) I haven’t yet. But, I will now!
d.) No plans in the foreseeable future.
Programmatic Analysis Techniques
Our Data Collection and Analysis
All these data are great but you need to know everything about your sample in
order to account for variables and draw accurate conclusions.
Our total keyword database = Over 100m keywords worldwide
Infographic is based on the top 40m keywords in Google US
Analyzing millions of SERPs everyday
Analysis applied to top 20 organic/ads positions in each SERP
Where Do These Data Fit In?
Who can utilize these data?
(Search Engine) Marketing intelligence data has a number of different
applications within and outside of the direct industry.
Small Business Owners – DIY’ers
SEO and PPC consultants – The one man band
Digital Marketing Agencies of any size
Enterprise-level in-house marketing departments
Got the Data – Now What?
Organic Search Marketing
Improving your visibility in natural search results
The keyword/domain connection is an excellent way to enhance your keyword
On-site optimization: Titles, tags, URL’s, Navigation, Sitemaps, etc.
“Not Provided” got ya down? SEMrush = “Provided”
Content development and Semantic core improvement
Proactively or reactively fight algorithmic penalties
Got the Data – Now What?
Paid Search Marketing
Minimize Risk & Maximize ROI
Optimize existing search network AdWords and display network campaigns OR
create beautifully crafted campaigns from the get-go. Don’t go in blind!
Know which keywords drive traffic and convert
Write copy that attracts for better CTR
Figure out what works and (sometimes) more importantly, what
Would you like help with your PPC accounts
and management? I’m interested in:
Live Poll Question #4
a.) FREE Account Assessment from Hanapin
(for accounts spending more than 20K/mo)
b.) Free One Month Trial of SEMrush
c.) No Thanks
Have more questions?
Thank you for attending our webinar! #thinkppc
• Contact us Directly:
» Hanapin Feedback: email@example.com
SEMrush Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com