Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.
When done correctly, bidding on competitors’ brand terms can provide a nice boost to your online advertising performance. After all, if someone is looking for your direct competitor’s products or services, it stands to reason they might be interested in what you offer too.
However, when done the wrong way, it can open up a can of worms that will leave you in a worse place than when you started. My goal with this post is to prepare you with all the information you need to know when you’re deciding whether to bid on your competitors’ brands.
Bidding on Competitor Brand Names: Pros & Cons
Let’s start by reviewing the pros and cons of bidding on your competitors’ brand names in paid search.
1) It’s Less Competitive
These terms tend to be cheaper to bid on due to the lower competition when bidding on brand names. Since everyone should also be bidding on their own brand names, the actual businesses can get a bunch of clicks and impressions for a fraction of what is being spent elsewhere. Due to the uphill battle of getting conversions, not everyone is willing to invest in the higher CPA.
2) Get Brand Awareness
Another great thing about bidding on competitors’ brands is that it helps you gain brand awareness. When consumers are looking to buy a product from a store, showing up when they search for that brand puts your brand in the conversation. It’s a really good way of saying, “Have you heard of us?” and also promote some competitive advantage you hold.
3) Common Products Being Sold Between You
There is no better way to guarantee that you are getting a qualified audience for your product than if someone is searching for a company that sells the same products that yours does. Everyone searching for your competitor’s brand is also in the market for your products. Plus, every conversion you get is taking one away from your competition.
1) Starting a War
One serious downside to bidding on a competitor’s brand name is that you are basically starting a war. You are openly inviting your competition to bid on your brand name and start poaching some of your potential sales. While your bidding on their brand names will make it more expensive for them to bid on their own name, the same goes the other way. Their bidding on your brand name makes it more expensive for you to convert on your own brand.
2) Low CTR
When someone searches for a brand online, chances are they have already set their mind on buying from that store. This means that not many people will be clicking on your ads, causing a low CTR. While this may not seem bad given that you aren’t paying when they don’t click on your ads, low CTR can actually cause your Quality Score to decrease, which in turn will make it more expensive for your ad to show. In a way, you still pay when someone doesn’t click on your ad.
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and think you want to give it a shot, or you’re already bidding on your competitors’ brand terms, it’s important to keep some caveats in mind. Let’s go over some of the most common mistakes businesses make when bidding on competitors’ names.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Bidding on Competitor Brands
Mistake #1: Thinking everyone should bid on competitors’ brand names
Don’t get me wrong. Bidding on competitors is a good strategy. However, while it can provide a nice boost, it is not necessary, nor should it be done in the early stages of building one’s account. The business-sense of bidding on competitors honestly depends on what your CPA target is. The people searching for other brands are going to be a hard sell due to them already supposedly having their mind set on that other brand. While it is not impossible, nor incredibly difficult to get conversions from bidding on competitors, it will undoubtedly be one of the more expensive conversion sources within your account due to the harder sell of changing consumers’ minds.
This means that for people who really can’t afford a high CPA in their account, bidding on competitors is probably not a good option. Competitors are popular to bid on because people who are searching for your competitors are definitely in the market for the products you sell. Just be smart with your choice.
Mistake #2: Bidding on the Wrong Competitors
One crucial mistake advertisers make when they start advertising on competitors is bidding on the wrong competitors. As a rule of thumb, when choosing competitors to bid on, make sure you’re choosing companies that you are actually competing against. Choose competitors who you feel you have a competitive advantage over, whether it be better prices, bigger supply, or whatever.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is advertising on the big-name competition instead of the businesses that are actually taking business away from them. Let’s face it: your friendly neighborhood hardware store is not really a competitor of a big conglomerate chain like Home Depot. Your neighborhood store might have a better price on hammers than the conglomerate store, but that is not enough to justify bidding on their brand name. His competition is really going to be the other hardware stores in that neighborhood and possibly surrounding neighborhoods. The only thing you’ll get by not choosing the competitors wisely is a large bill with a lot of disappointment.
Mistake #3: Bidding Aggressively on Mobile
As mobile has continued becoming a big part of advertising, it has become critical that advertisers have a strong mobile presence for all their campaigns due to the now-common occurrence of people searching from their phones. We see that a very large portion of monthly searches comes from mobile devices. It is only natural to assume that because of this, advertising on competitors’ brands on mobile would be important when you’re already advertising on desktops. This is actually not the case.
The intent is often different on mobile: When someone is actually searching a store name on their phone, by that point they are likely no longer looking to compare different stores, but rather find that store’s nearest location. So going back to our example from earlier, someone who is searching for “Mom & Pop’s Hardware Store” from their mobile phone is likely no longer researching and is instead looking for the closest location of that store. This means that it is just a waste of money for “Father & Son’s Hardware Store” to bid on their brand because the conversion rate will be very low.
All in all, bidding on competitors can be a good opportunity for those who have the budget to support it and the CPAs to justify it. It’s a great way to grow your business if done right. Avoid some of the pitfalls outlined here and you too can start reaping the rewards.
Have you spent hours lamenting over your local ad campaigns? Have you struggled to understand why your local PPC efforts aren’t delivering the ROI you had hoped?
Yeah. Me too. I’ve been there.
My epiphany came when I stopped trying to be BIG. I was too proud to say that my local markets were the only thing that mattered. I wanted to be national. I mean, everyone needs PPC or SEO. Why not get the whole market? That was my mentality.
Budgets can be a rude awakener. Days into the national market, a realization hit me: I just don’t have the capital to spend thousands upon thousands on PPC. I couldn’t compete at the national level.
The “ah hah” moment came when I realized that, while these big companies with IPOs and massive budgets might be able to win the national war, they wouldn’t be able to win a local battle. They don’t know my neighborhood. They don’t know all the little things that makes my area so special.
And guess what? Those same big companies you’re going up against? They don’t know your local market as well as you do, either!
It’s time to wipe the dust off that local PPC campaign and turn the notch up a little.
Here are 7 tips for local businesses doing PPC.
1. Take a Look at Your Books
Every PPC budget has a limit. As a small or local business, that limit is usually reached pretty quickly. With that being said, it is essential to spend money only on our most profitable products or services.
It’s such a basic principle, but we even find ourselves guilty of promoting all our services, instead of just focusing on the most profitable ones for our PPC campaigns.
Take a moment and call your accountant, make sure the books are setup to identify which products or services are generating not only the most revenue, but also the most profit.
2. Hey Google Search Console, Meet PPC
Have you been running an SEO campaign? Take a look at your best-performing keywords. What searches give you the most impressions?
As an action item, identify those keywords that are getting the most impressions using your Google Webmaster Tools, now known as Google Search Console. Next, compare those terms with your books. If you are getting a lot of impressions for a keyword that is also a profitable service or product, but not getting clicks for that keyword it might make sense to create an ad group specifically for that term.
It’s about search engine positioning, not just search engine optimization.
3. Ad Groups and Copy Based on Cities
There are hundreds of ways to organize your PPC campaign, but we have found that the more locally relevant you can be with your ad groups and copy, the better. For example, let’s say you run a local business in Orange County, CA, and you have a limited budget.
If you want to make the biggest impact for your spend, usually you create a campaign for Orange County and then an ad group for each set of keywords while focusing your efforts on the entire county.
While that is good, what if you could create a campaign for each city that you do the most business in already? With this approach, we would make a campaign for Irvine and then each ad group would have keywords and ads specifically for that city. The goal here is to be as locally relevant as possible!
What does this mean for you? Higher Quality Scores, higher click-through rates,, and higher conversion rates.
It pays to be local!
4. Make Call Outs and Site Links Local
Ad extensions, as you probably already know, are a great way to take up more real estate for your advertisement and increase conversions. Unfortunately, most local businesses only rely on their address or their phone number extension to show their local swag.
Let’s beef those ad extensions up and start leveraging the power of being local. While your area code and address are great, let’s add our location to both our callout extensions and site links. We can then make each unique for the city ad groups we just created.
Yay for local PPC!
5. Zip Code in the Ad Copy and Display URL? Yes, Please
Using numbers alone is a great way to make your ad pop, but take it further and add your zip code. Imagine you are a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. What better way to show off that you are exactly the surgeon someone is looking for then adding that prestigious 90210 zip to your ad?
Two great places to add your ZIP code or city name is in the text and the display URL. Check out this sample ad below demonstrating the usage of both:
6. Talk About Stuff Only Locals Know
If being truly local is something you desire, simply talk the talk. I love to surf, and one of my favorite spots to surf is San Onofre State Park. We don’t call it that though. We call it SanO.
If you want to really reach out to the local surf community in San Clemente, CA, don’t just use the term beach, ocean, water, etc. Talk about SanO, Trestles, T-Street or Lost Winds.
If you don’t know what any of those are or what they mean...perfect! You aren’t the target market.
Including price in your ad copy isn’t the only way to exclude bad clicks. Your target market has its own local dialect. Recognize that and write your copy in a way that resonates with your community.
Here is a sample of what an ad for the Rip Curl shop in San Clemente could look like:
It’s time to start leveraging all that local lingo and relevance to your advantage. Talk the talk and your customer will be more likely to walk the walk.
7. Distance is No Obstacle
Is convenience, travel time, or location relevant to your audience? If so, let’s use that to our advantage.
Ever seen this ad before?
Here’s how we could add some local flavor to this advertisement:
All we did here is combine potential business goals, more customers, with locally relevant information. The more relevant the merrier.
Whether you are a local business or a national brand, it’s time to think beyond location extensions and start to harness all the tools at our disposal.
Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO of Directive Consulting, which provides local SEO services for small to mid market companies. Garrett also teaches and speaks multiple times a month on SEO, content, and PPC throughout Orange County and Los Angeles, CA.