Competitors on Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) have the brand awareness and traffic that you want. So why not use your brand as bait into that stream of customers swimming upstream?
Think about it. If a user is searching by name for your competitor it tells you a few things:
- They want to buy what your competitor (and you) are selling
- They are deeper-funnel and already looking into specific brands (i.e. not just researching)
- They are probably qualified
To give a real-world example. You can see in the screenshot below that Monday.com bids against “Salesforce”. Monday’s PPC team knows that anyone looking at Salesforce (a CRM platform) would also be a qualified lead for their CRM platform.
Nearly every client account that we manage at Upgrow has a robust competitor campaign set running. It’s highly effective and efficient, but only if set up and managed properly.
Competitive ads can be a complete disaster and a horrible money pit just as easily. You’ll always be disadvantaged in quality score and CTR compared to the named competitor. Additionally, you won’t be able to use trademarked branded terms in your competitors’ ad copy. So how do you overcome this and drink their milkshake?
or jump to your favorite bit:
- How to find your competitors
- Build a competitor keywords list with “uncertainty modifiers”
- Know your differentiators and advantages
- Know competitors weaknesses
- Write ad copy that will connect
- Use landing pages that will connect
- Protect your brand
How to find your competitors
List your known competitors
You probably can name a few competitors off the top of your head. Open a spreadsheet and start typing them up, the larger the list of brand terms, the better.
Find competitors with Auction Insights
Another method is to see who is bidding against you frequently on Google Ads. This is available in the “Auction Insights” section of the Google Ads interface under Campaigns and looks like this:
Check out the different sites and add the most relevant ones to your list.
Check Review Sites
Yet another method is to look at review sites that list and rank providers. The review site to use would depend on your industry but taking software as an example, you could look at G2. Just find your specific category and you can see a list of competitors. Here is what it looks like in the Accounting Software category:
Build your competitor branded keywords list with “uncertainty modifiers”
This is really the secret sauce to success when bidding on competitors’ brand keywords. But what are “uncertainty modifiers” you may ask?
These are words in the user’s search that indicate they are still considering different brands.
Uncertainty Modifiers include:
- Similar to
- Category (i.e. Oracle database, Ikea furniture, IBM consulting)
And so on….
Users searching with these modifiers are either still shopping for a vendor or ready to switch vendors. What you don’t want are their existing customers or other non-buyers so also be sure to add negative terms
Negative to include:
- Phone Number
- Social Media
And so on…
I also suggest not bidding on the brand name by itself unless the volume on the modifiers is just too small. If you’re in a very niche industry then you’ll probably need every competitor search you can get, but if your market is large then save some expense and focus on the most likely to buy from you.
Know your differentiators and advantages
Why do customers choose your brand over your competitors? Make a list of your solution’s advantages. This messaging is crucial to pull users away from the brand they were researching to switch to looking at your brand instead.
Are you lower cost? Higher se