Monitoring Your Competitor’s PPC Efforts - Astute Communications

Many search engine marketers assume that their online competitors are the same as their offline competitors. While this assumption is partially true, a lot of the time this isn’t the case. With search engine marketing, people from all over can be your direct competitors if you bid on the same keywords. Let’s examine how we can study our competitors’ PPC efforts to improve our own.

Acquire As Much Data As You Can

Getting familiar with Google and Bing Ads’ auction insights is the best place to start. Auction insights is a great tool Google and Bing provide to help search engine marketers see how they perform compared to their competitors. This tool gives valuable insights into key PPC metrics such as:

  • Impression Share: How often does another competitor receive an impression in auctions where you compete? It is important to note that your impression share measures the number of impressions you received divided by the number of impressions you were eligible for.
  • Top of Page Rate: This metric shows how often you or your competition rank above organic search results.
  • Outranking Share: This is how often your ad showed in a higher position or when your ad appeared and competitors didn’t.
  • Position Above Rate: This metric shows how often a competitor ranks a position above you when both ads show.

Once you’ve had time to review the numbers, you’ll find that not all your competitors are the same. Some may have huge budgets they can use to stifle their competition, some may not even be close enough to your impression share to be a considerable threat. Regardless, knowing who your competitors are and taking note of their performance metrics gives you a good idea of your true competition.

Study Your Competitor’s Ads

Since your competitors are bidding on the same keywords as you, this means that your ads are likely to appear next to each other on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The results page is an easy way to see how your ads stack up against the competition. With the search bar, you can search your own keywords to see if your ad shows for the keywords you’re bidding on. You’ll also be able to compare your ads directly against a close competitor who’s bidding on the same thing.

Studying your ads and comparing your ad copy to a competitor’s can give you a good idea of whether your efforts are paying off. If you notice that every time you search your keywords your ad appears at the top, you’re likely winning your auctions against competitors. If you begin to notice your ads don’t even crack the top three, it may be time to reevaluate your budget and keywords.

Taking Action

You will pull your hair out if you spend every waking moment comparing your ads to your competitors. Your first goal should be to set up campaigns that give you the best chance possible out of the gate. Once you have a solid baseline, you can start making changes based on your competitor’s actions. 

Once you begin to make changes around your competition, be sure to take your ego out of it. It’s easy to get frustrated when your paid efforts aren’t going the way you’d hoped. If you decide to make a change, be sure you’ve thought it through and weighed the pros and cons with ample research.

The Takeaway

PPC advertising is different for every business. Some may not have any competitors and dominate the results page, and some may have too many competitors that they need to rise above.

Regardless, no two ad campaigns are the same. Doing thorough competitor research, planning, and taking proper action can give your campaign a strong chance in the auction and hopefully beat your competition.