Since the dawn of creation, there has been constant competition; for resources, for survival, for profit. The same is true in marketing. People are inundated with a variety of advertising throughout each day, making marketing your business a very competitive endeavor.
One of the key elements to successful digital marketing is to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing and adjust your advertising efforts in response. If you’re looking to up your game, try using some of the tools we’ve highlighted below to get a better idea of what your competitors are up to.
Step 1: Identify Your Competition
To begin, you’ll want to get an idea of the competition you’re up against. Each advertising space will be a little different, and just because you have a competitor that sells the same thing as you, doesn’t mean that they’re advertising in the same space you are.
For example, many of our clients at The frank Agency advertise with text ads within Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). A quick, easy way to produce a list of competitors is to do a couple searches on Google or Bing for keywords related to your product or service and then look at who the text ads belong to.
When doing these test searches, it’s also common to find indirect competitors that are also advertising on similar words. For example, both a plumber and an insurance company might advertise on flooding-related keywords. While they’re not direct competitors, the fact that they both advertise on the same keywords will increase the cost for advertising on those keywords. Also, this information can sometimes provide valuable insight into what keywords you’re targeting that may be too broad.
In the example, users who are looking for an insurance provider and searching for flooding-related keywords may accidentally click the plumber’s ad. In this way, broader keywords can often lead to paying for irrelevant traffic to your website.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Competitors Text Ads
Once you’ve established a list of competitors, there are a couple of methods to get a better idea of your competitors’ strategies. First, since you’re already looking at the ads within relevant SERPs, go ahead and inspect the various features of the text ads being displayed for your competitors. What specific language is present in their ads that might be giving them an advantage? Maybe your competitor is offering additional services or a special offer that undercuts your pricing model.
While looking at your competitor ads, also pay attention to the features of the ads themselves. Does the advertiser list a phone number, physical address, links to other parts of their website, social media or user reviews? Each of these “ad extensions” provide more information to the user, increases your ad’s real estate on the SERP, and improves your ad’s legitimacy in the eyes of the user and the search engine.
Google often increases an ad’s quality score based on its number of ad extensions. Your quality score impacts the ranking of your ad and the amount that you pay per click. We discuss these concepts in greater depth in one of our other PPC blogs on the basics of PPC targeting.
Step 3: Apply What You’ve Learned to Your Ads
Use the information that you gather about your competitor’s ads to inform your choices on how you create your ads and what features you choose to employ to make your ads stand out from the rest. Then, repeat the process periodically to keep a pulse on what your competitors are up to. Also, to be proactive, you should work to keep abreast of new changes to the advertising platforms that you’re using to ensure that you update your ads to their best form as soon as a new feature is available. The world of marketing is constantly changing, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve.
Be watching for an upcoming blog post, where we’ll highlight useful competitive analysis tools to help streamline the process of gathering data on your competitors. In the meantime, contact The frank Agency if you need help with your PPC campaign!