If you’re using search ads to promote your business, you’re not alone. Some of your best customers are targeted by AdWords competitors.
That’s why you need to outwit them. Otherwise, you’ll lose market share.
In this article, I’ll show you how to track and beat your AdWords competitors.
What You’ll Learn:
- How to find your competitors
- How to find the keywords your competitors are bidding on (and how much they’re spending)
- How to use Google’s Auction Report to get a step ahead
- 7 tactics you can use to create better ads than your competitors
First, Use Tools to Track Your AdWords Competitors
Simply put: there’s too much information out there for you to handle and process manually. You’ll need to enlist the aid of tools.
That’s especially true when it comes to getting an advantage over your AdWords competitors.
Start with a tool like SEMRush. You can get the ball rolling for just about a hundred bucks a month.
And it’s worth it. With SEMRush, you can find out which keywords your competitors are bidding on. Use that info to identify search terms you might have missed.
First, if you’re unsure exactly who your competitors are (or want to make sure you haven’t missed any), you can use SEMRush to find them.
Start by logging in and typing your domain name into the search bar. Click the dropdown arrow on the left of the search bar, and select “Advertising Research.”
On the next page, choose the Competitors tab at the top of the report. As you scroll down, you’ll see a list of your top paid AdWords competitors.
If you want to see those search terms, just plug a competitor’s domain name into that same SEMRush search bar. Then, view click the Positions tab at the top of the overview report.
Scroll down to the “Paid Search Positions” section. You’ll see a list of keywords that the competitor is using to run search ads.
It gets better, though. You can also find out how much your competitors are spending on those keywords. That will tell you if you need to step it up in terms of online ad investment.
You can check out the costs of your competitor’s ads from the “Paid Search Positions” table. Take a look at the “Costs” column.
Perhaps best of all, you can see what their ads look like. If you notice that they’re running ads more compelling than yours, get busy at producing better copy.
If you want to see competitor ads, click on the Ad Copies tab when you’re viewing a competitor report. Once you’re on the screen, you can filter ads by typing a keyword in the “Filter by product title” text field.
Also, feel free to imitate their ads. Just make sure you check your analytics to determine if those ads are as effective as you think they are.
There’s another tool that’s worth looking at: Google’s Keyword Planner.
Normally, SEO professionals think about Keyword Planner as a way to find keyword ideas. It’s certainly valuable for that purpose.
However, you can also use it to get ahead of your AdWords competitors.
Plug a competitor’s URL into the “Your landing page” search bar. You’ll get a potpourri of keyword ideas you may not have even thought about.
Beat Your AdWords Competitors Using the Auction Insights Report
Google Ads offers plenty of reports that help you optimize your online ad strategy. One of the best for helping you beat the competition is the Auction Insights report.
The Auction Insights reports enables you to compare the performance of your ads with ads run by other businesses that are participating in the same auctions. You’ll see info such as:
- Impression share
- Average position
- Overlap rate
- Position above rate
- Top of range rate
- Outranking share
Those are exactly the kinds of metrics you need to follow to track and beat the competition.
For example, if you find that your AdWords competitors are running ads that more frequently appear at the top of the page than your ads, optimize your ads and landing pages to improve your Quality Score.
Create More Landing Pages
If you’re running multiple ads with different offers, you need multiple landing pages. It’s possible that your competitors don’t know that.
That’s why you should use multiple landing pages to gain market share.
Remember: when you’re running highly targeted ads with very specific offers, your landing pages need to reflect the content of those ads. That’s how you’ll keep your Quality Score high, land at the top of the search results, and improve your conversion rate.
If you opt for a “one size fits all” landing page strategy, you’re going to end up with lackluster results.
You might be reluctant to create multiple landing pages because you’re not a web developer. If that’s the case, ask your development team up-front to create templates that you can adapt to different landing pages.
Also, if you’re on WordPress, creating different landing pages is a snap. The editor uses WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) format.
As always: make sure you test your landing pages to see which ones are giving you the best performance.
One of the easiest ways to jump ahead of your AdWords competitors is with the use of ad extensions.
If you’re unfamiliar with ad extensions, they enable you to expand your ad with additional info. You can include a call button, links to specific parts of your site, location details, and even more text.
For example, if you do have a physical location, you would want to include location extensions in your ad.
Or, if you want to direct customers to specific parts of your website – not just one landing page – try including sitelink extensions
According to Google, using ad extensions can increase your click-through rate by several points.
If your competitor’s ads aren’t using extensions, your ads will certainly stand out when presented on top or just below them in the search engine results pages (SERPs). That alone could give you a nice boost.
If your ads aren’t using extensions, get that ball rolling today.
Use Negative Keywords
If you’re not maximizing the use of negative keywords in your AdWords campaigns, you could suffer in terms of ROI.
Negative keywords are words and phrases that prevent your ad from showing up in the search results. When people use those terms in Google search, your ad is guaranteed not to appear.
Why is that important? Because you don’t want to show your ads to people who aren’t likely customers.
If your competitors aren’t making full use of negative keywords, they’re going to take a hit on click-through rates, conversion rates, and overall return. You can beat them by blacklisting search terms that won’t get you any customers.
Use Expanded Text Ads
Sometimes less is more. On other times, more is more.
Google enables you to run expanded text ads that can give your brand a boost in the SERPs.
With expanded text ads, you can:
- Add a third headline
- Display a second description
- Use as many as 90 characters for each description
Your expanded text ads will overpower your competitor’s standard text ads in terms of the digital real estate they use.
That’s just one way they stand out, though. You can also use them to give potential customers more info about your brand.
When people see that they have more details about your offer versus your competitors, they might just click your link instead of one of theirs.
Improve Your Quality Score
A great Quality Score can reduce your cost per click (CPC). A poor Quality Score, on the other hand, can raise your CPC.
If you can beat your competitor on Quality Score for specific keywords, you’ll gain a competitive advantage by improving your percentage return.
By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Quality Score, it’s a rating of the overall user experience that your ads and landing pages provide. It’s measured on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best.
If you’d like to improve your Quality Score, take the following steps:
- Improve your CTR – Use catchy headlines and irresistible offers that entice people to click on your ad.
- Improve your ad relevance – Make sure your ad is relevant to the keyword you’re targeting.
- Improve your landing page experience – Give your users a friendly landing page that looks great on both desktop and mobile platforms. Also, ensure that each landing page is relevant to the ad associated with it.
Offer Lower Prices
It’s not always the best marketing strategy to start a price war. However, in some cases it just might be the trick you need to beat your AdWords competitors.
If you’re running ads that include pricing info, make sure your prices are better than what your competitors are offering.
If you’re running a promotional discount, make sure your discount is better than what your competitors are offering.
Why? Because lots of shoppers are looking for the lowest prices.
According to Stax Insights, 47% of consumers polled said price was in their top three purchasing criteria. Almost 1 in 5 (18%) said it was the most important criteria.
If you want the clicks of those bargain hunters, you’ll need to earn them with great pricing and discounts.
Create a Value Proposition Your AdWords Competitors Ignore
Sometimes, you can win against AdWords competitors with better ad copy. And one of the best ways to do that is by promoting a value proposition that they haven’t thought about.
Consider your customer’s pain points. Make a list of them and identify the ones that competitors aren’t addressing in their Google ads.
Then, put together an ad with some compelling copy that addresses one of those points. Rinse and repeat for all the other points you identified.
Remember, though: just as you can copy your competitor’s ads, they can copy yours as well. Keep an eye out for that.
Wrapping Up How to Track and Beat Your AdWords Competitors
There you have it: several ways to track and beat your AdWords competitors.
If you haven’t yet started aggressively going after the market share of some of your top competitors, why not get the ball rolling today? Start with a few of the easiest suggestions from the list above and see how well they perform for you.
Then, get to work on the harder items.