It is quite common to hear people talk about business in terms of a battle, a contest or a race that must be won, and to think of competitors as enemies or rivals that must be vanquished.
I am here to help you think about this a bit differently, to think of your business rivals as friends, mentors, and guides, especially when it comes to running your Google Ads.
Granted, it can be quite gratifying to beat a competitor and win that new sale or customer but learning something from your competitor’s bag of tricks can work well in your favour. At Rocket, we’re big believers in never starting a campaign with a blank piece of paper. A short exercise in research puts you way ahead of the task at hand, and what better way to start than reviewing your competitors’ game plan.
So, here we go…
The easiest and simplest thing competitors can help you with are keywords. Keywords are at the heart of Google Ads, and anyone who is running a search campaign has to have completed some level of keyword research. This exercise must always include your competitors.
This is especially useful if you are new to an industry or service area. By reviewing the keyword builds of more experienced Google Ads experts, you can very quickly grab the insights that have taken them years to identify.
Another thing your competitors can help you with is ad copy. You can use a tool like SEMRush or the Ads Preview & Diagnosis tool within Google Ads to see the ad copy some of your competitors have been using in their search and display campaigns.
This exercise can be quite tedious, so focus on competitors that have a good reputation and generally do better than you.
Pro Tip: Scan through your competitor’s reviews on Google to get an idea of the pain points of their customers and things their customers appreciate. You can address both of these in your own ad copy.
Landing pages make or break campaigns. Even the best keyword, ad copy and targeting, can only bring the horse to the trough, the landing page has to convince the horse to drink.
With so many moving parts, landing pages can be difficult to get right. Reviewing the landing pages of your competitors may help you identify successful patterns. For example, check if there is a certain layout that is common amongst your competitors, if they are all running a certain type of offer or if they are using specific phrases that resonate with your buyer persona etc.
In some cases, this research may also help you identify gaps and opportunities. For example, if none of your competitors are using a video on the landing page to provide more information about their product or service, it might be an opportunity you can take advantage of. If some of them are providing downloadable content that customers will find useful, then you should consider a lead magnet of your own.
As a business owner or marketing manager, I am sure you know that one of the most challenging tasks is to be able to clearly define your target persona. If you have been in business for a long time, then you probably already know your customer or can look through your records to build a customer persona, but what if you are a young business or new to a category? Do you commission an expensive and extensive research piece to identify the right target market?
The reality is that most of us don’t have the luxury of time and deep pockets to involve external providers. Instead, you can leverage your competitors, just head over to the websites of other players in the industry that either have been around for a while or are really successful. Chances are that the reason for their success is a good product and a solid understanding of their audience. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, you can adopt all the good stuff, ignore all the bad stuff and add your own little spin to it.
You can take this a step further and look at businesses that provide your products and services in a different geographical market.
If your competitors are running promotions or offers on other channels such as newspapers, radio, Spotify, letterbox drops etc, it may result in searches for their brand names or specific terms.
You can target these specific promotion terms as keywords in search campaigns or build custom intent/custom affinity audiences in display or video campaigns to intercept some of the traffic going to their sites.
Such a campaign is likely to be more expensive as CPCs are often higher for competitor terms, but you essentially have the opportunity to funnel off traffic that someone else is paying to generate.
Your rivals and their campaigns can be an asset for you and your business. These are some of the ways we utilise competitor research to generate leads and sales for our clients here at Rocket.
If you would like to like us to review your existing Google Ads campaigns or provide some insights on how you could leverage competitor campaign insights into your campaigns, get in touch!
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