Have you ever searched for a business by typing in their exact name, and the first search result is an entirely different business altogether? When the first result or results are advertisements for other businesses, you’ve just encountered competitor targeting in paid advertising.

When creating campaigns in Google AdWords, some businesses will list their top competitors’ names as keywords. This means, when someone searches their competitor, their business will show up on top instead. The person might lazily just click the first result without noticing it’s not what they were searching for. Or, they might be intrigued to click on the other business. If the landing page or value proposition is enticing enough, they may end up giving their business to the one they weren’t actually searching for.

Your competitors might be using your business as a keyword in their space, too. Targeting competitors in paid advertising should be a consideration if you have a paid ads strategy. Here’s a guide on what to think about.

A Guide to Targeting Competitors in Paid AdvertisingBenefits of Targeting Competitors

In pay-per-click advertising, you don’t pay for an ad unless someone clicks on it. This means, when you target competitors, you’ll show up in their results and gain the benefit of brand awareness for your business. If someone sees your ad repeatedly when they’re searching for their current business of choice, they may eventually decide to research your business on their own and purchase from you in the future, resulting in free advertising.

Another advantage to targeting competitor brands in Google AdWords is that people who are searching those terms are closer to the purchase phase. They’re not looking to research or discover at this point. They know they have a problem, and they’re looking for a solution your competitor offers. Get in front of them, and they may switch.

A Guide to Targeting Competitors in Paid AdvertisingGet More Clicks By Targeting Competitors

If someone is searching for a specific brand, and you’re targeting that brand with an ad, you need to create an ad that is so compelling, it causes that person to abandon any loyalty they had to your competitor and purchase from you instead. You must identify the weaknesses of the ads of your competitors and craft much better ads that convert.

Some of the best ways to make your ad stand out when someone is searching for a competitor include:

  • Offer a better deal or better pricing: Entice clicks with a price of offer that outshines the competition.
  • Provide better value: Make sure the ad highlights something that differentiates your business from the competitor.
  • Add more robust keywords: If you’re using a Google Ad to explain your business, inject more keywords that better showcase the services you offer. Favor factual over cutesy in your ad, though that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice creativity.

Like any Google AdWords campaign you do, the research phase is crucial to make your campaign more competitive. Check out the ads the competitor is running, and devise how you can make yours 10x better.

Avoid Penalties When Targeting Competitors

While you can target a competitor by the search term, what you put into the ad that shows up needs to be carefully considered. According to Google’s advertising policies, if you use a competitor’s trademark in ad tex, you may be violating trademark policies. If you are a reseller or authorized advertiser of the brand that owns the trademark, or if the purpose of the landing page is to provide information about the brand mentioned in the trademark, that is allowed.

So, when you’re targeting competitors, you can’t create an ad that says something like, “Ditch Company X – Try Us Instead!” Likewise, you can’t create an ad description that bashes a competitor. Otherwise, Google can penalize your account, and you may be breaking a trademark law that could result in a lawsuit.

Know that if your own brand is not trademarked, your competitors could be using it in their Google Ads. It’s best to read every detail of Google’s advertising policies and make sure your own brand is covered to notch better results in Google’s paid ads and overall search results.

Ensure Competitor Ads Are an Effective Part of Paid Ads Strategy

There can be downsides to targeting competitors on Google, when bidding wars erupt as brands continually compete against each other. That’s why proper research to find the best competitors to bid on, amazing copywriting and continual ad monitoring and optimization are essential to keep your paid ads cost low. There will also be variances in strategy for ads on different devices, like mobile versus desktop.

Also, you need to make sure your business is truly offering something better than your competition. You’ll want to keep those first-time customers you land as a result of your paid ads.

If you want to cut costs on your paid ads and bring in more new customers and revenue, contact AlphaMind Studios for a free consultation on how we can help you.