If you’re using Google AdWords for the first time, you may be tempted to bid on competitors’ brand terms and key phrases – that’s a cheeky strategy but a valid one considering PPC marketing is so competitive. If your question is whether you can do so, the answer is yes.
But there are a few things to keep in mind before you actually dive in:
#1 Weigh Your Decision Carefully
Google provides a simple set of search advertising guidelines covering various aspects including trademarks. Trademark protection does not cover selecting keywords you can bid on – so legally you can bid on competitors’ brand terms and key phrases.
But why would you want to bid on brand keywords – after all users who type these terms are familiar with the existing business and probably looking for their specific products or services. The truth is bidding on competitor keywords can lead to irrelevant clicks, poor quality score and high CPC.
#2 Benefits of Targeting
But there are several instances where bidding on competitor keywords can get you great online visibility in a cost-effective manner. Brand name keywords are usually cheaper when compared to generic keywords in Google AdWords.
By using these keywords, you can get cheap traffic and entice them with what you have to offer. Brand name keywords may not get you high volume traffic but it is more likely to be well qualified.
#3 Don’t Try to Outbid Competition
So, how do you use competitors’ brand keywords in AdWords management? Well, for a start, don’t get into a bidding war with your competitors thinking it will drive up their cost – in reality, you could end up the bigger loser. Your competitor’s quality score for these keywords is likely to be high and you’re likely to run a high CPC for the traffic you receive.
Moreover, a substantial portion of the traffic will be users who are not interested in your business and are more likely to bounce –this can lead to a lower quality score and higher CPC for you.
#4 Aim for Lower Ad Position
In AdWords management, the right strategy for bidding on competitors’ brand keywords is to always bid low – remember your aim is to get online visibility and not necessarily the top ad position Google search results. Aim for a lower position so that you don’t get too much traffic and you are protected from high bounce rates and poor quality score.
When your ad is placed lower, you are more likely to receive clicks from users who are actively looking for an alternative option.
#5 Don’t Include Competitors Brand Keywords in Ad Copy
One more thing –Google’s has restrictions for using trademarked text in ad copy. Including competitors’ brand keywords in your ad copy is misleading to visitors and can get you flagged by Google. Regular and white label Google AdWords service providers easily avoid competitor brand keywords in standard ad copy and they recommend not using dynamic keyword insertion in a competitor targeting campaign because there’s a high chance of competitors’ brand keywords automatically appearing in ad copy.
#6 Create Competitor Comparison Landing Pages
Ad copy for targeting competitors’ brand keywords should have a unique selling point, and if possible, an offer to lure users away from a brand they are familiar with. Some white label PPC experts recommends setting up competitor specific landing pages where you can provide competitor specific information and also advertise yourself as an alternative with a unique selling proposition. But make sure you provide content that’s relevant to the search term and don’t mislead audience by pretending to be your competitor.
Important takeaways – you can bid on competitors’ keywords but be careful not to violate Google’s terms or mislead audiences!