How to beat your closest competitor using Google Ads

Rob Laver | 20th November 2018 | Paid Media

Google Ads is a highly competitive advertising platform. Every time your ad is displayed, you take part in an auction whereby your ad is pitted against the ads of your competitors.

It is therefore essential to keep a close eye on your competitors and their marketing strategies.

The position that your ad attains is affected by a number of factors such as:

  • Your maximum bid
  • Relevancy to search terms
  • The relevancy of your ad
  • The relevancy of your landing page
  • The performance of your ads in previous auctions

There are several beneficial strategies you can employ to beat your closest competitor using Google Ads.

Auction Insights report

In your Google Ads account, use the Auction Insights report to gain some insight into who you are competing with in your paid search campaigns. This report allows you to analyse your competitors on a keyword by keyword basis.

To access this report, click into your search campaign and then select the keywords tab:

In this report, you’ll see a list of your competitors, as well as the following metrics:

  • Impression share
  • Average position
  • Overlap rate
  • Position above rate
  • Top of page rate
  • Outranking share

Use this data to find your closest competitor, looking mainly at the outranking share column. This column indicates how many times your ad has ranked higher than your competition.

For some advertisers, this information is all they need to make any adjustments. You can however go one step further using Google’s target outranking share.

Target Outranking Share

Targeting Outranking Share is a Google Ads strategy which gives an advertiser the potential to outrank a specific competitor on Google search.

The target outranking share strategy automatically adjusts your bids on a daily basis, with the aim of outranking the ads from a chosen competitor. This bidding method isn’t intended to hit a specific average position, but rather to outrank a particular competitor.

If you know a specific competitor is always achieving position 1 for a specific group of keywords, you could use the target outranking share method to appear above them in search engine results pages (SERPs). However, do bear in mind that the primary goal of outranking share is to appear above your chosen competitor regardless of position.

Therefore, if your competitor is achieving an average position of 5, Google may adjust your bid so that you appear in position 4 and regard that as a win. With this in mind, ensure that your competitor is placing in a good average position before using target outranking share.

Some other things to consider before using the target outranking share include:

  • This strategy, even if it is a loss making proposition, will continue to outrank the selected domains. The emphasis of this strategy is not to drive conversions or clicks, but to rank higher than your competition. Therefore, it’s very important to keep a close eye on the overall performance of an account when implementing an outranking strategy
  • You can only outrank one competitor at a time. Therefore, you need to ensure that the selected domain to outrank is still a tough competitor that is affecting the performance of your ads
  • During the setup process, you are asked to set a maximum bid, allowing you to control your overall budget. Therefore, if your competitors are also using this strategy, it will continue to increase bids until one of you hits your max bid limit

Using keyword planner differently

Typically, most advertisers view Google keyword planner as a means of generating keyword ideas for their own campaigns and adverts. However, it can be an effective tool to gain an advantage over your competitors.

By entering some of your competitors’ URLs into the search bar on the keyword planner, the results may display keyword ideas that you have never thought of using. As these keyword ideas came from a competitor’s site, it is likely they are already being utilised by your competitor.

There are many methods to test and utilise within Google Ads to beat your closest competitor.

Some advertisers may even recommended bidding on your competitors’ brand terms as a means of diverting some of your competitors’ traffic and providing an alternative offer to the user.

The benefits of bidding on other brands’ terms are very limited and if you have a limited budget, we would suggest testing the other methods initially.

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