Why You Should Use Your Competitors’ Names As PPC Keywords

white ladder reaching towards red and white target

Why You Should Use Your Competitors’ Names As PPC Keywords

Are you running Google Ads for your business? Displaying ads against searches on Google for your brand or the products and services you offer?  

Have you thought about using your competitors’ brand names as keywords as well? By bidding on your competitors’ names, you can appear at the top of searches for them, even if they rank #1 organically

Why You Should Use Your Competitors’ Names As Keywords
If you don’t bid on your competitors’ names, you’re missing out on a large audience of potential customers. Customers that you know are interested in businesses like yours. Why? Think about it – if a customer is searching for your competitors, they’re probably just as ready to make a purchase as someone who’s searching for your business. 

At Carden Digital, we often build competitor campaigns for PPC (pay per click) clients. Some of our clients’ PPC accounts actually get more sales and leads from people searching for their rivals than for their own brand name! One explanation for this is that a user who is searching for one of your competitors is farther along the sales funnel. They’ve already gone through the research stage and are at the point where they are ready to contact a business. 

Think about this example – one user searches for “fun holiday ideas” and another user searches for the name of a travel agency. Which one do you think is closer to booking a holiday at that moment? If you can swoop in with a compelling ad which makes them choose you over the competitor, you can win that sale.  

How To Make A Competitor Campaign  

  • Go to Google Ads and make a new campaign called ‘competitor campaign’. 
  • To start with, use a low daily budget. If you think this campaign is working, you can always scale it up later with a bigger budget. 
  • You should already know who your biggest competitors are, so add their brand names as keywords. If you only operate in your local area, then choose competitors in the local area as well. 
  • You should also add these competitor keywords as negatives to your other campaigns. This will prevent ads from your other campaigns from being displayed on searches for your competitors.
  • Write a responsive ad with headlines and descriptions that you think would appeal to someone who is searching for your competitors. Don’t just copy an ad from one of your other campaigns.  

A user who is directly searching for your competitors is farther along their customer journey than a user who is searching for more general terms, you should write your ad to reflect this.

For example; if you’re a double-glazing installer, and the user is searching for one of your competitors, they are probably already convinced by the benefits of double glazing, so don’t waste ad space talking about how energy efficient they are, instead focus on why the user would choose you over the competitor they searched for. Advertise your prices, special offers and reputation instead.

How To Write An Ad Which Will Appeal To Your Competitors’ Customers
Don’t just copy an ad from one of your other campaigns. Because a user who is directly searching for your competitors is farther along their customer journey than a user who is searching for more general terms, you should write your ad to reflect this. 

If you’re a double-glazing installer, and the user is searching for one of your competitors, they are probably already convinced by the benefits of double glazing, so don’t waste ad space talking about how energy efficient double glazing is. Instead, focus on why the user would choose you over the competitor they searched for. Advertise your prices, special offers and reputation instead. 

Running Your Competitor Campaign 
After you’ve set up your competitor campaign, you should regularly check the search terms of your other campaigns. If you see the names of other competitors show up in there, you should add them to your competitor campaign and add them as negatives to your other campaigns. 

Some of your competitors might not be happy that you’re running ads against searches for them, but there is nothing illegal about it, nor is it against Google’s rules. In fact, it is a standard marketing strategy for paid search ads. That said, be honest – don’t use your competitor’s name in your ads, and don’t try and impersonate them. Instead, write an ad that convinces a potential customer that your business is the best choice. 

Be careful not to use dynamic keyword insertion in your ad or on your landing page if you are targeting a competitor’s name as a keyword, as this could mean you end up inadvertently displaying a competitor’s name in your ads.  

If you start seeing this campaign is converting and getting you leads or sales, you might want to increase the budget of your competitor campaign. 

If you use call extensions on your account, you should disable them for your competitors campaign. Otherwise, you will end up getting a lot of calls from users who search for a competitor and then click on the phone number without reading the ad. They’ll think they are calling your competitor’s numbers and both they, and your team will be annoyed by the confusion. Remember that you are not trying to trick people into choosing your business. Instead, you are trying to convince them that your business is the better choice. 
 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to the benefits of competitor campaigns and how to set one up. If you would like professional help creating a variety of different PPC campaigns for your business, speak to our team today.

Dave King

Dave King

Dave King is the Co-Founder and Director of Carden Digital and the wider Carden IT Group. Dave’s background is in IT services, but he has experience across the online space. His love of all things digital lead him to create a digital marketing branch of the business, with a focus on paid advertising, SEO, web development, social media, graphic design and content writing.