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The DO’s and DON’T’s of Competitor Bidding on Google Ads

The DO’s and DON’T’s of Competitor Bidding on Google Ads – Transcript

However, if you competitor bid against another small business, be prepared for confrontation because small business is very personal, and of course, if you’re local businesses that’s even more personal.


Competitor bidding on Google Ads is just part of the game. People potentially will try and bid on your brand name and maybe you are considering right now bidding on a competitor’s brand name. This is all part of the Google Ads fun and games. In this video, what we’re going to talk about is whether or not you should be bidding on your competitors and the dos and don’ts of competitor bidding. Let’s get into it. For those newbies who are watching this video, competitor bidding essentially means the act of setting up a campaign or an ad group within a campaign where the keywords are specifically targeting your competitors.

Whichever niche or industry you are in, if off the top of your head, when you think of the competitors in your niche, whether they’re on Google or not, by bidding on their brand name on Google, that is called competitor bidding. There are good ways to do it and there are bad ways to do it. Let’s start off first of all with even answering the question, is it worthwhile? To answer that question, you need to do a bit of a balance because, of course, if you bid on a competitor’s brand name, you have to face the fact that the conversion rate of that bidding will be a lot lower.

Compared to the core terms in your niche in terms of your main services and products, bidding on a competitor will typically convert at a lower rate. To counterbalance that, the good thing about competitor bidding is that even though it’s got a lower conversion rate, you should be able to benefit from cheaper traffic than your core terms because your core main keyword terms are high converting, meaning they’re more competitive and people on your industry are going to be bidding on them, whereas the competitor term is less likely to have a huge amount of people vying for that bid.

That is why it’s a bit of a balance. You have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s right for you. When you get all of that additional traffic volume, is it going to convert? Let’s look at what can make that traffic convert. Let’s start from the very beginning, the first thing people are going to see is, of course, the ads. When they type a competitor’s name into Google, your ad is going to show up next to theirs. This is where you have to win the first battle. If you know your competitor is weak on a particular service or product, or maybe even a price point, this is the place for you to make your claim that you are better than your competitor.

You have to state the better service you provide, you have to state the better pricing you have and the better level of service you have. You have to make that explicitly clear in your competitor bidding advert. There’s more you can do to ads than just that. You could also push the boundaries a lot more and explicitly mention the fact that you know the person is searching for your competitor. Maybe you want to start with a headline, try us instead, or come on, we’re better. There are plenty of examples out there like the old classic battle of Semrush versus SpyFu, which are both PPC and SEO keyword tools.

They had a bit of a bidding war and SpyFu used to run ads against Semrush’s keyword and show adverts like, are you kidding me? Because they want you to think, choose us instead. That is something that draws the eye to their ad as opposed to the initial main competitor’s ad. This is the kind of thing you have to do to think outside the box in order for competitor bidding to work. What about your actual landing page? This is where you can get a bit more bold because unlike putting the competitor term in the ad itself, you can mention your competitors on your landing page, as long as you’re using it in a fair representation.

As long as you’re stating the facts in terms of maybe a price comparison or a service comparison, there’s nothing wrong with bidding on a competitor’s term, having a landing page that explicitly explains why you’re better than your competing business, and then breaking it down that way and inviting the customer to make an informed decision. That is absolutely fine and it’s a good tactic that I’ve seen work in the world of PPC. That’s something you should try if you are thinking about competitor bidding.

If you’re a bit apprehensive about bidding on a competitor’s brand name, you may already have the data you need to make an informed decision of whether it will work because during a campaign running in your main core keyword terms, you’re going to check the search terms report, and within that search terms report, sometimes you’re going to find the odd competitor search, people looking for your main products and service, but also mentioning your competitor. A good example would be if you’re bidding on the term iPhone, for example, you could probably find in the search terms report Walmart iPhone, or ASDA iPhone if you’re based here in the UK.

These top-level brands are also bidding on the same terms you are, but then because of the sheer volume and brand recognition of these huge brands, it’s very likely that some of them will turn up in your search terms report. When you go through that data, you can understand whether or not a competitor’s term will work for you because you’ll already have the data. If it does, then you need to set up a competitor bidding campaign because it means that you can potentially target them as opposed to just getting traffic from their terms in a passive manner. Let’s go into the things you shouldn’t do when it comes to competitor bidding.

I’ve touched on a couple of them already, but to reiterate, do not use your competitor’s name in your ad copy. The reason for this is because a Google Ads is like any other ad, whether it’s a magazine ad in print, whether it’s a billboard outside, it doesn’t matter, the rules still apply. If you mention your competitor in your ad and it’s a trademarked brand name, you may be liable to get sued. Now, of course, the usual process is a cease and desist or something along those lines, or maybe Google will outright ban you when they challenge the trademark because Google, of course, has a form and a process in order for businesses to challenge violation of trademark.

Do not violate trademark, play the safe side, and do not bid on your competitor’s name while mentioning their brand name in your advert because it can lead to more trouble. In addition to that, I did mention you can mention your competitors on your main landing page in a comparative analysis. Now, here you have to also be careful. If you’re comparing prices and your competitor’s price has actually gone cheaper because you haven’t been checking regularly enough, they’ll have a reason to say you’re defaming them or misrepresenting them and that can cause legal issues as well.

Of course, the obvious thing here is, and I’m going to hope my readers and listeners of this video are paying attention, then don’t defame your competitors. Do not just trash them online because, of course, defamation can lead to lawsuits as well. Make sure you’re really above board, you’re on top of the knowledge within your industry, knowing where your competitors are versus you are in terms of your service and your pricing and things like that, or maybe even your reviews and testimonials. Maybe on Trustpilot, your competitor’s got a four-star rating and maybe you’ve got a five-star rating, you can mention that.

Again, if things change, they’ll have a right to come back to you and say you’re misrepresenting things. If you’re going to do this, you have to stay on top of what’s going on. One more thing guys, a word of warning because, of course, if you are bidding on your competitor’s terms and your competitors are huge like Walmart, which is one of the brands I’ve mentioned in this video, they are unlikely to be bothered about you because you’re potentially watching this video as a small or medium-sized business, and they’ve got bigger fish to fry, unless, of course, you’re violating their trademark or defaming them online.

However, if you competitor bid against another small business, be prepared for confrontation because small business is very personal, and of course, if you’re local businesses, that’s even more personal. You probably run in the same circles, you might go to the same business dinners. By starting the competitor bidding war, you are the aggressor. Of course, in the world of Google Ads, you are allowed to bid on a competitor term if it’s getting results for you then it’s fair game and it’s completely fine, but just be prepared for confrontation, whether it’s an angry email, an angry letter, a bit of a sideways glance at the next breakfast meeting or whatever it is in your industry, or the next conference.

Just be prepared because, in a small business world, competitor bidding can get very, very heated. I’ve warned you. There you have it, guys, the dos and don’ts of competitor bidding. Let me know in the comments if you are planning to bid on a competitor, maybe a competitor is bidding on your brand’s name, but let me know in the comments about your situation with competitor bidding. I reply to pretty much every comment I get on new videos, so I can’t wait to talk to you down below this video. Like this video, if you like it, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content across my channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video.