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5 ways to outsmart your paid search competitors4 min read

Digital marketing offers a desirable and unique quality, which allows the marketer to have a clear view on their return on investment (ROI). If you spend even £1, you are able to track your investment right down to the penny.  This is one of the many reasons that advertisers have made a shift to digital.

When Google dominated the largest share of the market, most advertisers followed suit and moved over their paid advertising. This resulted in an increase in competition and saw advertisers spending more than ever before. So how can you avoid falling into this trap and prepare yourself for changes in the landscape?

1. Use Auction Insights in AdWords

Auction Insights can be used within the AdWords platform to determine which competitors are bidding on the same keywords as you. This data will help you assess if your competitors are being more aggressive in their bidding or budget, so that you can build your strategy.

The impression share data details market share, as well as whether you might benefit from an increased budget, quality score, or bids. The overlap rate will show you how often you and the competitor appear in the same auction search results, so that  you can understand how your costs are evolving and therefore tailor your actions:

  • Raise your bids if budget permits
  • Improve your quality score across your account by improving relevance
  • Choose a position where you can get a better ROI

2. Experiment with a different strategy

Should you target first position? Do you need to sustain this position for brand reasons or can you move down to a lower position for a similar return? Moving to a lower position can actually be a great strategic move to help you save costs and avoid affecting your revenue or ROI.

3. Benchmark your competitors’ offer and website

When a user clicks on your ad, they will land on a page, with the intent of finding relevant information about that specific product. From this page they will make a decision on whether to purchase  from you or not. They might also compare different offers online before they make up their mind. In this instance, it makes sense to review your competitors’ offers, prices and website in order to identify any areas where they could be performing better.

What should you be looking at?

  • What are your competition’s strongest value offers?
  • How does your landing page experience compare to your competitors’?
  • How do your prices compare?
  • Do they offer the same product?

4. Try a different search engine – move away from the competition

While most advertisers start their paid advertising on Google, it is of course not the only search engine to offer paid advertising. A number of other search engines are available in many countries and can be a great alternative or addition to drive incremental traffic to your website.

In my role at Croud, we have experienced an uplift of more than 10% in conversions driven through Bing at a fraction of the cost of Google. If, like me, you manage international markets, some local engines represent a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website. In Russia, for example, you should definitely consider running activity on Yandex as they have about 65% of market share there. If you are targeting the Czech Republic, the local search engine Seznam is the second-most popular engine, with about 40% of market share, just below Google.

In China, look at running activity on Baidu, Naver for South Korea, and Yahoo! Japan if you are looking at driving traffic for this market. If you are looking to run search activity in Japan, I recommend reading this blog highlighting the benefit of Yahoo! Japan.

Not only do those search engines generally have less competition than Google, but they also offer unique features that are popular in the countries in which they operate.

5. Run campaigns in a secondary language

If you are running campaigns in different countries, consider running ads in a secondary language in your account. At Croud, we are running secondary language campaigns across a number of European markets and have seen great results from this strategy, with an uplift of up to 20% in conversions, driven at a cost on average 30% lower than the primary language in that market.

Things to remember

Your competitor landscape is constantly changing, and your strategy should be adjusted all the time. Consider all of these options (and more!) to ensure success for your activity.

If you’d like to know more about our award-winning strategy and how we grew revenue by 16% across 107 countries for our client Regus, you can read the case study here.

And if you’d like more information around this topic, get in touch  – we’d love to hear from you.