Utilizing a Competitive Bidding Strategy

Paid search competitive bidding is when a brand directly bids on a competitor’s brand name as keywords. If you can successfully show up on competitor’s search terms, this offers a great opportunity to gain visibility for your brand. Since competitor terms are another company’s branded terms, and therefore generally more high intent, getting in front of those customers may convert well relative to other non-brand terms. Competitive campaigns vary from general non-brand campaigns due to the nature of the keyword you are bidding on. While non-brand campaigns include generic product keywords, competitor campaigns will include the specific brand name of your competitor.

Competitive campaigns are a valuable tool for client growth, since all conversions are incremental, and you would likely lose that customer to the competitor if you were not bidding on those terms.

Benefits of Competitive Bidding

  • MORE QUALIFIED TRAFFIC: By interrupting the consumer’s purchase decision making path, you can control the messaging a user observes on a competitor’s brand name. You can also utilize unique ad copy that focuses specifically on why your brand is better than the competitors’ or have a more promotional-heavy ad to try and “steal” that conversion
  • INCREMENTAL VOLUME: If your primary business goal is growth, competitive bidding can be used as a lever to provide more conversion volume. Although the conversions may cost more than generic non-brand conversions, these conversions will be incremental and can drive additional traffic to your campaigns
  • POTENTIALLY LOWER CPAs: Not every brand bids on their own branded search terms. This is a unique opportunity for cheaper CPCs (Cost-per-click) and therefore cheaper CPAs (Cost-per-acquisition) if you decide to bid on a competitor’s branded terms and can convert the user who is searching for the competitor

 

Challenges of Competitive Bidding

  • LOWER QUALITY SCORES: Google will automatically know you are bidding on a competitor’s branded terms and may make you pay a premium for that click due to having a lower Quality Score. Additionally, your ads will appear on the search engine results page less frequently, which can inhibit traffic on competitive campaigns
  • LEGAL CONCERNS: Although there is nothing that prevents you from bidding on a competitor’s brand name as a keyword, there are legal concerns when using competitors brand name in your ad copy. Google prohibits ads that contain trademarks owned by another company, and companies may submit appeals if they notice a competitor’s ad contains their brand name
  • POTENTIAL BIDDING WAR: If your competitor is bidding on their own branded terms, you may not be able to gain their branded traffic without paying a premium. If you and your competitor continue to bid on the same terms, it may result in higher costs, since their Quality Score will be inherently higher, and due to having a lower Quality Score, you will be forced to increase your bid

Overall, utilizing a competitive bidding strategy can be beneficial if your brands primary goals are growth or brand exposure. They provide a way to interrupt a consumer’s decision-making journey and convert them to your brand instead of competitors offering similar products. Additionally, if people are searching for another competitor within your industry, they are most likely in-market for something you provide. By advertising on competitor terms, you can increase your brand awareness and start to make these potential customers aware of your brand instead of the competition.

As with any new tactics, testing a competitive campaign and comparing to other non-brand campaigns may prove to be beneficial before investing a large portion of your budget into the competitive marketplace. Contact the experts at Scale Marketing if you’re looking to level-up your paid search competitive bidding strategy.