Six Ways to Win on your Competitor's Branded Keywords

Occupying your competitor’s SERP space with a pay-per-click ad provides the ability to capture traffic and convert visitors into customers who may have had previous intentions of spending their money elsewhere.

While bidding on the branded terms of your competitors is not an innovative practice, poor execution is something we see over and over again. Poor execution when buying on your competitor’s brand names is a terrific way to flush your ROAS down the drain.

When looking to go after this type of paid traffic, it is important to look at two sides of the paid search user journey- first, your account and campaign setup as the advertiser, and secondly, the experience visitors are taken through on your website after clicking your ad. Tying those two pieces together is your best chance for success when advertising on your competitor’s branded search terms.

Below are six actionable tips to implement immediately when bidding on competitor brand terms:

First, we will start in your PPC account.

1. Dedicate a specific budget

Set aside a portion of your account budget dedicated just for generating traffic from the brand names of your competitors.

When assigning this budget, go ahead and throw away your last-click attribution model and account-wide performance metrics— these types of campaigns typically convert at much lower rates than other traditional paid search ventures.

2. Separate competitor brands into individual campaigns

Search volumes are going to vary depending on the size discrepancy of your competition. If you set up one campaign to hold all competitor keywords, the competitors with the highest search volume will end up spending the highest portion of your campaign budget. Your largest and most searched for competitor should not necessarily dictate that they are your most important competitor.

To give those less searched for yet still important competitors a chance to have their customer base captured, segment each competitor into its own campaign to ensure your budget is spent under your control.

3. Customize ad copy

Find a way to make a connection between the users search query and your ad. It goes along with that whole relevance thing. Just because you are in the same industry as your competitor, a searcher may not know that and may have never heard of your company. This is your first chance to introduce yourself and create a connection between your company and your competitor.

Example ad

Wading through the waters of Google’s trademark policy can be tricky when potentially dealing with trademarked brand names.

Finding a clever way to incorporate both your brand name and your competitor’s into an ad can position yourself for a huge win, leading to strong click through rates.

Once a user clicks on an ad, we must shift our attention to landing page experience.

4. Solidify a connection between your company and your competitor

Once a user hits your landing page, solidify the bridge between you and the specific competitor that user was searching for. Your visitor is familiar enough with your competition to search for their brand name- they probably know that competitor’s product line and the need it fulfills. Your ad created the connection for them, your landing page should drive home that connection.

Landing page example

5. Directly highlight why you are better

You know your product. You should know your competitor’s product. Now speak directly to why you are better. You have to convince a visitor who had the intent of learning about an alternative solution that you are the best option. Directly call out what you do better than a given competitor.
In an ideal world, set up an individual landing page designed around each competitor you plan on competing directly with.

6. Funnel to a soft conversion

Once your ad is clicked on, a connection is made, and persuasive messaging compels a visitor, look to convert them through a soft conversion. Free trials, whitepaper downloads, and free product samples are good ways to do this.

Provide great value to them at no charge— that can motivate visitors back to your core offerings, which is where you collect revenue and tie back value with your paid ads.

By following these six actionable tips, you can begin driving value on your competitor-based paid search terms.

What techniques have you used to drive value when bidding on competitor branded search terms?



Chad Kearns

Vice President of Client Solutions
Vice President of Client Solutions

Chad is responsible for helping guide Portent’s service offerings and execution. With Portent since 2012, Chad is passionate about ensuring clients receive top-notch service and results from our team. Outside of Portent, Chad loves to be outside- hiking, playing soccer, skiing, and cheering on his Seattle sports teams.

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