How Google Adwords Management Agencies research Competitors
A common technique for business owners starting their Google Adwords journey is researching what their competitors are doing. For some, this almost becomes an obsession. While you usually should be more concerned with your account than your competitors, it can help see what they are targetting. In this article, I will review some methods I use as a PPC consultant for competitor research. This list will not be all-inclusive but are my preferred methods for discovering this info.
Competitor Research – Tips from a PPC Consultant
Google Adwords Management Agencies usually have a few paid tools to dig into competitor traffic. These tools can vary in price, some with pretty high monthly or yearly fees. These show what keywords your competitors bid on, the ads they use, and even estimate monthly Google Adwords budget. This can be extremely helpful when first building out campaigns, especially if you know your competitor has been using Google Adwords for awhile. It’s likely that if they’ve been advertising for years that the campaigns have some level of profitability.
The tool we use is Spyfu, and it works perfectly for this. The pricing is reasonable for most businesses, but there are multiple tools out there, and I can’t speak for other tools.
Google Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent option if you have no paid tools at your disposal. You can search for terms relevant to your business or industry and see data for related search terms. It shows estimates for monthly volume and even the competitiveness of each keyword. Using this data, you can formulate what keywords in your industry are the most competitive and what campaigns might look like. Now the Google Planner will not show competitors’ campaigns, but you can begin to piece it together with enough digging.
Your Own Google Search Research
You may have been expecting more intricate tips from a PPC consultant, but don’t underestimate the power of a simple Google search. Start searching for the keywords you would like to bid on. Take notes on the ad results. See who is showing up, look at their ad copy, and messaging. Try different variations on the keywords and see who is showing up on top consistently. If one competitor is showing at the top of the page always, you know who is being more aggressive. If no ads show up for a search term, maybe this is an opportunity for your new campaign. Or perhaps there is a reason no one is bidding on these terms for a reason. Either way, you can learn so much just with your searches and thinking through the search results page.
Google’s Ad Preview Tool
This is particularly useful if you are not in the same location that your campaigns are targeting. Working for a Google Ads Management service agency means I am usually not in the same area as my clients. So this is a technique I use often. The preview tool will allow you to change your search location and show you a sample of the results. This will show you what the SERP looks like in your targeted area, or you can test out different locations within your targeted location. All the same techniques from the previous section also apply here.
Competitor research can be useful research for your purposes. This will give you an idea of the state of your industry’s search traffic performance and volume. For the most part, a paid tool will work best here, but some of the other methods mentioned can be just as effective. As a PPC consultant, I always recommend creating a competitor campaign and bidding on your competitor’s terms. This will allow you to leverage their traffic and drive it to your website. The exact dynamics of this are a topic for another post.