10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About AdWords


About AdWords

Are you fighting a losing battle with the competition for Google rankings?  If you are, it costs nothing to do some surveillance on your competition, and see what they are doing with AdWords that you are not.  With your AdWords account, you can easily find out what they are doing, and how you are faring against them.

If you do it with a number of your employees, you can also at the same time skew their pay-per-click metrics, so what are you waiting on?

In addition, there are several features about AdWords that your competition is likely using to fine tune their ad campaigns.  You need to learn what they are, where to find them, and what they can do for you in order to complete in a more effective manner.

You will also find a number of other hints and tactics that you can use in order to catch up, or to stay ahead of the competition.  So read on and find out the clandestine moves you can make to spy on, learn from, and better compete with the people in your industry in the short and long run.


Using AdWords To Snoop On Your Competition

Most likely, the majority of the traffic coming to your web site is from a set of keywords that are working well for you.  You can gather some intelligence from these alone, and you should find out where the competition is showing up on the page.  AdWords can provide you with a great deal of data for any keyword, if there is enough traffic for it.

To get your hands on that data, pick a keyword you are sure is generating high volume, or a group of keywords you feel are responsible, and using the Keywords tab, click the box(es) for the ones you have chosen.  Open the Details drop down, and choose the Auction Insight selection.

This will display a report on the keyword that will give you an idea of how you are doing, and who it is you are competing with.  Delve deeper and take a look at the Overlap Rate, and Top of Page Rate.  These will show you how are doing compared to your competition.  With these numbers in hand, you can tell if you need to take some action to get a head in front of the competition.  If you are far behind, do not make the mistake of giving in and upping a bid too much, as that seldom works out.  If you are doing well compared to the competition, you know you’re doing a good job and can move on to analyze some other keywords.


AdWord Features Your Competition Is Probably Using – That You Should Be 

The world of AdWords is dynamic.  Change is constant, and new Pay-per-click (PPC) features are always coming online.  It is important to your business to stay on top of these developments in order to keep up.  Here are some that you may not be aware of.

Above-the-Fold CPM Biding in the Display Network

Lots of studies have been performed as far as what is best, above or below the fold ad placement.  Most of those studies concluded that above the fold gives you the best chance to get a click from a user.

Image Ad Creator

If you have never explored this feature, you may be pleasantly surprised at the things you can create using it.  It is also a better alternative to creating .swf files with Adobe Flash.  With the Image Ad Creator, you can create rich media ads in a matter of seconds, with a number of different pixel dimensions.

If you need a quick lesson on using the Image Ad Creator, click here and see how is it done.

AdWords Scripts

This may be a bit too much for those who are not technically-savvy, but do not let that discourage you.  You can use them for tasks including bulk changes, account alerts, and reporting.  They are also useful in automating any PPC task you may have.

One of the more interesting things they can do for you is tracking account campaigns, and ad group quality score (QS).  With the AdWords interface, you can only see QS at the keyword level.  But if you use AdWords scripts, you can make daily, weekly, and monthly reports that give you a better overall feel for your overall quality score.  This data can then be used to determine if the changes you are making are helping your account QS, or hurting it.

Auction Insights

Wouldn’t you like to know who is bidding on one of your keywords?  Would you like to know how much better, or how much worse they are doing than you are?  You need to use the Auction Insights feature to find out.

This feature is located within the keywords tab.  You can select one or more keywords, by checking the box next to them.  In the drop down menu, select Details and then Auction Insights to get the information you want to know.  The metrics displayed will give you a good idea how you are doing in comparison to the competition.

This is a feature you need to be looking at on a very regular basis.

Search Terms Report

This is a feature you should be using at least on a weekly basis, or better yet even daily.  This gives you amazing insight, as it shows you what web site visitors have actually typed to make your ad show up.  You can use this key data to add new keywords that you really should be bidding on.  You can also use this to exclude keywords that are not performing for you.

You can find this amazing feature by clicking on the Details tab within keyword view.  Pick Selected for one of more keywords, or check All to see the report for all of the keywords you have in your view.

Again, if you are not using this vital feature, you need to be on at least a weekly basis, and use the information you get to make any needed adjustments.  You may just find a bargain on a keyword that can make a large difference in your ad campaign right now.  It’s never going to be as cheap as using the best SEO company Toronto has, but you can also save money by discarding those keywords that are not getting the job done for you.

Keyword Diagnosis

You can use this feature to determine if your keywords are pulling from the right search terms.  You can also find out if other keywords are competing with others.  This diagnosis will tell you if your keywords are showing up, and if they are not, why they aren’t.

This vital tool can tell you of internal competition between keywords, and to ensure the correct search  ads are showing up for the correct search terms, information that you need to know about.  You will find that handy feature in the same drop down as the Search Term report and the Auction Insights report.

Home tab

It is very easy to overlook the Home tab.  It can be found on the top of the AdWords interface, as it is a green horizontal navigation bar.  Here you can find a number of very interesting things including:

  • Announcements and alerts
  • High quality, but low traffic keywords
  • Keywords below first page bid
  • New keywords suggested to improve traffic
  • Disabled ads, keywords, and campaigns

Google makes it a habit to add new modules which you can toggle on or off at your pleasure.  If you want to make the Home tab a starting point, instead of the Campaigns tab, scroll all of the way to the end of the page and check the box located on the left hand side of the page.

AdWords Editor

If you are short on time, but need to optimize a large number of keywords and ads, this is the feature you need.  With this tool, you can make offline changes to your account.  You may then upload the changes at any time you wish.

It also has a very handy search function, and a filter function.  You will also find an advanced bid changes function, and with some practice, you can get very good in a short amount of time editing in this manner.  You will need to download this feature from Google by clicking here.

Time lag reporting

If you are in the business of selling high-priced items or services, and if you need to know the buying cycle of your customers, you need this feature.  The search funnel report will let you know the exact time it takes for an average visitor to your web site to convert.

It can give you good clues as to how your web site and marketing are doing.  If it takes a buyer as long as 7 days to make a purchase, instead of completing it within a single day, it is time to start redoing your marketing approach.

You may only use this Time lag report if you are keeping track of conversions.  Here is how to find it if you want to use it.  Go to the Tools and Analysis tab, and click on Conversions.  Next, choose Search Funnels, which you will find in the left hand corner on the bottom of the screen.

Next, you will be shown a number of options from which you may choose Time Lag.  Now you can take a look at the time lag of conversions, and you may be surprised to find that most of them happen within a day of a visitor first getting a look at your ad.

All of these AdWord features are designed to help you get more out of your account, and drive sales.  Chances are, your competition is using them against you right now.  Don’t delay, learn how to use these features, and take action based on the information they provide you with.  You’ll soon be on your way to more successful ad campaigns.

What To Do If You Are Just Starting Out Or Are Optimizing An Account

You can work as hard as you possibly can, by either launching a new AdWords account, or optimizing one that already exists.  You have put all of your ideas into action, done lots of testing, and have a campaign you feel is mature.  But this is where the real fun starts.

Once again, it may be to your advantage to mine some data from the competition.  You need to go beyond just using your AdWords or the internet to find out what keywords they are purchasing in order to get the highest possible Google ranking.  If at all possible, some of the best information can be had by hiring people who once worked at your competitors, and get all of the information you possibly can from them.

You can gain insights on how they do their sales processes, and even find out things such as their long and short-term strategies.

If you are worried about ethics, or whether or not spying on the competition is a moral issue, keep in mind this is how business has worked around the world for a long, long time.  It will continue to work this way for as long as there is a civilized world.

If you still have a few qualms, keep this in mind.  If you are enjoying any type of success with your business and your AdWords campaign, you can rest assured that they are looking very closely at you.  It is simply the way business is done, and if you are not learning from your competition, chances are, you are on your way out of business in today’s dynamic global economy.