Staying ahead of the competition can be challenging in certain industries, but in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising there are tools that can help to drive strategy, bidding, and ad messaging.
Within both Google AdWords and Bing Ads, advertisers have access to “Auction Insights” reporting. At the campaign, ad group, or keyword level, this report shows the competing domains and makes comparisons to other advertisers participating in the same auction so you can see how you stack up.
In this report, there are three metrics that are particularly interesting:
- Overlap rate: The percentage of time the you and the competitor received impressions at the same time
- Position above rate: The percentage the competitor’s ad was shown in a higher position on the page when your ad was also served
- Top of page rate: The percentage of times the competitor was shown in the top spots above the search results, compared with your own
Find “Auction Insights” in the “Details” drop-down box on applicable views.
AdWords recently launched a new feature in the Keyword Planner that allows you to compare impression share on new keyword ideas in a market category, not those currently in the account. This provides insights into how several competitors compare for your potential new keyword list.
A market leaders-view shows the domains of the top five leaders and the average ad impression share.
You will find this in the Keyword Planner main graph by “compare to competitors domains” and also “compare to market leaders.”
Ad Preview Tool
The Ad Preview Tool is available in both AdWords and Bing Ads. It can help to assess the competitive landscape: for example, which advertisers are being served in the search results page and what ad copy messaging they are using. Enter in a keyword to determine if your ad is showing for that particular keyword. A great feature of this tool is the ability to select a location to view the results and to compare different geo-locations. The views can also be further segmented by device: desktop, tablet or mobile, offering a chance to see how ads vary from one device to the next.
Find this under “tools” then “ad preview and diagnostics.”
Once the competition is reviewed on current keywords – in preview mode – and for potential opportunities, start out with a few simple actions to get competitor research up and running.
- Use the Ad Preview Tool to see how a competitor is using mobile and how it compares to their desktop ads.
- Using Auction Insights, examine your top-performing campaigns and determine if you should try to increase bids. You can also use the Quality Score to get better ad rankings, compared with other keyword advertisers.
- With Keyword Planner, you can determine areas for growth and find top competitors to monitor through the course of the campaign.
These tools are a great starting point to kick off a competitive strategy and are included in AdWords and Bing Ads accounts, with no additional costs.