By Adam Riff | @AdamRiff | SVP, Digital Strategy
Want to feel like a super-spy while learning valuable secrets that can help grow your client’s business?
Here’s how you do it: invest your time and money in paid search marketing (PPC) competitive intelligence and, please, shhh … don’t tell anyone.
As the auction grows more expensive and more complex, it’s critical to have a view into your client’s competitors paid search program, otherwise you’re fighting blind. The simple truth is that PPC is a competition. You’re competing for the world’s most valuable inventory and for the top positions in an auction that you can’t just win with a wallet, but with skill (i.e., your ability to generate click-thru-rate).
Dozens of factors go into winning, of course. One of the critical factors is knowing your opponents. If you don’t know them, it’s going to be difficult to beat them. Competitive Intelligence tools can help you do that, and in this post, I’m going to disclose a few that we use at MediaWhiz to look at some key metrics and some tips on how to use them.
Here you can see the average monthly spend. Ispionage tends to be on the low side of its estimates when it comes to spend, so be sure to cross-reference with KeywordSpy, which tends to report on the high side. It also shows you seasonality which can allow you and your clients to know when to expect more competition and potentially higher returns.
Ispionage will show competitors’ top ads, for what keyword they display, how long the ad has been up and several other metrics which you can leverage for your client.
Besides the basics like CPC, average position, keyword count, etc., one thing I love about Ispionage is that it has a great feature that helps you identify which keywords you and your competitors share.
This can help you in several ways, including the ability to identify what keywords you’re not advertising on that your competitors are, which can spark new growth initiatives to test.
Days Seen and Last / First Seen
Both Isponiage and KeywordSpy report on this, which is essentially a keyword effectiveness metric. The number of days seen metric indicates that if a competitor is bidding on a keyword for a long time, they are probably driving sales from that keyword profitably. Last / First Seen is another metric that indicates recency.
For example, if an advertiser advertised for a long time on a particular keyword but stopped six months ago, it could be an indication the keyword is no longer profitable for your competitor, which could be useful information for your client.
While KeywordSpy shares several metrics with Isponiage, it also has a few unique features. One of which is affiliate data, which tells you how competitive and valuable a particular keyword auction is. If a keyword has a lot of affiliates, it’s probably valuable.
To explain further, since affiliates get paid only a margin of a sale, you might surmise that if affiliates are bidding in that auction it’s because the keyword is effective for them, even at the lower margin. If your client is a direct provider of whatever that product is, their margin is probably higher, which means you can potentially enter that auction with an advantage, i.e., bid higher.
Google Content Publishers
The main feature of Adbeat is that it helps you see which Google Display Network publishers your competitors are advertising on. This is critical information you can leverage to compete across the network.
Google Content Advertisers
Adbeat also shows you the top advertisers on any Google content publishes, such as the following NYTimes.com example:
Adbeat will also show you the top ads on a publisher based on the first / last seen metric, which you can then share with your client and leverage for their campaign.
In conclusion, these tools are useful only if you know what to look for and more importantly, how to turn that intelligence into action for you client. Hopefully this information will help you drive better results for your clients by shedding light on your competition.
There are a lot of other tools and uses for each so please comment below on how you’ve leveraged competitive intelligence for your clients.