Improve PPC with digital competitive intelligence

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Richard Stokes
Richard Stokes

Perhaps more than any other form of marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) is about direct, head-to-head competition. The focal point of PPC marketing is the competitive bidding to gain a higher search position and page number than your competitors. Additionally, search engines are increasingly determining which ads will be shown and which will not by using relevance via quality score and high demand for ad placement to judge advertisers against one another.

Running a PPC campaign in a silo, without any regard to what competitors are doing, is likely to waste a lot of money and effort on ineffective campaigns. Savvy PPC marketers can avoid these pitfalls by using digital competitive intelligence. 

The practice works by tapping into a broad range of data obtained from all of the search engines. It provides marketers with vital information such as competitor's specific keywords, budgets, landing pages and ad copy, as well as any changes that are made in their bid prices, impressions and traffic. This crucial data can help determine if a competitor is better positioned within your top keywords and how to use that insight to reduce their advantage. 

As an example, digital competitive intelligence can send an alert when competitors make improvements to their quality score and bids, enabling a counteraction in your own search campaigns. As any search marketer knows, PPC campaigns that are left alone to self-manage invariably decline within a few months, mainly due to aggressive steps by competitors to improve their own performance.

Monitoring ad copy and landing pages is another key area of digital competitive intelligence. Gaining an understanding of which competitors' ads are served most often, as well as the best performing landing pages in your brand category, can save considerable time in creating a successful campaign.

Digital competitive intelligence can also be an important tool to simply identify search competitors. Virtually every company has a good idea of their top competitors, yet very few know their biggest threats on the search engines. For search marketers, identifying your top five competitors in each search engine or country will help you focus your campaigns and save considerable time and effort.

Marketers who utilize digital competitive intelligence are faster, more nimble and better able to fight off the competition's efforts to overtake them. This can be a significant advantage — particularly when facing larger, well-funded competitors.

Richard Stokes is the founder and CEO of AdGooroo. Reach him at

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