How to do a competitive PPC analysis

Digital marketing

How to Conduct a Competitive Analysis for PPC Campaigns

Conducting a competitive analysis for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns is crucial to gain an edge in a highly competitive market. By understanding your competitors’ strategies and approaches to Google Ads, you can enhance your own campaigns and achieve better results. Here are six essential steps to perform an effective PPC competitive analysis:

  1. Identify Your Competitors

    Start by identifying the key players in your industry who are actively running PPC campaigns. Look for companies that target similar keywords and audience segments as your business.

  2. Analyze Their PPC Strategy

    Once you’ve identified your competitors, delve into their PPC strategies. Study their choice of keywords, ad extensions, bidding strategies, and campaign settings. By understanding their approach, you can identify potential areas for improvement or discover new tactics to implement in your campaigns.

  3. Analyze Their Ad Copy and Landing Pages

    Examine the ad copies used by your competitors. Pay attention to their messaging, value propositions, and call-to-actions. Additionally, evaluate their landing pages to understand how they align with their ad campaigns. This analysis can provide insights into effective copywriting techniques and landing page optimization strategies.

  4. Identify Their Target Audience

    Determine the target audience your competitors are aiming for. Assess the demographics, interests, and behaviors they are focusing on. This knowledge can help you refine your own targeting efforts and tailor your campaigns to better reach and engage your desired audience.

  5. Analyze Their Budget and Ad Spend

    Estimate your competitors’ budget and ad spend to gauge the level of investment they are making in PPC advertising. Tools like SEMrush or SpyFu can provide estimates based on keyword data and average CPC (cost-per-click). Understanding their budget allocation can help you make informed decisions about your own campaign budgets and bidding strategies.

  6. Analyze Their Performance and ROI

    Evaluate your competitors’ overall performance in terms of click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI). Analyze their ad positions and ad extensions to identify their success factors. This analysis can help you identify opportunities for optimization and prioritize areas that can yield better results for your campaigns.

By following these steps, you can conduct a comprehensive PPC competitive analysis that will empower you to make data-driven decisions, refine your strategies, and gain a competitive advantage in the PPC landscape.

Step 1: Identify Your Competitors

One of the fundamental aspects of conducting a competitive analysis is to identify your competitors. Regardless of whether you’re a well-established company with extensive knowledge of your competition, it’s essential not to overlook this step. The business landscape is dynamic, and new companies may enter or expand within your industry, becoming potential competitors.

Start by utilizing your in-house resources to identify competitors. Your sales and marketing teams are likely to have insights on who the key players are. Additionally, there are valuable tools available to assist you in this process.

SEMrush is an excellent tool for conducting ad research, providing valuable information on your competitors’ advertising strategies. Moreover, Google Ads Auction Insights offers insights into your ad performance, bidding strategies, and campaign effectiveness compared to your competitors. Utilizing these tools can enhance your competitive analysis and provide a comprehensive understanding of your industry landscape.

Google Ads Auction comparison

Step 2: Analyze Their PPC Strategy

Analyzing the PPC strategy of your competitors is the next step once you have identified them. It is also important to examine how advertisers integrate SEO and PPC strategies to cover both organic and paid channels. Here are some effective approaches to achieve that.

Keyword Research

If you have already conducted a competitive analysis for SEO, you can leverage that information to identify the keywords your competitors are ranking for. However, it’s worth performing a similar exercise specifically for PPC, as there may be terms or phrases that you could miss for paid advertising. Utilize tools like SEMrush’s Keyword Gap tool to identify the keywords your competitors are bidding on. Assess the search volume and cost-per-click (CPC) to evaluate the keyword’s cost-effectiveness. This analysis will help identify potential gaps in your own keyword strategy.

Ad Placement Analysis

Examine where your competitors’ ads are being displayed. Are they primarily appearing on search engine results pages (SERPs), specific websites, or social media platforms like YouTube? Analyze this information to discover potential ad placement opportunities for your own campaigns. Be open to experimentation and assess the performance of your content. You can use tools like Similarweb for this analysis.

Monitor Their Search Results

Utilize paid or free tools, such as the ones mentioned above, to gain insights into your competitors’ search engine rankings, the ad copy they employ, and their ad spend. This information will inform your bidding strategy and ad copy development.

Utilize Ad Intelligence Tools

Ad Intelligence tools like Spyfu provide historical performance data on your competitors’ ad campaigns. This includes their ad spend, click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates. Analyzing these insights will give you an understanding of their successful tactics, enabling you to determine if it’s worth replicating them.

Spyfu dashboard

By implementing these strategies, you can gain valuable insights into your competitors’ PPC strategies and make informed decisions to optimize your own campaigns.

Step 3: Analyze Their Ad Copy and Landing Pages

Analyzing your competitors’ ad copy and landing pages is crucial for optimizing engagement and conversion. If your ad copy or landing page content doesn’t resonate with your audience’s interests and needs, it’s unlikely to generate clicks or retain their attention. Here’s how you can effectively analyze ad copy and landing pages:

Ad Copy Analysis

Examining your competitors’ ad copy can provide insights to improve your own copy performance. Consider how they position their products or services and what unique selling points they emphasize. To conduct this analysis, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are they using specific keywords in their ad copy?
  • What is the tone of their content, e.g., formal, friendly, humorous?
  • What imagery or video content do they use to drive clicks?
  • What type of call-to-actions (CTAs) do they employ?
  • Do the colors used in their ads align with their brand?

Landing Page Analysis

A well-designed landing page can significantly impact your conversion rate. The content should be organized effectively, resonate with your audience, and include a compelling call-to-action (CTA) to drive click-through. Ensure that your landing page copy aligns with the messaging and appearance of the ad that led visitors to it. For example, if someone clicks on a Facebook ad, the landing page should match their expectations in terms of content and visual elements.

Google’s auction report can help you discover your competitors’ top-performing landing pages. Create a list and examine them closely. Identify what aspects are working well and why. Consider areas where you can improve or draw inspiration from.

In this analysis, prioritize conversion rate optimization to maximize your ability to convert prospects into leads or customers.

By analyzing your competitors’ ad copy and landing pages, you can gain valuable insights and refine your own content to enhance engagement and drive conversions.

Step 4: Identify Their Target Audience

Understanding the target audience of your competitors is essential to assess the effectiveness of your PPC targeting and ensure you’re not missing out on potential buyer personas. To gain this insight, conduct thorough research on who your competitors are targeting with their PPC strategies. Consider the following aspects:

  • Channels: Determine the channels they are utilizing for their PPC campaigns.
  • B2B Focus: If it’s a B2B context, identify the job roles or seniority levels they are targeting.
  • B2C Focus: For B2C campaigns, analyze if there is a specific age group or gender profile they are focusing on.

Utilize resources such as SimilarWeb, AHREFs, or Google Ads Keyword Planner to assist in identifying target audiences.

Step 5: Analyze Their Budget and Advertising Spend

In an increasingly competitive landscape where bidding for keywords is challenging and marketing budgets are constrained, optimizing the performance of your PPC campaigns is crucial. Analyzing your competitors’ budgets and advertising spend can provide valuable insights. Consider the following approaches:

  • Ad Intelligence Tools: Utilize ad intelligence tools like Spyfu or AdGooroo to gather information on your competitors’ budgets and spending patterns.
  • Search Engine Rankings: Analyze their search engine rankings to understand their investment in PPC.
  • Monitor Competitor Ads: Keep an eye on how frequently their ads appear and the messaging they use.
  • Online Presence: Assess their online presence, including their activity on social media platforms.
  • Network with Industry Players: Connect with industry experts or peers to gather insights on competitor budget allocations.

By employing these tactics, you can gain a deeper understanding of your industry landscape, identify successful strategies for audience engagement, and make more informed decisions regarding your PPC campaigns.

Step 6: Analyze Their Performance and ROI

Understanding the performance and return on investment (ROI) of your competitors’ PPC activities is crucial. Here’s how you can effectively analyze their performance:

Analyze Industry Benchmarks

To gain insights into your competitors’ performance, it’s valuable to analyze industry benchmarks or standards. Research resources such as Wordstream can provide industry-specific benchmarks for PPC campaigns. This information serves as a starting point to set realistic and achievable key performance indicators (KPIs) for your own campaigns.

Track Key Metrics

To assess performance, track and understand the following key metrics:

  • Average Positions: Monitor the average position your competitors achieve in search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Cost Per Click (CPC): Analyze the average cost per click your competitors incur.
  • Cost Per Lead: Calculate the average cost per lead generated through their PPC campaigns.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): Evaluate the CTR to gauge the effectiveness of their ad campaigns.
  • Impression Share: Measure the proportion of impressions your competitors receive out of the total available.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Determine the average cost per acquisition for your competitors.
  • Conversion Rate: Analyze the conversion rate they achieve from their PPC efforts.

Keep in mind that optimizing PPC campaigns may require time and ongoing analysis, tweaking, and testing. Be willing to iterate and refine your strategies based on the insights gained.

By analyzing your competitors’ performance and ROI metrics, you can gain valuable insights and set realistic benchmarks for your own PPC campaigns. This enables you to make data-driven decisions and continually improve your campaign’s effectiveness.

Joshua Brick
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