Why You Should Keep an Eye on Your Competitors’ Pay-Per-Click Activities and How to Do It

15 May 2017

Why You Should Keep an Eye on Your Competitors’ Pay-Per-Click Activities and How to Do It

At this point in time, regardless of whether you’re running a large business or a small one, you should be aware of the importance of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and of the fact that making the most of it means being constantly on the lookout for ways to fine-tune it to make it even more cost-effective.

You’re probably familiar with looking at customer metrics, but have you looked to see what your competitors are doing?

A wise man learns from the mistakes of others

Wise people also learn to identify what other people are doing well and to adapt successful strategies for their own use. Your competitors may have thought of something you’d hitherto missed.

If nothing else, taking time to undertake proper competitive analysis will help to give you a clear picture of where you stand relative to other companies in a similar area.

First of all, you need to identify who your competitors are. You may have a good idea of this already, but try putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and doing some research on the internet to see if any other names crop up. Once you’ve identified the key players in your area, take a good look at their products and/or services and see how they compare with yours.

Now you know who they are and what they do, it’s time to look at how they do it. What approach do they take and what are the strengths and weaknesses of their strategy both in and of itself and as compared to yours?

After all that, ask yourself this: is your competitor really a threat to you? If they are then you need to look at how you’re going to counter that threat. You may, however, find that even if a company works in a similar niche, they actually cater to a different market segment, in which case, there may be scope for fruitful cooperation.

The right tools for the job

The importance of competitor analysis is such that there is a whole range of tools available for all levels of skill and budget. We’ve picked out three of the best.

1. Free - SEMrush

This is actually freemium rather than free, but the free version is enough to get you started if you’re just feeling your way forward. With the free edition, you enter your competitors’ websites and you’ll be able to see the text of their adverts and get a basic level of feedback on the keywords they use. Although SEMrush as an effective tool, the chargeable version might be somewhat on the expensive side for SMEs.

2. Entry level - iSpionage

There is actually a free version of this too, albeit with very restricted functionality. The chargeable edition, however, is very affordable. It provides much the same information as SEMrush, but the advantage of paying the monthly fee is that you can use it to build new campaigns based on the information it returns.

3. Intermediate - SpyFu

The basic version of SpyFu costs quite a bit more than iSpionage, but less than the chargeable version of SEMrush. In addition to providing you with statistics about your competitors’ advert copy and the keywords they use, you also get to see their estimated budget, clicks and ad position. This allows you to target the most profitable keywords in your area and eliminate ones that cost more than they are worth.