Competitor Bidding: Yay or Nay?

Competitor bidding in paid search: yea or nay?

It depends!

🛑 My initial answer is usually nay, because most advertisers aren’t ready to bid on competitor names.

Competitor bidding can be expensive:
✳ Keywords automatically get low quality scores, pushing CPCs up.
✳ Conversion rates tend to be low – after all, the user was searching for someone who isn’t you.
✳ Competitor keywords can eat up your entire paid search budget!
✳ Close variants mean you might match to other competitors or even your own brand terms 😲

Here’s how to do it successfully:
✳ Set aside a dedicated budget for competitor bidding, separate from your main budget. Look at it as a test. Set reasonable ROAS metrics that are likely worse than your regular search campaigns.
✳ Create a landing page that shows why you’re better than the competition. Name names. It’s critical to be bold here – if you don’t want to name your competitor on your landing page, you’re not ready to bid on their keywords.
✳ Use keywords like “cancel [competitor]”, “alternatives to [competitor]”, and other variants that indicate the user is looking to make a switch. These can be high-converting keywords.
✳ Monitor search queries daily. Relentlessly add negatives to keep things tight. This is going to be even more of a game of whack-a-mole than your regular SQR work, so dedicate yourself to it.

I’d love to hear how you handle competitor bidding!

Originally posted on LinkedIn on January 16, 2024

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