Leveraging Competitor PPC Analysis for Optimized Returns

competitor ppc analysis

As you begin your digital marketing journey to grow your business, you’ll encounter numerous methods for expanding your audience and converting them into satisfied customers. One such method involves an in-depth competitor PPC analysis, which allows you to gauge what your competition does with their pay-per-click efforts. Like other forms of competitor research, an analysis of a competitor’s PPC campaign helps you uncover what works best within your industry. 

Bear North Digital, an ecommerce PPC agency, specializes in assisting business owners with comprehensive competitor analysis. Their expert team created the following guide to help you evaluate how your approach compares to your competitors. Continue reading to discover how extensive PPC competitor research could improve your brand’s online performance and profitability. 

What Does Pay-Per-Click Mean?

First, you need to understand a few basics before diving into the gritty details. Pay-per-click refers to a digital advertising strategy in which you pay a set rate when a searcher clicks on your advertisement. PPC appeals to many business owners because they only pay for each click. 

On the other hand, clicks don’t always translate into conversions. Although you only pay for each click, the audience member may not follow through with your preferred call to action. Therefore, developing competitive advertising strategies is essential to a PPC campaign’s return on investment.  

What Does PPC Analysis Entail?

Throughout the duration or at the end of a PPC campaign, a digital marketer performs a PPC analysis. This analysis thoroughly examines key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the campaign’s success. A KPI is a preset metric that measures a desired activity. 

For example, you launch a PPC campaign to convert searchers into customers and participants in your end-of-summer clothing sale. The KPIs you identify might include:

  1. The number of ad clicks leading to the sale’s landing page 
  2. The number of times a visitor clicked the call to action
  3. The sales originating from the ad’s landing page

Therefore, your PPC analysis would evaluate your ad’s effectiveness at eliciting the desired reaction and whether that reaction inspired the listed series of actions. You would then use the ad campaign analysis to tweak various elements and increase ad performance. 

A PPC campaign for chosen competitors works similarly. However, you use the information you gather from their PPC ads to determine what might work best for your brand. This eliminates much of the guesswork involved in launching a campaign from scratch.   

Elements of a Competitor PPC Analysis

What does your competitor’s PPC strategy do for your business? After all, they tailor their ad elements to fit their brand, not yours. By performing a preliminary competitor analysis, you’ll discover:

  • What they do correctly: When you understand what performs well for other brands in your industry, you can use similar elements to enhance your performance. 
  • What they do incorrectly: You’ll know what you should avoid to ensure your campaign’s success. 
  • The budgets they use: Find out how your budget compares to theirs. If they spend more on their campaigns, they demonstrate that PPC is worth the resources. 
  • Ideas for positioning: How are their ads positioned on a feed? How much space do they take up? These specifics assist you in catching your audience’s attention. 
  • Which keywords they use: Keyword bidding strategies might confuse business owners who are new to PPC. However, examining which keywords your competitors use gives you an edge. 

What should you study during your analysis? Check out a few ideas below.  

Break Down Their PPC Components

Interact with various PPC ads published by your competitors. This approach puts you in the shopper’s shoes while you scan each element with the keen eye of a business owner. You should carefully examine the following items:

  • Ad design: The design involves how your competition places certain elements. For example, you might notice most ads feature calls to action on the bottom or right side of the ad, depending on the ad’s platform. 
  • Ad copy: How does each advertisement capture your attention? Some might declare a generous discount with a coupon code. Others may feature more artistic prose that reflects your search terms. 
  • Landing page: Click the ad and explore the landing page that follows. How does your competition format the page? What visual and textual elements do they implement? 

Take screenshots of each PPC component that impresses you. Examine it with a critical eye when you begin your competitor PPC analysis later. 

Pinpoint Their Weaknesses and Strengths

If you feel inspired by the content you encounter, you have a better idea of what effectively targets your audience. However, you must also identify where the ads fall short and determine what you would change to improve its performance. Consider the following pay-per-click optimization details as you perform your analysis:

  • Digital marketing platform: Where do the PPC ads appear? Digital marketing encompasses various platforms, such as social media and search engines. Do the ads appear in locations where the audience congregates?  
  • Keyword usage: Do the keywords your competitors implement perfectly match high-performing keywords? Do they avoid negative keywords? A well-rounded PPC ad involves positive and negative terms tailored to the audience and what the business offers. 
  • Page usage: Some brands take a lackadaisical approach to linking within their ads. While you can link your generic product and service pages, you should publish customized landing pages for specific products or sales events. Does a competitor slack on designing a polished landing page? Take notes from their mistakes. 
  • Copy: The ad copy introduces the searcher to the brand. It should perform like a digital handshake — warm, firm, and welcoming. Low-quality copy tips the visitor off that they shouldn’t waste their click. 
  • Creativity: Ultimately, authenticity and creativity will capture the most attention and convert more visitors. A brand can perform all the technical aspects to perfection. However, an experience that doesn’t creatively empathize with the reader is a wasted effort. 

Compare and contrast each ad specimen that sticks out to you. You’ll use these comparisons later to flesh out your analysis. 

Performing a Competitor Analysis

You now know more about a detailed PPC analysis and what it entails. But what steps should you follow to acquire and assess all the right information? Although digital marketing involves ample hard data, you should still put your creative inclinations to use throughout the process. 

  • What reactions does the ad invoke in you?
  • What qualities do you most admire?
  • How do you think the ad would translate to your current customer base?

Your responses to these open-ended questions can help you objectively gauge a competitor’s ad success. You can also implement the following process for a more direct approach. 

Competitor Identification

First, create a list of competitive brands you’d like to explore. If you can’t think of any brand names off the top of your head, use a search engine like Google to find them. While Google offers one of the best search platforms for finding brands and products, you don’t have to stop there. Other engines also provide brand support. 

During your search, use the following strategies to maximize your results:

  • Follow your current customers’ leads: Your customers probably use specific terminology when interacting with your posts and product pages or providing reviews. Use similar search terms when looking up competitors. 
  • Experiment with location: Location search terms can help you narrow down your direct competition. Even if you exclusively offer your products via online platforms, you still have a location that other brands share. 
  • Examine auction insights: Have you already created a Google Ads account? Fantastic! Explore the auction insights available on the platform to discover brands offering similar products and services. 

In-Depth Analysis 

After identifying a few competitors, explore how they market their brand via PPC advertisements. You can find a wealth of tools to assist you in diving into the details of each element, from copy to ad positioning. Look for recurring patterns such as:

  • CTA formulas: Call-to-actions are critical to ad success. They ultimately touch on the heart of what a potential customer wants to see. 
  • Discount and sale offerings: What sales patterns have you noticed in multiple headlines and descriptions? Do competitor brands consistently offer a specific discount? If so, they’ve uncovered a magic number that entices your target audience. 
  • Other perks related to the sale: Does your competition donate a portion of their profits to a specific charity? Perhaps they offer free shipping for purchases above a certain amount. Consider the psychology of why these provisions interest your target audience. 

Keyword Evaluation

Keywords determine who encounters your digital content. Search engine optimization uses keywords to determine a website’s relevance to a particular subject. Similarly, PPC keywords determine when the ad appears in search results. 

How do competing brands use the following types of keywords? 

  • Short-tail: Short-tail keywords place a product within a broader group. If you need a new raincoat but aren’t sure about what type to purchase, you’ll type “new raincoats” into the search bar to get an idea of the products available. 
  • Long-tail: Long-tail keywords help searchers find specific products. For example, a woman looking for computer chairs will encounter many conventional products for male gamers and professionals. However, she can refine her search to “computer chairs for women” for a product that better fits her preferences. 
  • Negative: A keyword that doesn’t describe an advertised product is a negative keyword. If you only sell high-fashion luxury raincoats, you’d consider “raincoats for cheap” a negative keyword. 

Landing Page Reviews

When you click on a competitor’s landing page, what experience awaits you? Inventory the elements involved in each landing page layout. Then, determine whether they will work within your campaign’s context. 

How Do You Measure Up?

How does your competition’s ad spend analysis compare to yours? If you can’t set aside the same dollar amount as them, you should still budget a comparable amount from your overall marketing budget. Aim to position your ad the same as theirs. 

FAQs About Competitor PPC Analysis

Which PPC platform is used the most?

The most-used PPC platform is Google Ads. Many business owners and marketers prefer it because it’s user-friendly with a vast tool suite.

Is PPC better than SEO?

No, PPC is not better than SEO. Each strategy achieves outcomes for different purposes. 

What is the disadvantage of PPC?

A disadvantage of PPC is that it consumes time. Strategy development requires careful analysis to achieve the desired results. 

Let Bear North Digital’s Experts Formulate Your Strategy

Tasks like crafting a competitor PPC analysis and setting a PPC budget require strategic skills. Bear North Digital’s professional marketers can help. Begin your journey with a free growth plan from our experts. Call our team at (218) 216-8692 today!