A Strategic Competitor Analysis Guide For Businesses

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Paid Media Advertising

Are you the owner of a small business, passionate about making a difference in your community? You may be wondering, how on earth do I carve out a space for my shop online and effectively compete with big players flexing their hefty marketing budgets?

Google ads may just be your ticket to leveling the playing field.

But here’s the challenge: while Google Ads holds tremendous potential, many businesses like yours need help navigating its complexities.

The solution begins with competitor analysis. There are valuable insights to be uncovered as you delve into the strategies of your industry rivals that can help you outmaneuver the competition. 

In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve deeper into the importance of competitor analysis and how it sets the stage for a successful Google Ads strategy. Let’s explore how leveraging insights from your competitor’s website, organic search results, and products can propel your business forward.

The Most Commonly Asked Question About Competitors In Google Ads 

The burning question nearly every partner asks us is, “How much do my competitors spend on Google Ads?” Keep in mind that any information you could gather about your competitors is information that could potentially be obtained about your business as well. 

Would you want your competitors to have the same level of access to your data? Probably not.

Google continues to tighten its grip on competitive data and metrics it offers advertisers in a shift toward increased privacy and data protection. We would argue that it is one to be embraced, and the good news is there are still plenty of other industry-specific competitor data that can be leveraged to grow your business. 

What Competitor Analysis Can Reveal 

It may be tempting to uncover a dollar figure and simply outbid your competitors to vie for the top spot in the search engine results pages. But the truth is that understanding your market, customer base, and potential threats and opportunities is crucial to a successful marketing strategy. 

Before diving into the Google Ads platform, we suggest looking at your competitor’s website or online shop, Google My Business, social media profiles, and customer reviews.

These sources can provide valuable insights into your competitors’ strategies, offerings, customer interactions, and overall online presence. Such considerations often offer more depth than your competitor’s bids and keywords.

Market Positioning

Compare your products, services, and pricing to those of your competitors. Assess your offerings to analyze their quality, features, and uniqueness. This will help to identify your unique selling propositions (USPs), how to talk about them, and any areas to improve. 

Consider how your service offerings might compare with expertise, convenience, or the customer’s experience.

Warranties? Great!

Five-star customer service? Even better.

How about your pricing? Take a look at your pricing structure and how it compares to similar products or services. 

Strengths And Weaknesses

This one might seem obvious, but it’s often overlooked and for no good reason. Understanding where your competitors excel and where they fall short can help you capitalize on their weaknesses and differentiate your offerings based on your strengths.

Perhaps they lack variety and you’re able to emphasize a wider range of options.

If your competitor struggles with consistency in customer service, you may want to prioritize delivering exceptional service and highlighting your many positive reviews.

Customer Insights

While we’re on the topic of highlighting your reviews, let’s talk about how studying your competitors’ customer base and their reviews can help you.

Reading up on feedback, complaints, and even their successes provides a lot of valuable insights into what customers like (and dislike) about similar products or services.

Let this information guide everything from product development to customer service improvements. If they’re doing it well, find a way to do it better. If they’re failing at it, make sure it’s a non-issue at your business. 

Mitigating Risks

Don’t get blindsided with pricing wars, supply chain disruptions, or regulatory changes. These can pose significant threats to your business and your marketing strategy.

Competitor analysis can arm you with the knowledge that is needed to craft contingency plans and safeguard your business from unforeseen threats. 

Perhaps your competitor slashes its prices. through competitive analysis, you’ve already anticipated an aggressive pricing move to attract customers. Now you’re armed with how to highlight your unique qualities and can focus on providing added value to justify your pricing. 

Key Components Of Competitor Analysis In Google Ads

There’s competitor analysis, and then there’s competitor analysis in Google Ads. What do we mean by that? Google Ads involves very specific strategies and tools tailored to understanding your competitors specifically as it relates to how they’re advertising online. 

Your business might have many competitors, but are they present in the auction? Here are a few of the key components of competitor analysis in Google Ads:

Who Are You Bidding Against?

Identify competitors who are targeting similar keywords, audiences, or demographics as you. Enter the Google Ads Auction Report! This report reveals some important metrics including Impression Share, Overlap Rate, Position Above Rate, Top of Page Rate, and Abs. Top of Page Rate and Outranking Share.

Feeling lost with some of these terms? Check out our digital marketing glossary for quick explanations!

Impression Share: Understanding Your Visibility

Impression Share is a key metric in Google Ads that indicates the percentage of times your ads are shown out of the total number of times they were eligible to be shown. In other words, it measures your ad’s visibility in the auction for a particular keyword, audience, or demographic.

What You Might See In The Report:

Let’s say your Impression Share is 70%. This means your ads were shown 70% of the time they were eligible to be shown.

A high Impression Share suggests that your ads are frequently appearing in search results, while a low Impression Share indicates missed opportunities for exposure.

How To Action It:

  • Increase Bids: If your Impression Share is low, consider increasing your bids to compete more aggressively for ad placement.
  • Improve Ad Quality: Enhance your ad relevancy, ad extensions, and landing page experience to improve your Quality Score, which can boost your Impression Share.
  • Expand Targeting: Target additional relevant keywords, audiences, or locations to increase your eligibility to show ads and improve your Impression Share.

By understanding and monitoring your Impression Share, you can gauge your ad’s visibility in the auction and take strategic actions to maximize your exposure.

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush can identify which keywords your competitors are ranking for, how competitive they are, and what it might cost you to rank for them.

For instance, imagine you run a small bakery in a bustling city. You’re looking to attract more customers to your website through Google Ads, but you’re unsure which keywords to target. This is where keyword research tools come in handy.

Google Keyword Planner: This tool is available directly in the Google Ads platform and allows you to search for keywords related to your business and see metrics such as search volume, competition level, and suggested bid prices. Let’s say you enter “artisanal cupcakes” into the Keyword Planner. You might discover that this keyword has a high search volume but also high competition, meaning many advertisers are bidding on it and it’s going to be pricey to compete.

Ahrefs: Ahrefs also provides insights into your competitors’ keyword strategies. Let’s say you enter the URL of a rival bakery into Ahrefs. You might see they’re ranking for keywords like “custom cakes” and “cupcake delivery,” which could give you ideas for expanding your keyword targeting, or even your service offerings.

A Good CTA Goes A Long Way…

Ad copy analysis is a powerful means of refining your ad copy and differentiating your business to attract potential customers. Examine your competitor ads closely to get a sense of the language they use, CTA’s, USPs, offers, promotions, discounts, everything! Then A/B test your ad copy consistently to determine what is truly resonating with your audience. Tweak, tinker, test, refine – the endless cycle of writing compelling ad copy.

Some Of Our Favorite Tools To Get The Job Done

You need the right tools to get the job done and uncover those valuable insights. So, we’ve put together a short list of our favorite must-have AdWords spy tools. 

  1. Simple: Do a Google search for a brand name or service and see if they’re running ads.
  2. Wordstream kindly offers tailored reports at no cost to uncover how your Google Ads account compares in your industry.
  3. Ad intelligence tools like Adbeat will uncover your competitors’ most profitable ad copy and landing pages. Then, craft the perfect landing page for your ads.
  4. The Facebook (Meta) Ads Library allows you to see all ads currently on Meta, and whether or not your competitors are running ads. Bonus points for using this tool to jot down ideas for your next A/B test!
  5. Use SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.com to delve deeper into paid and organic performance. You can also peak at estimates for search volume and what pages are ranking for certain keywords.
  6. Peruse the TikTok Ads Library for your competitor’s ads or just browse around for inspiration.
  7. SpyFu is a great tool for finding any site’s paid keywords and ad spend history. However, we must note that no SEO tool is 100% accurate and some metrics are prone to potential inaccuracies or discrepancies.

Ready To Outshine Your Competitors? Let’s Get To Work!

Strategic competitive analysis, a myriad of tools, analyzing ad copy, A/B testing…Navigating these intricacies is often a daunting task for small business owners.

If the thought of diving into competitor analysis feels overwhelming, there’s an award-winning agency here to help – Intuitive Digital.

We specialize in unraveling the complexities of competitor analysis and empowering businesses like yours to thrive online. You don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your business stands out and succeeds.

About the Author

Autumn Buck

With expertise in both Paid Media and SEO, Autumn Buck is a Digital Analyst who is passionate about data analysis, writing impactful ad copy, and everything in between. She is committed to driving success and prides herself on being a strong advocate for partners and their business objectives. When not at her desk, Autumn can be found gardening with her Border Collie, hitting the slopes, or unleashing her artistic side.

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