So you’ve brought a new, innovative product to market.
Or maybe you found a way to put a new twist on an existing service, and it’s taken off in popularity.
And now you’re promoting your popular product or service with Google Ads.
For a while, you dominate the paid search marketing space.
But eventually, others see your success and develop their own product or service to claim part of the market.
Now, you find yourself competing with those upstarts in Google Ads.
What can you do to hold off those competitors – without breaking any legal, moral, or ethical rules?
Here are seven legitimate ways to hold off upstart competitors in Google Ads.
1. Continually Monitor Competitor Trends
You can’t hold off competitors if you don’t know they’re there. This means you have to continually monitor the Google Ads space for competition.
In some cases, you can detect competitors through Google Ads impression metrics, such as lost absolute impression share and absolute top impression share.
In other cases, you’ll find evidence of competitors through Google Ads auction insights.
Auction insights allow you to compare your performance with other advertisers participating in the same auctions, with statistics such as impression share and overlap rate.
In fact, we sometimes import data from Google Ads auction insights into Data Studio on a daily basis for analysis. We prefer to do this within Data Studio rather than Google Ads because it makes the data easier to analyze and present to clients.
Other competitor analysis tools, such as Semrush, can help you spot when competitors have increased their ad budgets.
2. Look for Vulnerabilities and Opportunities
Once you’ve identified your competitors, look for opportunities to outdo them.
For example, if the competitor is new to the market, they may not have the budget to have ads going 24/7/365. Look for windows of time where they’re not advertising and make sure that you are.
If the competitor has decided to not advertise on weekends or evenings, try scheduling some campaigns for those times.
3. Wait Them Out
Your revenue may take a hit when a new competitor enters the market.
As a result, you may be tempted to cut back on your budget – or turn off your Google Ads advertising altogether – because you’re not seeing the same returns you once did.
But often, those revenues will bounce back if you stay the course. You have to be patient.
For example, some advertisers will kick off with a big launch budget that quickly dwindles. As their budget dwindles, your returns will go back up.
Other competitors will come to realize just how tough the market is and so they’ll stop advertising. They’ll go back to the drawing board and again, your revenue can rebound.
If you hang steady, you may be able to wait out competitors.
There’s one more reason not to turn off your advertising in the face of declining revenue: Google rewards consistent advertisers.
Experience has shown us that when you turn off your Google Ads campaigns (especially those using automated bidding strategies), you may find much higher costs per click when you turn your campaigns back on.
For example, one of our former clients would whipsaw from a $50,000 per month budget to zero every few months. Each time we reinstated his campaigns, his cost per click jumped from $100 to $200 and then $300.
Keep your advertising going in the face of strong competition, even if you have to cut back.
Then, do what you can to optimize your spending while you wait.
4. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
When you have little competition, it’s tempting to advertise in every market you serve.
But if you spread yourself too thin, you leave yourself vulnerable to competitors when they enter the market.
Therefore, we recommend having at least $5,000 per month to spend if you are advertising nationally in the U.S. That should give you enough horsepower to compete with new entrants.
If $5,000 is out of reach, narrow your advertising to include your best-performing states or cities instead of going nationwide.
5. Qualify Your Clicks
If the plan is to wait out your competitors to succeed in the long run, you need to make sure that every click counts to help your budget go further.
If you’re getting lots of clicks but few buyers, this could be a sign that your competitors are undercutting you on price.
But if your product is superior to theirs, you can justify your higher price.
Therefore, put that pricing in your ads. It will help you qualify visitors before they click—and maximize your budget.
At the same time, lean into your messaging to communicate how and why your product is better than the competition’s (see next point).
6. Flaunt Your Advantages
As mentioned above, you want to clearly differentiate yourself from the competition, especially if you’re at a higher price point.
Use your ad messaging to communicate those differentiators and put your price in context.
You can also use your messaging to emphasize real-time advantages, even if they’re temporary.
For example, if you’re in an industry that’s experiencing supply chain issues – and you have items in stock – you could communicate: “In Stock & Ready to Ship!”
On the flip side, if you don’t have stock, you can test something creative such as, “Deep discounts for December 2021 ship dates.”
7. Have a Strong Post-Click Strategy
While you’re implementing these strategies, also make sure you have a strong post-click strategy.
If your landing page doesn’t line up perfectly with your ads, it will undermine everything that came before.
You Can Stand Up to the Competition
When you have a hot product or service, new competitors will always come onto the scene.
But you don’t have to take the competition lying down.
Instead, put your paid search advertising to work and fight back!
This article was originally published in Search Engine Journal.