AdWords Competitor Targeting: Guidelines & Best Practices Before You Dive In

AdWords Competitor Targeting

Mastering Google Adwords is seriously tricky business – essential, but tricky. For digital marketing strategies to perform successfully, however, it’s pretty important to find someone who considers themselves a master of it. For B2B companies out there, you may have tried out or heard about a practice that some might consider controversial: competitor targeting. It’s been around for as long as Adwords has existed; before the Internet even existed, targeting the competition has been a tactic that some have gained true, long-term success from. As Unbounce puts it:

Sneaky as this tactic may seem, online advertising is still a far cry from those “10X better than the leading brand” television ads that are plaguing primetime to this day.

While an effective way to get ahead in the Adwords game, there are still a few guidelines and best practices for competitor targeting on Google Adwords. Unbounce – one of our favorite companies and tools for folks like us – wrote a fantastic article on how to know if this practice is right for you, as well as how to do it well. Take a look at just a sample here:

Proceed with Caution

Targeting competitor keywords might be common, but it’s best to get your ducks in a row before you jump straight in. After all, just because Brand X is doing this, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

The number one thing you need to keep in mind about competitor targeting in AdWords is that it’s competitive. Before you tell your boss or your client that you’re launching a competitor campaign, check if your competitors have already done the same.

First Stop: Auction Insights

To know who’s bidding on your branded terms (and how well they’re doing it), click into your Campaigns (in the new AdWords experience), then navigate to the Auction Insights tab and filter for your branded campaigns.

If you’re not seeing any suspects, hurrah! You now have a decision to make: whether or not you want to risk starting a trend by being the first to target your competitors’ terms. If they catch on, they could return the favor by coming after your terms and potentially driving up your cost-per-click. Even in the Search world, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Seeing some familiar names in the list? If competitors are already bidding on your branded terms, it’s fair game for you to enter the ring. After doing your homework, of course.


Want more? Head to the Unbounce blog >> 

If you’re ready to get started on your own Adwords campaign, give us a holler! Miguel, our resident Adwords expert, is always ready to help.