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Hello Happy Readers! The competitive analysis provides you with a more thorough picture of the PPC environment surrounding your products or services. But do PPCers do this for their clients? Do they use any tools while performing the competitive analysis? what is their biggest challenge competitively? All these and more questions were answered in this week’s PPCChat session which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini.

Q1: Is analyzing the competitive landscape something you do for your clients or brand? If so, how often do you do an analysis?

Yes, all the time! I’m lucky to work with clients who do a lot of this themselves as well. @JuliaVyse

Competitive analysis is absolutely something I do. Both at the start of working with a new client and on a quarterly basis, as things can change QUICKLY and I want to know before the client brings it up! @NeptuneMoon

Competitive analysis is something I like to use at the outset to get the strategy in place. When campaigns are running, we sometimes see unexplainable external effects which will trigger new competitive deep dives but we don’t do them systematically. @soanders

Yes. It’s a quarterly/bi-annually kind of thing (unless performance goes wacky and we can’t explain it by what we’ve done in the account itself). @robert_brady

Yes, we analyze the competitive landscape on a regular basis. @DianaAlinaAldea

Yes. I don’t have a lot of client turnover, so I don’t do them often. @stevegibsonppc

Yes, understanding your market is very important as well as shifts in the market. I feel like in well-managed accounts, this is a big task at first, then becomes something you monitor going forward. Watching for new players and shifts. @lchasse

Competitive analysis is an ongoing process. You do it in the initial discussions, you do it when starting a campaign, you do it when performance changes without other reasons. @ferkungamaboobo

Yes, we do. Unless there is a specific request, we do a high-level analysis monthly and a granular one quarterly. @JonKagan

If you are not keeping an eye on new or old competitors, you will lose SOV and market share. So we are monitoring competitors closely to understand what they are doing. @sonofgorkhali

Yes, this should be done regularly. Usually monthly, sometimes quarterly depending on size of account. @onlineadacademy

Yes and for our SaaS clients it’s something I touch on every month. That industry is so damn competitive! @marketingsoph

I do them if I’m looking for areas of opportunity or need some help strategizing. I try not to put too much weight in it, though, because I don’t want to just copy what someone else is doing. Also, just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean it’s working. @alexnicoll93

Yes, we don’t have a set cadence but usually at the very least are looking at auction insight changes and cpcs/IS on the regular. Then go more in depth as needed. @selley2134

Yes, we check on auction insights throughout the month. We also do more in-depth analyses with a formal deliverable, but only every 6-12 months (roughly). I’d love to do it more frequently tho; as of now they just tend to be in response to a rising CPC or other trend. @adclarke10

100% – at a top level, auction insights forms a big chunk of quarterly reviews. Deeper down competitor content is always great from a copy perspective. @PPC_Fraser

Yes. Absolutely mandatory. I try to get the list of competitors as the first thing while onboarding new clients. On a frequent basis. In the #ppc platform dashboard, I keep looking at Search Impression Share to get the idea of how competitors are performing. @1tagupta

Yes, but frequency depends on the size of the account. @adwordsgirl

Q2: Are there any tools you like to use when performing competitive analysis for PPC?

General Google Search, Spyfu, SEMRush, and SOV reports in the ad platform. @sonofgorkhali

I am a big fan of doing actual searches to see what searchers are likely seeing. Auction insights for G Ads Ads library for FB Tools like SEMRush and SpyFu can also fill in gaps. @NeptuneMoon

@Optmyzr‘s Auction Insights Visualizer… @PPCGreg

Spyfu is always my favorite. @PPC_Fraser

Mostly Auction Insights and the FB ads library. Plus all the broadcast tools we have access to. @JuliaVyse

@spyfu and @semrush are great for competitor research, or simply doing Google searches if you don’t have the budget. @onlineadacademy

I mostly use SEMRush for my competitive analysis. @alexnicoll93

I have always been a big fan of SEMrush for competitive analysis. Just a quick view and you can see what’s up both on organic and paid. My favorite tool for the bigger trends is Google Trends. @soanders

Mostly Google searches, auction insights, Facebook ad library and ads tab in LinkedIn business profile. @DianaAlinaAldea

Another old-school method I LOVE is to sign up for competitor emails and set up some kind of alert on their brand, products, etc. Can be Google Alerts or in other programs to keep track of spikes in interest or chatter about competitors. @NeptuneMoon

Each platform has a way to see other advertisers creative. I usually use those to see what they are doing. Auction insights is helpful. Spyfu has been helpful with accounts. @Optmyzr does have an auction insights visualizer, which @PPCGreg just linked also. @lchasse

You can set up a Gmail email for this purpose so you’re not using your PPC email. @NeptuneMoon

We try and use auction insights the most, but we supplement it with a mix of @spyfu@semrush and @Similarweb @JonKagan

Spyfu initially. But, after that, doing actual searches on our keywords is, IMO, more informative. @stevegibsonppc

In each platform, auction insights & ad transparency features (like going to their social page & reviewing what ads are running). Outside of that, mainly use SEMRush. Not sure if this is a “tool”, but simply searching our keywords & reviewing the SERPs is helpful too. @adclarke10

Yes, I use so many tools for competitors research. Reference to the tools list. @1tagupta

SEMRush, Auction Insights. Ad Preview tool can be helpful if you are running ads in different geos. @selley2134

I’d also mention Google’s Ad Transparency to see the ad copy and creative they’re running (h/t @lchasse )… @PPCGreg

The best tool for me is my own lying eyes. The biggest thing is trying to find competitive advantages and zag when they zig. So it’s a lot of reading landing pages and websites and listening to your clients about the industry. @ferkungamaboobo

For creative… I peak at Adbeat and Moat as well. @Galliguez

If you visit competitors sites you will also see their remarketing! @NeptuneMoon

Q3: Are there areas that you find matter more now than in years past? If so, what areas tend to be most impactful in competitive reporting?

Others have mentioned this too, but looking at messaging/creative on social is a big one as well. That said, I try not to focus *as* much on that, because I don’t want to just do what everyone else is doing (plus it might not even be working for our competitors). @adclarke10

For different industries, you have some specific terms that are used in the creatives. You can dive deeper and research and test or you can see what the competitors are doing. Same goes with the landing page. I’ll give you an example… @1tagupta

Looking at what creative looks like on the FB side of things has become increasingly important – some brands are doing some really cool stuff! Also, looking at messaging. Ad copy & LP language. @adwordsgirl

The Auction Insights report is really crucial – more so that before, I think, just because of the x multiple in how high CPCs are climbing. @revaminkoff

Q4: Do you provide PPC services for a highly competitive industry or industries? If so, what is your biggest challenge competitively?

Rising CPCs — it’s insane how high automated bidding can push costs up if a competitor is going after it. @revaminkoff

Yes! I work with an appliance retailer, and while amazon doesn’t actually sell major appliances (yet) they’re in my auction. all. the livelong. day. and my QSR client is not McDonalds. so by definition, competitive. @JuliaVyse

I think every industry we’re going to be on is competitive TBH. If there isn’t competition, you gotta deal likely with low search volume and awareness. the really high competition, you’re dealing more with increasing CPCs while having less insight and less levers. @360vardi

Yes, but the onslaught of competition is very seasonal. Example: Flu season for hospital networks, medicare for insurance, accounting for tax season. @JonKagan

Oh yeah, big time! Budgets and offers can be pretty competitive. We have all seen big retailers like Amazon or Walmart sell for less and take the loss to gain market share. Also, their advertising spends are massive. @lchasse

Yes, I do. Rising CPC and CPA are concerns but I work with highly volatile industries. Those which are not usually freely allowed on the ad platforms. Here the main competitors concern is they have heck lot of money to spent and do everything to defame your brand. @1tagupta

Yes. The biggest challenge is having clients who (A) are simply being outbid by competitors and (B) don’t have the willingness to address the reasons why. @stevegibsonppc

Yes, I do. Finance is one of the most competitive industries with insane CPC. The biggest challenge is the spike in avg CPC. Finding a middle ground keeps me on my toes all the time. @sonofgorkhali

I second rising CPCs. Been exporting walled garden audiences to other platforms to remarket to bring the overall CPAs down. @Galliguez

Yes, rising CPCs & CPMs have been a battle across all platforms. Trying to differentiate yourself in messaging/creative can be tough as well, especially in highly regulated industries when you have to include certain phrases. @adclarke10

Also, the highly competitive industries have pay-to-play listicles. Like in B2B SaaS, education. It’s all those websites that offer a “comparison” when it’s very biased and paid for by the participating members. That’s bad to itself, but they make CPCs higher. @360vardi

Kind of. We don’t seek them out but if they come, we’ll definitely consider it. Right now, our most competitive is Legal. @adwordsgirl

Q5: If you are doing PPC for a more niche or less competitive or less established industry, what are your biggest challenges competitively?

Also yet! my public sector/utility clients are very niche and have specific needs in terms of communication. Ever fight for SOV against conspiracy theorists? they have all the time in the world! @JuliaVyse

Accepting the obscene inflation we’ve seen from the engines on CPC’s since April. Like there is literally no logical reason for our brand CPC’s to be increasing 3x when there is actually no competition. @JonKagan

Even if your industry isn’t “highly competitive” your CPCs are likely rising. Which kind of defies logic, but automation is pushing CPCs higher. Don’t see trend stoping. Being judicious about what you’re targeting becomes more important. Research helps illuminate. @NeptuneMoon

The main concern with this is that you have to scratch the ground, burn your money and resources to figure out what works. Less competition means Opportunity as well as Unknown risks. You get to find the best and tackle the worst to get the maximum profits. @1tagupta

We have the “Elephant in the room” challenge, (as @mikeryanretail calls it) when running PPC as external traffic into Amazon seller accounts. As we are competing against Amazon for the same (branded) traffic, we have to avoid upbidding. A challenge. @soanders

Other than higher CPCs, close variant matching is challenging. It’s not necessarily because auctions are more competitive, but it seems like a lot more competitor queries are matching to our keywords, including branded terms. Have to be very on top of our negatives. @adclarke10

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