Can You Target Competitors on Google Ads?

When turning to the internet for information, most online users will make use of a search engine. Over 3.5 billion searches are entered per day. Businesses have been able to boost their visibility in these search results faster by harnessing the power of Google Ads. These are strategically placed ads that appear around the top organic search results. They are an effective way to drive more relevant traffic to your website and boost leads, conversions and sales.

But can they be used to target competitors? The answer is yes, they can.

Google Ads are essentially paid advertisements that appear around organic searches once relevant keywords are entered as search terms. They offer excellent potential to redirect online users from organic results to paid ads. There are simple ways you can use to tap into this marketing tool to also redirect attention away from your competitors and lead online users to your platforms.

To begin with, a business will need to take time and list its competitors in the market. Look at those who offer the same products and services and deliver them to your target market. Once you have identified the brand names, this will help in developing branded terms that online users use when searching for your competitors.

Competitor Targeting

You may bid on branded search terms when using Google Ads. It is a simple and direct way to compete with competitors as it will result in your ad appearing in front of online users when they are looking up the competition. There is a good chance the person will still go to the organic search result, but the ad will have boosted visibility and encourage many to click through.

This option is also favourable as it ensures you only pay when an online user clicks through. Since they would already be in the market for a similar product, this click-through may very well lead to a conversion. This strategy should however be carefully applied to avoid starting a bidding war and creating a toxic rivalry with other brands.

Target Competitor Websites

Google Ads offers a feature that lets you customise a target audience through their interests and behaviours. Within this feature, you can include “people who browse types of websites”. This means you can target your ads towards online users that look up specific websites. Though the ads will not appear to those that visit the specified websites, you are given the option to target people who browse similar websites.

You can still target competitors by adding websites that are similar to the URLs they use. Whenever an online user inputs these similar URLs through the search engine, your Google Ad can pop up. When you apply it to brands similar to your own, it provides an opportunity to market your own products and services to the same audience.

Apply Competitor Keywords

Google Ads provides a custom audience feature that allows businesses to run campaigns that can be targeted at online users that include competitor terms. This can include words that include the specific competitor’s company name and brand product names. This would allow your ad to appear in front of these target audiences on all Google platforms. This has the potential to draw the attention away from your competitor and lead the online use down your sales funnel.

Placement Targeting

This strategy can be used to have your ads appear as your competitors YouTube videos are playing. This is made easy as you can target just about any channel you want by including relevant keywords that would lead to these channels when setting your YouTube ad placement options. This is a helpful option if you have a competitor that is particularly active when it comes to developing YouTube content and enjoys many views. Your ads can run during the videos, affording another opportunity to redirect audiences to your platforms and hopefully convert them.

Better Value Ads

It is now commonplace for even brands that are the top organic result for their relevant keywords to invest in Google Ads using the same terms. This ensures that their websites are the top results in both organic and paid results. To beat out the competition that is this keen about ensuring their prominent visibility, you need to ensure your ad offers something better.

Pricing on your product or service is a good way to go. Look at what kind of offer, such as discounts, that the brand you are targeting is putting up on their ad and see how you can do better. This offer should be well displayed so that online users can at a glance ascertain that yours is the better deal.

You can also include commentary in your ad text that offers better value in other ways than just pricing. Choose information that does not appear on your competitor’s ads or the metadata in their organic search results.  Some distinguishing and valuable features about your brand that indicates why choosing to click through will mean a better experience for the potential buyer.

You can also harness the power of often neglected dynamic ad extensions. This gives you additional room for ad text. You can include other additional information on your product and services that your competitors have not. The more information an online user can glean at a glance, the more likely they are to click through as compared to vaguer organic or other paid ads.

Be sure to review Google Ads guidelines and avoid any tactic that could lead to legal problems or toxic rivalry with competitors. Some of these tactics can even lead to penalties from Google and legal consequences. There are however several effective approaches you can use to target competitors in order to redirect their traffic without worrying about causing friction.