It’s Clear; don’t design your Google Ads bidding around competitors


When using Google Ads to promote your business, it’s important to keep an eye out for new ways to refine your campaign. Whether it’s devising compelling ad copy or targeting new, topical keywords, ensuring your ads are relevant to the user’s query is essential.

But what should you do when it comes to your competitors? Especially if they’re well-known in your area, it can be tempting to bid on competitor brand names in order to boost your online advertising performance. Whilst there are some benefits, this is a tactic we would strongly advise against.

Why you shouldn’t bid on your competitor’s brand name in Google Ads

Costs money

Don’t forget, every time someone clicks one of your ads, you pay Google. Ask yourself, is that click on your competitor’s brand name really worth the cost? Would it not be better to pay for a legitimate click that’s likely to convert into a lead or sale?

Won’t necessarily be relevant to the query

If a person is specifically searching for your competitor and your ad appears instead, any clicks it generates won’t really be relevant to that person’s query. For instance, if someone searching for Asda clicks on an ad that’s for Morrisons, that’s not really going to meet their original query, as ultimately, they wanted to reach Asda’s website. Chances are they’ll realise the ad wasn’t what they were looking for and click back to the search results, leaving you out of pocket. Which brings us onto…

Bounce rate increase

When people regularly click back to the search results, your bounce rate will increase. This indicates to Google that people are not as engaged with your content, subsequently meaning they are less likely to display your ads in a prominent position for future queries. And not only that…

Click-through rate decrease

As we’ve already mentioned, people looking for a specific brand have their mind set on dealing with that particular company. Your ads are therefore not as relevant to their search, meaning they’re less likely to click through to your website. Ultimately, this will decrease your click-through rate. Whilst this may not sound so bad, it can in fact decrease your Quality Score, in turn, making it more expensive for your ads to display in the long run.

Could cause a war

If your competitors were to catch on to what you’re doing, they could use the same tactic against your brand, drawing traffic away from your own website and potentially poaching your leads or sales.

Increase bids on your own brand name

If the above were to happen and your competitor started bidding on your brand name, this would drive up the cost. Multiple companies bidding on the same keywords increases the cost and, if it’s your name in question, it could ultimately mean you end up paying more for a conversion on your own brand.

Negative reputation effects

Finally, in all honesty, it can look a little desperate. Your ultimate goal is to generate legitimate website visits under your own steam. Bidding on your competitor’s brand name makes it seem like you’re having to piggy-back off their online presence.

Our advice?

Focus instead on building a strong campaign around your own brand, your USPs and, instead, highlight what makes you different from your competitor; what can you offer that they won’t?

If you focus your effort into writing compelling ad copy, targeting highly relevant keywords and pointing people to the most appropriate page on your website, your ads will meet a person’s needs anyway, making them much more likely to convert into a lead or sale.

If you’d like to know more about the best practices for a Pay-Per-Click Google Ads campaign, please feel free to get in touch with our team of digital marketing experts.