You’ve just noticed a competitor is bidding on your brand terms, what do you do now?
Competitor bidding is on the rise. When you find a competitor bidding on your terms it can be pretty annoying. After all, people searching for your brand terms is highly qualified traffic and losing them at this point can feel like you’re losing money (and you possibly are!)
So what can you do about it? Here are my top suggestions:
Bid on your own terms
The good news is, it shouldn’t be difficult to get position 1 and push your competitor down in the search results. As one of the main components in ad rank is quality score (largely determined by your relevance between your keyword, ad and landing page), it will be easier for you to claim the top spot.
There are many businesses doing this (particularly well known brands with multiple competitors) to remain at the top of the page. Some examples include; Audi, Barbour, Porsche and Nike.
Bid on their terms
Despite it possibly making up for the shortfall from losing some of your brand-term traffic, this is something that needs to be exercised with caution. Bidding on competitor terms can be expensive and upon noticing a drop in clicks, your competitor could increase their maximum CPC and/or budget.
Creating this kind of bidding war can often put strain on your budgets and it’s unlikely to get the competitor to stop bidding on your term.
Consider a trademark complaint
Competitors are allowed to bid on your brand terms. However, if you have a trademark on your brand terms and they are using the terms in their ads you can ask Google to investigate the matter. If found to be infringing on your intellectual property, Google can then disapprove the competitor’s ads. If you’re not sure about whether or not this will work for you, you can find out more here.
Get in contact with the competitor
I once had a client ask me to pause their competitor keywords after they had a conversation with one of their main competitors. The client felt it would be good to avoid competitor bidding for the sake of remaining friendly with their competitors. Instead we put the budget into the other campaigns that they were running.
If you’re already friendly enough with your competitor, you could call them and speak to your main point of contact there. Otherwise, you could try (politely) emailing them.
Some people will listen and acknowledge your request. Other times, it might fall on deaf ears – but hey, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.