How to Slide into Your Competitors’ Branded Searches 

Competitor traffic can be a valuable addition to your search campaigns. After all, people searching for your competitors’ products probably have a lot of overlap with your own customers. The strategy for bidding on competitors branded search terms is similar to the one in our blog “How to Keep Competitors Out of Your Search Results”. You need to bid higher than your competitors on their own branded terms. You will also need to keep up with top-of-page and first page bids. Thankfully, Google Ads has you covered. Google provides many metrics to help you stay up to date with what it takes to be on the top of the search results. 

How to Set Up Competitor Search Campaigns 

For all of my search accounts, I include a campaign called “SEM Competitors”. This is where I add competitor associated keywords into a branded campaign. For example, a brand called The Thermos Factory might have an ad group for a competitor, WaterBottle Warehouse, with all the branded search variations for WaterBottle Warehouse such as “” or “wbw”. I recommend following this account structure to organize your competitors and their branded search terms. 

Things to Consider Before Bidding on Competitors’ Branded Search Terms 

1) Is Your Brand a Driver of Sales? 

Bidding on competitors’ branded search terms can create a significant source of new customers and revenue for your company, but there are a few factors to consider. First, outbidding your competitors’ branded search terms is most likely to be successful for products where brand name isn’t the main driver for the sale.  For example, if Nike released a limited edition new tennis shoe, no amount of Adidas ads is likely entice a Nike customer to purchase Adidas instead. 

However, if there is a big brand that you compete against and you think your value proposition is more appealing, it might be worth it to bid against those bigger retailers. For instance, if you have a local brick-and-mortar store, users may be interested in buying something locally that isn’t otherwise available to them immediately. In the end though, it’s usually unwise to spend all your money trying to compete with a company that’s out of your league—consider the costs before you act.  

2) Average Order Value 

Another factor to consider is the average order value (AOV) for your products. If you’re selling thousand dollar products and your customers aren’t brand loyal, staying at the top of the search results could be a big deal for your company—thus you’d want to keep your bids high for your brand name. 

On the other hand, if your AOV is only $25 and you have a highly loyal audience (if you’re a manufacturer, for example), it’s probably more worthwhile to direct spend towards product ads or another channel. 

3) Understand Your Competitors 

Understand who your most important competitors are. If you explore Google Auction Insights, you will see a wide variety of companies who show on similar search results, but that doesn’t mean you should bid against all of them. In order to bid on the correct competitors, you need to understand your target audience. For example, if you’re a discount shoe retailer you probably shouldn’t pay to outbid Nike because you’re not targeting the same market. 

Final Suggestions

Bidding on competitor terms can be a good idea for some retailers, but it won’t work for everyone. Understand your customers’ brand loyalty, the value of your products and your average order value, and your competitors before deciding to allocate spend to this strategy. As always, make sure you’re following Google policies with regard to brand names and trademarks. 

Still confused? Reach out and speak to an analyst today! 


Callum is an SEM Analyst at Omnitail and a graduate of North Carolina State University. Callum received his degree in marketing with a minor in Spanish. Working at Omnitail is a pleasure for him and it is extremely rewarding to see his work help clients improve their business through paid search.

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