Category : competitors


How to stop competitors clicking your AdWords adverts

boy and girl playing with mobile phones

I am often asked this question:

How can I stop my competitors from clicking my AdWords adverts and using up my budget?

This IS possible. And here’s how to do it.

Install a tracking software, such as Clicky.

Monitor the visitors over the period of a few days, or weeks.  Now change the date selector to the correct time period, or the last 90 days.  Now choose Most Active Visitors.

clicky screenshot

Most Active Visitors screenshot

You will note that you will be able to see many IP addresses, many of whom will have visited repeatedly.  I would now suggest you go through and identify yourself, and tag yourself and ideally remove your IP address from this process.  Otherwise you will never be able to see your own ads.

Now start examining each IP address, 1 at a time, for suspicious behaviour.  This might be repeatedly visiting your website for the same keyword, or different keywords, on different days.  Note that this is not ALWAYS a problem, as some prospects may come back a few times before making a decision.  Other things to look out for include the length of the visit, a very short visit may signify a competitor clicking your link then hitting the back button.

The next step is to write each IP address down that you regard as suspicious.  You will then go and exclude these addresses from ever seeing your AdWords adverts ever again.

Now open AdWords and go into Campaigns – Settings – Advanced Settings – IP Exclusions – Edit then simply enter the IP addresses you wish to block. Can’t see the option? You need to upgrade your campaign to an Advanced Campaign with all features.

Note that you will need to exclude all the IP addresses for each and every campaign in your account.  Select the first campaign and then paste the IP addresses in one after another.

What will this do?

These IP addresses have now been banned from seeing your AdWords adverts, so as far as they are concerned, they will believe you have actually stopped advertising.

An alternative method is to use a package such as AdWatcher, however having tested this in the past, I found it rather excessive and difficult to use for large accounts with a lot of adgroups.  This is due to the fact each URL in your AdWords account must be changed to an AdWatcher URL.  Having said, in cases where you will have more than 20 competitors clicking your adverts, it may be needed and certainly is effective!  It works by redirecting the IP address to their server and a message warning them their activity is being logged as suspicious.

Prefer a more in-depth answer? This is one of the questions covered in my free AdWords webinar

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How to Crush Your Competitors In Any Market (McDonalds & Best Buy Did This)

How to Crush Your Competitors In Any Market

You are in a constant battle with your competitors. You are fighting over the prospects that are interested in you and your competitor’s products or services.

The better job you do of encouraging those prospects to spend that first dollar with you rather than the competition, the better your chances are of succeeding.

If you offer a great service or an amazing product, that prospect will develop trust with your brand, and your competitors will find it near impossible to shift that brand trust.

Here’s the thing:

If you can get someone to give you money, even if it’s just a dollar, your relationship with that person instantly changes.

You become a vendor, a provider, and an authority to them.

When somebody becomes a customer, they are 20 times more likely to buy something else. (Provided what they bought from you proved to be valuable to them, of course.)

So the question is: how do we get them to become a customer in the first place? What can we do to make that transformation of prospect to customer?

It’s really simple; you make that transformation easier on the prospect.

Make them an offer that your competitors wouldn’t dream of doing, even if it means you are barely breaking even.

The Tripwire

A tripwire is a cheap but highly valuable product or service that does actually what we have been discussing. It turns a prospect into a customer.

The idea is that you utilise a tripwire within your business, and then make your money off the back-end. Through upsells, repeat business or sheer volume in sales.

Let’s look at some real examples of companies that have done this.

Mcdonalds spend $1.91 to get someone to go through the drive through (this includes all their costs such as advertising and staff wages etc). Their average hamburger sells for $2.08.

The burger is the tripwire in this scenario, if you buy the fries and the coke from Mcdonalds for another $1.77; they make $1.38 additional profit on that.

Those are real figures. They spend a ton on advertising and other costs to get the customer, and they even sell the hamburger ridiculously cheap. Simply because they know that they will make their money on up sells and repeat business.

Another great example of a massive company using this strategy is Best Buy, the biggest consumer electronics supplier in America.

Best Buy sell products like televisions to only cover their overheads and the amount that they paid for it. They make absolutely no profit from selling any of the electronics alone.

So they make no profit for selling the item that the customer entered their shop to get, yet they are the one of the biggest companies in the world.

Crazy, right?

How do they make money?

They make their profit from selling warrantees or geek squad service.

So now it’s your turn.

What can you offer to prospects to make it easier for them to become a customer? What valuable product can you sell ridiculously cheap to get them in the door.

Have a think. It makes the difference between winning and losing.

In business, if you are able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer, you will win.

How to Crush Your Competitors In Any Market

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Adwords competitors

Automating your Google AdWords adverts: possible and advisable?

You will all have seen them – ecommerce websites that have the most dreadful looking AdWords adverts.  The adverts that seem to match what you searched for in Google, but don’t look quite right and you cannot figure out why…

Here’s an example:

AdWords example from Amazon

This is possible because software exists that will allow ecommerce website owners to output their entire product range complete with pricing and landing pages, and then upload the lot into Google using just one generic advert.  Some websites do not even send you to landing pages for the particular product but instead just send you to a search page!  Dreadful.

This may be great – and your product range may now all be in Google AdWords,  BUT….

Will people really click them?  Do they stand out?

My personal opinion is that automation on such a large scale cannot work effectively.  Creating AdWords adverts is a craft that CANNOT be given to a machine to do.

However for the smaller advertiser, this is fantastic news as they are easily able to outsmart the larger companies that are automating their advertising, getting cheaper Conversions  which create a level playing field to make up for the economies of scale enjoyed by larger companies.

I believe that you need to examine your competitors’ ads, make yourself stand out from them somehow using your USP, and then carefully match that offer in your landing pages.

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Adwords competitors

Bidding on competitors brand terms in Google AdWords

I’m often asked if it is possible to bid on competitor names or trademarks.

It certainly is possible (here in the UK).  I run many AdWords campaigns for clients where their cheapest conversions come from those who were actually seeking a competitor.

However, do be aware that they will soon recognise the tactic and start doing it back to you.    This will very quickly mean you need to start running your own brand name campaign to prevent your competitor stealing your traffic.

Having said that, when you create your ad copy you are not permitted to use trademarked terms such as the word IPhone, Sony or anything where the trademark owner has asked Google to prevent people using their brand in advert copy.

I am also often asked if it is actually ethical to bid on a competitor’s brand.  Only you can make this decision.  In addition – watch out for potential problems with bidding on competitor brand terms, which can arise due to the fact you are likely to receive a low quality score from Google due to irrelevancy.  A way around this is to consider placing their brand terms in your advert somewhere (unless of course it’s trademarked in which case you won’t be able to).

If you are priced more competitively than your competitor, you should be able to acquire cheaper conversions by bidding on their names, so consider testing this theory out today.

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Adwords competitors

Is anyone bidding on your brand name?

You MUST be bidding on your brand name in AdWords.  Have you checked recently if your competitors are bidding on your name, your brand name, or any of your branded products?  Go and search Google now to see what you discover. 

Even if you are ONLY running brand name campaigns in AdWords and nothing else, this is absolutely essential.

If you are not running brand name campaigns, your competitors can easily poach your traffic.  What do you mean, you’re already organically number 1 in Google anyway?  The top 3 sponsored links often appear above those top organic links.  And what’s worse, did you know that in my own surveys, I’ve discovered 75% of people think those top 3 sponsored links are actually organic links?  This means they WILL click your competitor’s ads if they appear above you.  They will then purchase from them instead, and you’ve lost a sale.

So – do yourself a favour and set up a brand name campaign in AdWords today.

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