It seemed like our PPC Hero audience really enjoys competitor research so I thought maybe a little more creeping was in order. I’m going to focus, however, on the various tools on the market that you can use to see estimated metric performance, keyword and ad copy information on those competitors.
Why is competitor analysis so important?
Generally speaking, competitive analysis is top of mind when beginning a new PPC account or opening up a new segment within PPC, however it’s very easy to get bogged down in optimizing to your own data once things are going and forget to revisit this area. Here is “The Complete PPC Account Audit Guide” to see what other items to consider when performing an audit.
My purpose with competitive analysis using these tools is never to run directly after the strategy my competition is using and throw mine out the window, but checking in to your competition’s messaging and possible targets can increase creativity when you least expect it. Is my competition offering a benefit we do better? Are they bidding on a group of keywords I’ve missed? Again, maybe the best idea isn’t to copy what the competition is up to, but at the very least explore what they’re doing and see if it’s applicable to you and your accounts.
This competitive analysis can also help drive conversations with clients if their competition is gobbling up a large amount of market share. If you’re hitting KPI and/or ROI goals, why not invest a bit more budget and tackle as much of that market share as possible?
What tools are available?
Auction Insights via Google Ads Campaign
In Google Ads, you can review the Auction Insights to determine what competitors are competing with you for the same keywords. The data will help you determine if your competition is more aggressive in their bids or budget. The Impression share data details market share and if you might benefit by improve your budget, quality score, or bids. The Overlap rate will show you how often you and the competitor appear in the same auction search results. We can see the #1 competitor has a 17% impression share compared to the next highest one at 13%.
Another important detail can be found in the Outranking share. This metric shows you how often you outrank the competition when you appear in the same auction. In the above Auction Insight results we can see there is not a big difference in the three positions above us which suggest the bids are close. This data indicates that minor bid increases could increase our average position and it might be worth testing if an improved average position also increases ROAS.
This site is one I use regularly, but with definite caution as I’ve seen it report some inaccurate traffic and budget numbers in the past. However, it provides rather specific information regarding keywords your competition is bidding on and seeing the greatest success with. Further, you can view actual ad copies they may have been running as recently as the month previous. And that’s just in the free version! Simply type in the web address for one of your competitors and you’ll see estimated monthly AdWords budget, paid keywords, top paid competitors, ad position, clicks per day, keywords and ad texts.
The paid version of the Spyfu interface also gives you access to about 90% more data, including keyword overlap, CPC estimates and other advanced keyword statistics, and the ability to track your own performance.
The SEMRush site is rather like Spyfu, providing you with top information about competitors to your brand. Within the free version, you can type in your competitors website and view their biggest competitors (are you on the list?), ad texts, average position for the top keywords and the percentage of their total budget and traffic that is allocated those keywords. Of course, with the paid version, all these results and statistics are increased so you can see more data.
SEMRush will also allow you to track information for your competitors Facebook and Bing accounts.
Again, iSpionage is a site that offers quite a bit of information for free, with even more becoming available with the paid version. In addition to showing keywords your competitors are bidding on and ads they are running with accompanying ranking information, if you do upgrade you gain the ability to build new campaigns with the information you find.
Essentially, within the iSpionage interface, you can review the top keywords, top ads, top landing pages, and a list of competitors. This data can certainly help you identify keyword gaps in your Google or Bing campaigns.
KeywordSpy is another tool on the market that is like the other tools. This software allows you to see see competitor’s keywords, domains, ad copy, and AdWords spend. Their program also will suggest specific keyword and ad combinations they say are profitable. Their software refreshes regularly and they state their data is real time. This software lists some big names as their clients, including; Toyota, American Express, and IBM. You can take a free trial in this program and see up to 10 keywords, ads, and competitor domains.
How do you process & utilize all this research?
The most important key here is not to fully trust all the research you just did. This sounds counter intuitive, I’m sure, but the fact of the matter is that none of these tools have direct access to your competition’s accounts. They are simply compiling information from the search engines and making that information available to you. Also, of course, using the free versions of those tools may not allow you to get a full view of what’s going on.
I encourage you to average out your findings after completing competitor research through a few of these tools, that way you’re not relying completely on one source, but you’re making some effort to analyze that competitive data and make changes as needed.
Overall, make sure you look at competitor research with an investigative eye and don’t lose sight of your overall account goals and progress. Competitive research is only useful if you use it as a part of your PPC strategy, not the lead driver in how you determine the best ways to move forward.
How to Expand Your eCommerce Business Globally
The Ecommerce industry boomed throughout the COVID-19 crisis, and continues to grow in this post-pandemic world. Now that global trade and commerce are on the rise, eCommerce businesses can rapidly expand into neighboring markets and establish a digital brand presence across the globe.
Of course, this is often easier said than done, no matter how many resources for expansion you have. The sheer competitiveness of the Ecommerce sector hinders the expansion of many small eCommerce ventures. That said, with the right strategy and the necessary tools, you can take your online store from a local to a global brand.
That’s why today we’ll detail the essential steps you need to take to ensure efficient and effective growth in new markets, and how to establish a powerful brand presence on the global scene.
Optimize and Redefine Customer Profiles
A customer profile, or customer avatar, is an all-encompassing overview of your ideal customer(s). Every growth-oriented eCommerce brand needs to create detailed customer profiles to empower marketing, sales, and support teams to do their best work — but of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The overarching importance of customer avatars for eCommerce growth and expansion can’t be overstated. When it comes to global expansion, however, customer avatars will allow you to improve the buyer’s journey and optimize the overall customer and brand experience in every new market you enter.
To that end, make sure to:
- Identify your most important markets for marketing and conversion focus
- Research the local customer bases and compare them with your existing customer profiles
- Identify the key motivators, drivers, values, goals, and needs of your new target demographics
- Observe global expansion as a chance to establish a meaningful connection with numerous new markets
Automate as Much as You Can
Automation might be a buzzword, but it’s important to remember that it allows us to achieve many short, mid, and long-term business goals — if properly implemented. You can automate many things in the eCommerce world, saving you time and money. Furthermore, automation can empower all of your teams to achieve better results — because they’ll be focused on solving complex problems rather than wasting time on menial tasks.
However, for all the benefits of eCommerce automation, it can be a tricky endeavor. You have to be careful with your investments. You can easily overspend on the tools you don’t need, so you need to streamline your automation strategy and choose only the tools that will allow you to expand more efficiently and effectively.
Consider the following essential automation opportunities:
- Inventory and order management
- Email marketing
- Customer support with chatbot technology
- Gathering feedback and customer data
- Targeting and segmentation based on buyer behavior
- Social media scheduling and posting
Become an Authority Figure in New Markets
To expand your business globally, you need to think beyond how you’re going to ship products internationally or how many payment methods you should accept. Those are all important considerations, but today we are focusing on the strategic questions. With that in mind, let’s talk about the importance of building an authoritative brand presence.
You might be a popular brand in your local market, but if you want to establish yourself internationally, you need to double down on brand experience, trust, and social proof. To build trust, you need to publish truly relevant content in the form of articles and videos, as well as live events and an on-demand webinar that will educate your audience, share relevant information, and make your brand more relevant and engaging in competitive markets.
With diversified content offering a deeper understanding of your audience and what they need, you will be able to optimize your content output to engage people on your website, social media, email, and all other customer touchpoints.
Make It Easy to Access Your Products and Offers
Reduce customer effort. Why? It entices people to buy from you instead of the established local brands. To do this effectively, research your top competitors in all your relevant markets around the world and focus on improving their processes.
For example, if your competitors have a long checkout process, shorten yours to make it easier for people to complete a purchase. If people are having trouble reaching the right product pages and categories, then you can generate dynamic QR codes that people can scan to quickly reach the exact page they were looking for. Likewise, make sure to allow customers to place orders via email, social media, and other channels to make it even easier for people to buy quickly.
Localize Your Content and Adapt Your Entire Brand
Finally, think of global expansion as a way to dominate many individual markets. Global expansion, in a practical sense, is not about dominating the world — it’s about dominating the high return on investment markets and customer bases.
To that end, start localizing your brand, messaging, content, and all your strategies. Remember that e-commerce translation and localization are not just about translating your website, but about adapting your entire brand experience and product descriptions to the unique culture, trends, and language of the local community.
Once you have identified your most lucrative markets, you can go ahead and localize your sales and marketing strategies to maximize their potential in the mid and long-term.
Over to You
While global expansion might have seemed like a pipe dream for many small eCommerce leaders in the past decade, nowadays any online store can transition from a local player to a global brand. By allocating your resources wisely and investing in the right tools and tactics, you can quickly expand into new markets while truly connecting with local customers and audiences.
Now that you know the best practices, you can kick-start your journey to become a global eCommerce brand by the end of 2022.
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