Hannah Burnette

by Hannah Burnette | Ad Creative and Messaging

As search marketers, we know the importance of using competitor campaigns as a savvy way to gain awareness and market share. But have you considered the importance of the messaging and positioning of your copy for these unique campaigns?

Put Yourself In The Shoes of Your Customer

Imagine you are in the market for a new item. You search a few brands that come to mind from which you’ve purchased before. You survey the first few ads, which include a cluster of brand names you’ve never heard of and one with the brand you originally searched. You are naturally inclined to skip over the unknown and go for the brand you had in mind. However, if instead of brand names, you read headlines that immediately outline offerings in line with what you are searching for, you may stop to consider one of these options.

For example, in the competitive eyewear space, a search for “Warby Parker” brings up the following results. Notice how competitors are taking this opportunity to highlight their USPs along with promotions and incentives. GlassesUSA.com stakes their claim as “The #1 Glasses Online Store” and follows up with a promotion. The description details their virtual try-on capabilities and quantifies that they offer thousands of styles and frames. They use this ad space to highlight what makes them competitive with Warby Parker, instead of spending space on their brand name.

Warby Parker search results with compelling competitive copy
Branded ad copy may perform best when looking at our ad performance overall, but for competitive conquesting, we need to take a step back and think about the connection we are making to a target consumer that has active intent for our competitor.

Example Ad Copy Performance

In some industries, competitor campaigns are used as a prospecting tactic and are not high converters or high revenue drivers, which was the case in this instance. Because of this, we leaned less on conversion-based metrics and more on CTR and CPC as key indicators of whether or not the ad copy captured significant engagement and impacted auction performance. (For PPC ad copy evaluation tips for other campaign types, check out our post here). If you typically see high conversions from your competitor campaigns, we encourage you to use Conversion Rate and Conversions per 1000 Impressions metrics to paint a full picture.

In the following example, you’ll see data from a client’s results when testing branded versus non-branded ad copy in a top competitor campaign (with ads set to rotate). The non-branded copy did not feature the brand name in either the headlines or description lines.

Ad copy analysis results that shower preferable CTR and CPC for non-branded copy

For this test, we saw a preferable CTR and CPC for the non-branded ad copy. The fact that there was no brand name in the copy to conflict with users’ search terms also allowed for a naturally boosted quality score, which helped it earn significantly more impressions and a lower CPC.

Let’s take a minute to understand how taking our brand name out of ad copy can actually boost our Quality Score for competitor campaigns. We know that Quality Score is used to determine our CPC based on a myriad of factors: CTR, keyword relevance, landing page relevance, ad text relevance. We see in the data above that CTR is positively impacted for non-branded ad copy in this case, helping our quality score. Further, by taking our brand name out of ad copy, we improve our ad text relevance to a search term that features a competitor’s name.

The next time you launch a competitor campaign, consider mixing in non-branded ad copy that speaks to your product’s value propositions and let the data guide you.