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The Importance of PPC Competitive Intelligence Reports: Analysis and Forecasting

images (2)With PPC marketing getting more expensive by the minute, focusing on the important aspects of a campaign and identifying problems that need fixing has become imperative. Running PPC competitive intelligence reports as often as possible is essential to develop a well-rounded and profitable PPC strategy. From optimizing the testing process, improving bidding and pricing strategies to finding new keywords and placements, this report is a treasure house of data. Knowing your competition, especially when taking on new ones is critical because you are not only better equipped, but also well prepared to take them on. A PPC competitive intelligence report simplifies things and makes this process quite easy.

Defining the purpose of the report

images (4)Be clear about what you are looking for, so that your can gain an edge over your competitors. These could range from placements in terms of product/service USP and price, the use of ad extensions, and the keywords they are using, to bidding on competitor keywords, the type of content on their landing pages, their ad copy ranking for branded vs. non-branded searches, etc.

Choosing competitors

images (3)Pick the right competitors to make the most of the report. The more diverse and strategic you are in your approach, more valuable will be the results generated in the report, which you can then use to formulate your own PPC tactics. Check out big companies in industries like yours apart from direct competitors who have a related or similar business model. Use a competitive intelligence data provider like iSpionage to help you choose your competitive set.

Compiling the data to create an actionable report

Converting all the valuable research into a format that makes the data easy to read, understand and digest is another important aspect of reporting, with Excel being the obvious choice. A PPC competitive intelligence report that offers a top-level overview with ad copy, CPC, top keywords, landing pages, offers, etc. as columns and the most important companies in the rows for both branded and non-branded categories of ads is extremely helpful.

For a more comprehensive view of the competitive landscape, create additional tabs that cover different keyword sets, related ads, and landing pages of your top 3 or 5 competitors. Determine how many different landing pages they use and how often they update them, how good their page construction and SEO is, and what type of calls to action they use or don’t use.

Forecasting/Benchmarking/Forensics

Apart from the more obvious benefits and insights that PPC competitive intelligence reports offer, going beyond the usual questions and focusing on the big picture and finding answers to the more strategically important questions is important. You can also use these reports to forecast what your competitors (individually and as a group) are likely to do in the future and when they are most likely to implement a strategy.

A great way of gauging their level of sophistication and aggressiveness is to know what sort of analytics they use, whether they tracks clicks, ads or keywords, how many ads they are running, how often they put new ads into rotation, and how quickly they react to changes that you make in your ad copy.

There are several PPC tracking programs that let you know instantly when competitors significantly change bids and ads, and develop new landing pages. Apart from tracking day-to-day competitor tactics, these programs can also help answer other questions such as how much are these companies investing in paid search, whether you are investing enough in the same, and how big is your opportunity.

PPC competitive intelligence reports are a great way to predict your competitors’ behavior and how likely they are to respond to any adjustments that you make to your own campaign.

Author

Guest Author Soumya Nalam
Guest Author Soumya Nalam
Soumya has a work experience of 8+ years including 4 years as a freelancer. She worked with Reuters as a Senior Publishing Specialist and Google for a 40 million dollar annual business in the AdSense Online Operations Division.