Digital Marketing

Paid Search: Tips for Monitoring and Weathering a Changing Competitive Landscape

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The pandemic made it crystal clear that responding quickly to changes in consumer behavior is crucial to success, especially when it comes to paid search. When shifts in the marketplace happen, the companies that fare the best are the ones who track customer and competitor trends and know when to add, pause, or reduce budget to maximize return and overall market share.

How can you be one of those companies? Here are some suggestions for what to look for and where to find it:

Use Google Trends to, well, monitor trends.

The tool normalizes search data to make comparisons between terms easier. Each data point is divided by the total searches of the geography and time range it represents to compare relative popularity. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term, a value of 50 means that the term is half as popular, and a score of 0 means there is not enough data for the term. Use this data to understand current interest in your core non-branded terms.

Monitor your traffic and visibility in Google Search Console.

By tracking your site’s organic click and impression trends, you can identify shifts in volume to help you gauge interest. If traffic is trending higher, it could mean it’s a good time to add budget to capture even more traffic.

Get insight into your competitors’ paid traffic.

Tools like SEMrush estimate traffic volumes (i.e. estimated clicks per day) which help you track shifts in your competitors’ paid search targeting activity. Knowing how your competitors are doing can tell you if their strategy is working. If it is, you can analyze it to try and improve your own strategy.

Track your competitors’ search impression share.

Google’s auction insights report allows you to see which competitors are showing up for the same auctions and compare their visibility with your own. You may find that your competitors are driving up the CPC, which means you’ll need to add more budget to drive the same volume of traffic and impression share.

Your customers’ needs and your competitors’ strategies are constantly changing. These tactics won’t set your paid search strategy for you, but they will help you identify what shifts are happening in the marketplace, if it’s time to change your strategy, and when to reduce, pause, and redouble your efforts.

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