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Chapter 4. Copywriting Tips to Improve Y... > Monitoring Your Competitors' Click-T...

Monitoring Your Competitors' Click-Through Performance

How popular are your competitors' ads? Recently developed tools grant you insight into their click-through rates. Armed with this data, you'll be able to better optimize your own ad listings.

Google Interest Bar

Run a keyword search on Google. Notice the “Sponsored Links” on the right-hand side of the page? This is Google's AdWords program. See the “Interest” bar at the bottom of each ad, as shown in Figure 4.4, for the keyword phrase “home loan service”? This bar reflects the advertisers' click-through rate. You won't actually see what the percentage is, but if you're already an advertiser and your bar doesn't look as long as the others, then your competitors are getting more clicks on their ads. First-time advertisers can compare the Interest bar of all of the current advertisers and study their ad copy for copywriting ideas.

Figure 4.4. Google's Interest bar under each AdWords listing indicates the click popularity of that ad.

Be careful! A Google AdWords advertiser in the #1 position does not necessarily have the best listing. Google ranks advertisers based on a combination of the advertisers' click-through rate and how much they're willing to pay per click. Unlike other Pay-For-Placement (PFP) engines, Google doesn't just reward the highest spender. Google users get a vote in who moves to number one.

Epic Sky's Overture Competitor Watch

Released in 2003 by Epic Sky, an Overture approved bid management company, Competitor Watch monitors the coverage, rankings, traffic, and spending of your top 10 competitors on Overture. At last check, Epic Sky will run monthly reports on a small number of keywords you're currently buying, up to more than 5,000 keywords if you're running a massive campaign. Study your competition's bidding strategy to see how you can lower your costs while increasing your traffic (see Figures 4.5 to 4.7).

Figure 4.5. Epic Sky's Overture Competitor Watch report monitors the coverage, rankings, traffic, and spending of your top 10 competitors on Overture. Here's a Spending Summary sample.

Figure 4.6. Epic Sky's Competitor Watch reveals your top 10 competitors' bidding strategies by campaign details such as keywords, as shown here.

Figure 4.7. You can compare your campaign to a single Overture competitor through this report, too.

Although Epic Sky's Overture Competitor Watch report reveals which of your terms has the lightest and heaviest competition, the report doesn't show what keywords your competitors are buying that you aren't. You'll have to return to your keyword research tools and start from scratch. There's no tool that I know of yet that suggests keywords to purchase based on what your chief competitors are buying. Oh well, we can dream, can't we? I guess that by not knowing this information so easily, fees won't quickly increase on those PFP engines.

The worst thing an advertiser can do is create one listing for a keyword, or group of keywords, and just let it continually run. Ok, it's not the worst thing, but it's not making the best use of the web's advantageous marketing opportunity: the ability for advertisers to continually change their creative.

Pepsi doesn't show the same TV commercial year after year. The commercial storyline, featured celebrities, and music all change. This tactic improves brand awareness among repeat commercial viewers, plus draws in new TV audiences.

Likewise, your potential clients are searching for a solution provider on search engines over a week, month, or longer timeframe. If you don't intrigue them with your first ad listing, the one you display when they return may suddenly pique their interest, driving them to your web site. Then, it's up to your landing pages to persuade them to buy.

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