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A competitor has shown up on Adwords - any advice?

     
12:29 pm on Sep 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For almost a year now we advertised our (niche) products with Adwords and got nice conversion rates at low click-costs.

Since our widgets are well beyond the 10K$ range, we count newsletter-subscriptions and information-requests as conversions. All the time, we were the only really related ad to the search terms and didn't had any problems with other ads showing up because they were at best marginally related.

Now, all of a sudden, a competitor shows up. And, hey, he's aiming for the top slot!

Fortunately enough I've read enough here on WW as not to engage in an arm's race. From the ad's I've seen of him our copy reads better. I use variables in the headline. I don't use rotating ads (yet) but maybe I should consider doing it.

For now, my plan is to sit and watch and make him pay heavily for his top slot by raising my own clickthrough rate just below his (by trial and error).

Any other advice, tip, trick or best practice?

1:19 pm on Sept 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems there is a significant lag in the AdWords system? While trying to guess my competitors max-CPC I alter the ad-copy every time. Now AdWords starts to oscillate between different text versions even though I have NOT created multiple ads?
1:25 pm on Sept 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You said it yourself, make multiple ad copies to see which one yields the best CTR and conversion combination. If CTR goes up you CPC goes down and position goes up forcing the competition to either get creative or pay more.
9:09 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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No you see them - no you don't? Strange things happening. For one of my keywords, he has the horizontal top spot and I'm in #2 (meaning #1 in the vertical bar). Then I push RELOAD and all of a sudden HIS ad is completely GONE, but my still shows up in the vertical top position...

What's happening here?

11:36 am on Sept 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Maybe he has budget issues :)

Could be anything really. We run over 30 campaigns and every now and then our ads do not show when you want to demo it to someone while there are no budget issues at all.

It is just not a perfect system (maybe through its complexity)

3:36 pm on Sept 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You should be pushing all your efforts on Google to get your CTR higher - and if it's already high you can use that to your advantage.

Maybe you're not supposed to engage in an arms race, but if you've got a 10% CTR and the competition has 2-3% I don't see why you can't have a bit of fun :).

What I think might help longterm is to get your CTR high and keep your max bid as high as you're willing to pay. That way you'll be paying less all the time, but any new competition has to start off paying skyhigh prices to knock you off - and that can get discouraging. Obviously, don't set your max CPC higher than is profitable.

5:16 am on Sept 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey,

So it is ok for him to put his bid up to the max that he wants, even if he has a high CTR... Because google only makes you pay 1 cent above them right?

C.K.

5:40 am on Sept 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Now you see them - now you don't? Strange things happening. For one of my keywords, he has the horizontal top spot and I'm in #2 (meaning #1 in the vertical bar). Then I push RELOAD and all of a sudden HIS ad is completely GONE, but my still shows up in the vertical top position...

When dealing with search engines, don't forget that you are not dealing with one computer. You are dealing with hundreds or thousands of them, all over the planet. Every time you request a page, you may end up connected to a different server, and that server may or may not have been updated. These updates are usually fast, but they are certainly not simultaneous.

Whether looking at natural search results, PageRank, or Adwords placement, you may never get the same server twice.

For natural search placement and PageRank checking, there is a work-around using the Windows hosts file to define a fixed IP address for www.google.com and toolbarqueries.google.com, but I don't see a way to do that for the Adwords ads, since they are apparently included from an internal network. Also, it may not always be an advantage to be looking at the same server all of the time.

Jim

11:00 am on Sept 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Good point Jim,

This does not explain though why ads that have been running for a long time and are not changed at all also do not appear from time to time. Somtimes this is due to language and region setting and the Google flavor you are using but more often than not this is not a factor.

12:21 pm on Sept 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Now you see them - now you don't?

This happened to our site. I set the daily budget to what AdWords suggested but my ads wouldn't show every time.

I called AdWords and they suggested I double the daily recommended budget... I did that and have never had a problem. Seems their daily budget calculator is broke.

12:03 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You should be pushing all your efforts on Google to get your CTR higher - and if it's already high you can use that to your advantage.

I have a CTR of about 4,5% over all campaigns. For certain keywords there are constant CTR's of 10-20%, for very few ones even up to 50%. There's even one keyword with a CTR of 100%, but since it was only viewd and clicked ONCE this hardly counts :-)

I had never had any competition in that area, so there's for sure room to improve. For the moment I have decided to leave the CPC alone and instead try the approach with rotating ads. I'm reluctant to change TWO paramters at the same time... or what do you think?

1:07 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Makes sense, 1st try rotating ads (make sure the "optimizing ad option" in the campaign settings is right for you) then play with the CPC. Bringing extra ads into the game can make a world of difference.

Good Luck

1:18 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My AdWords interface is not in English. What do oyu mean by optimizing ads option"? Do you mean the []"" Defaults?
1:58 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In the campaign options there is one at the bottom left that is called "Automatically optimize ad serving for my ads."

The default is on which means that adwords will automatically favor ads (when you have multiple running) that have the highest CTR.

This may be what you want but if you care about (and measure) ROI you want all ads to be rotated evenly (and hence the option is off), so you can compare ad performance rather than just CTR.

So it depends on what you want I guess. Does that make sense?

3:53 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Oh, OK. Since I don't have rotating ads so far this option is obviously not available for me.
5:07 pm on Sept 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Seems their daily budget calculator is broke.

I don't think it is broken. The suggested daily budget is based on a CTR of 2%. If your CTR is higher than 2%, you should proportionally increase the daily budget. For example, if your CTR is 4%, the daily budget should be twice the suggested daily budget.

 

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