Posted by Brian Aubert, Account Director
In a bad economy, consumers do more research and shopping around to find the best value. A January 2009 Google Touchpoints Consumer Survey found that 53% of consumers use search engines more in the bad economy to do product research. This affinity for finding the best deal even applies to consumers low in the purchase funnel, searching on brand or model keywords. These consumers still may investigate a strong offer or new product information from a competitor vying against the brand they are searching for.
Competitive conquesting is an opportunity to grab the attention of deal seekers. Bidding on your competitors’ brand terms and using ad copy with compelling offers can increase your chance to divert shoppers and drive incremental revenue. You also can engage searchers deep in a competitor’s purchase funnel. The goal is to steer searchers with high purchase intent away from the competitor and convert those qualified consumers on your own site.
Another implication of the down economy is that some advertisers are pulling back their coverage on brand terms because of reduced paid search budgets. If one of your competitors is not buying their own brand keywords, the door is wide open for you to capture traffic. In addition, increased competition on your competitors’ brand terms may increase their CPCs, reducing their coverage even more.
Advertisers should take caution when considering conquesting campaigns. CPCs on competitor terms can be high, due to reduced relevancy. In addition, competitors can retaliate with aggressive bidding on your brand terms, increasing your brand CPCs. Know the financial strength of competitors and their ability to fight back, and be prepared for a response.
Finally, align your paid search practices with each engines’ editorial policies; work ethically within the guidelines for the maximum benefit of your business. Bidding on competitors’ brand terms to confuse or mislead has no long-run benefit – people are smart and they remember poor experiences. Conquesting is not about diluting another brand – conquesting is a great opportunity to offer your product to deal seekers.