Whether you use a competitive research tool, Google tools, or a mixture of both – there is plenty of valuable information that can be harvested about your competitors’ tactics, simply by taking the time to review their ad copy.
What are Their Perceived Strengths (and possibly your weaknesses!)?
As with any kind of marketing, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. It’s interesting to read competitor ads to determine what they think their competitive edge is. As you read your competitor value statements, it’s good to ask yourself a few questions including “Is that something that we do?” and, possibly more importantly, “Is that something that our competitors think we do well?” In other words, is that hurting the business? If so, how can you strengthen your own value proposition. If that’s a value that your business does provide, how can you ensure that your potential customers are aware that you have all of that and more? Reading through the ads can offer some truths about what your competitors perceive themselves to do well.
What Do They Have to Offer?
Here you’re aiming to understand what your competitors have that you don’t. However, in this case, it’s about a tangible offer such as a free white paper, a free consultation, or a coupon rather than a features/benefits statement. In the screengrab above, some of the banks are offering $300 and one offers a virtual wallet. Keeping an eye out for competitor offers can help you determine if your own offers are compelling or if they are blending in with the crowd.
How Are They Motivating Searchers?
From “Call Now” to “Visit Us in Store” and many, many other CTAs, it’s good to have a feel for what your competitors are asking searchers to do. As with the other portions of the ad, this can be very telling in terms of whether or not your own CTA is competitive and might help you brainstorm new CTA testing ideas.
Now, would I ever suggest you rip off your competitors’ ad copy? Not at all! However, it’s good to have a sense for how they market themselves. There’s a lot of information to be learned. Keep in mind that your competitors may or may not be running structured ad testing. Their ads may or may not perform better than yours. Still, the insights you gain from taking the customer perspective for a short time are helpful nonetheless!