Why You Should Look Inward with PPC Competitive Analysis

spy_vs_spy_wallpaper_2560x1024_by_zariousRunning competitive analysis has become a bit of a standard practice in the PPC industry. Whether you’re an in-house or an agency pro, everyone wants to get the edge on their competition in their accounts. In the same vein of thought, one of my standard practices is to take a look inward and run this same style of competitor analysis on my own accounts. Here’s why.

Determine the Accuracy of the Tools You’re Using

First and foremost, if you’re going to be making decisions and adjustments that influence your account based on these tools, it’s important they’re reliable. Depending on the amount of data about any given client and the tools you use, any given search can have any level of accuracy. Think of it like the Google Keyword Planner. If you’re looking for high volume terms, the tool will probably be fairly accurate. But as soon as you get too granular with your search, the tool can be extremely far off reality. The same thing goes for competitor analysis tools. For this reason, I like to run analysis on my clients then compare those analysis results to the actuals in the account or on the website. Then I’ll know when I start looking at that client’s competitors, about how reliable the tools are for that industry.

Great Intro to An Account

If you work at an agency, you’ve probably had at least one client that was brand new to the company. It was your job to determine the initial starting strategy then make it a success. Most likely, you asked the client numerous things about their business, including who their key competitors are. What I’ve come to find over the years is that those questions are extremely valuable, but when it comes to competitors, it’s only part of the story.

Many times clients will know who their competitors are when it comes to their industry, but that doesn’t mean they’re also their PPC competitors. Running competitive analysis on your new clients will allow you to see who your direct PPC competitors will be so you can better develop a more effective strategy to out-market them. There’s no need to directly compete against value statements of competitors you aren’t going to be directly competing against. You won’t be pitted like an either-or question, so focus those efforts on those you will be directly against.

Know Your Own Strengths & Weaknesses

Lastly, running competitor analysis on yourself will give you insights into where your strategies are working where you’re vulnerable. Just the same way you would analyze a competitor for areas to take advantage, you can and should be doing this for your won accounts. This notion is pretty similar to SWOT Analysis. Areas your strong in, keep killing it. Areas of weakness, it might be time to reevaluate strategy. Maybe you beef up your efforts or maybe you decide to get out of these areas altogether. Either way, knowing where these weaknesses are gives you a better chance of making them go away.

How do you use competitor analysis to help your clients out? Share with us in the comments!