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How To Target Your Competitor’s Customers With Google Ads

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A common Google Ads tactic is to target your ads against searches to your competitors. By displaying your ad when someone searches for your competitor, you know you're likely reaching a qualified customer with buying intent.

There are many ways to find new customers online. The three primary driving forces of online marketing – Email, Search, and Social – all work great in their own ways. Email is a fantastic direct communication tool. Social enables us to reach our audience based on demographic. However, Search (Google) enables us to market to customers based on buying intent, and that’s the most powerful thing in our toolbox.

This may be why some marketers think that “social” is more of a branding tool, while “search” is more of a sales tool. And I agree, to a point. Being able to target customers based on what they’re searching for enables us to find our perfect customer when we know they’re in buying mode.

Google Ads lets you run ad campaigns to people who are searching on Google. The most common Ads are text ads – these simply appear as listings at the top of the search results with a little “ad” icon to show that it’s an ad.

However, since these are listed right above the organic (natural, unpaid) listings they get a lot of clicks and attention despite being ads.

We recommend that every company “buys their name” on Google. Because your competitors can buy your name as well – which is the heart of this article.

Buying your name on Google – or a competitor’s name –  is common practice. Essentially, you can serve ads to people searching for a generic search query, but you can also target people searching for a business name.

If I’m a local furniture store, I can run Google ads that target not only generic search terms like “Long Island furniture store”, but I can also target customers who are in my area searching for “Bobs Furniture” or “Raymor and Flanagan”. By choosing to target specific storefronts, I can completely bypass the process of searching for qualified customers. If they’re a consumer in my area searching for other furniture stores, I know they can become my customer.

This same principle works for your jewelry store.

In fact, your competitors may already be doing this to you. To check, simply go to Google and search for your store or business name. See what ads pop up at the top of the search with an “ad” icon next to it. Those stores have decided to allocate budget to show ads to people searching specifically for your store.

 

Ethics

I don’t shy away from this tactic. It’s a completely valid wait of investing your ad budget into people who you know are searching for businesses like yours. However, you can’t be deceiving.

You’re allowed to target customers based on what they’re searching for – including your competitors business names. You cannot, however, misrepresent yourself and say that you ARE that business. It’s ethical to target customers searching for XY Jewelry Store. You can’t pretend that you are XY Jewelry Store in your ad.

 

Does your company use this strategy? Let us know in the comments!

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