Should You Run Google Ads Under Competitor Branded Keywords?

You either already have a Google Ad Campaign running or you're about to start one. You may be wondering if it's possible to advertise in the Google Search Results Page (SERPs) when people are searching for your competitor's brand name.

For example, this would be like Coca-Cola advertising in Google when people search for Pepsi, and vice versa.

Obviously, I'm not going to touch on whether or not this is ethical. So long as you don't have your competitor's brand name IN your ad, it's totally allowed by Google.

Some business owners even claim this is a shakedown from Google and that it's totally unfair. I'm not disagreeing or agreeing with this viewpoint. That is for you to determine personally.

What I will address today is whether or not it's a profitable advertising strategy for your business.

In most cases...

...advertising under your competitor's brand name typically generates some of your lowest cost per conversion. But why?

When it doesn't work:

Let's say you run a dental office. If you're a local business, a high percentage of the conversions you receive from advertising under a competitor's brand name will simply be people who THOUGHT they were calling your competitor. In the case of a dental office, they're most likely following up on a dental visit they already had -- in other words, they've already started a business relationship with your competitor! At that point, they're unlikely to switch businesses unless something was really wrong.

An experienced salesperson might be able to finesse this into a viable lead, but your typical receptionist isn't really prepared to handle this type of call.

When it does work:

On the other hand, if you have an e-commerce business and sales are handled on your website, then yes -- advertising under your competitor's brand name can lead to some of your best results.

Is this fair? Again, that's not really for me to answer. Google allows your competitor to advertise under your brand name just as it allows you to advertise under their brand name.

What are your thoughts on this type of advertising? Tweet at me and let me know.

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