Should You Run Google Ads Under Competitor Branded Keywords?

We already talked about whether or not you should run Google Ads targeting your own brand here. What about when people are searching for your competitors? Is that even allowed?

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. Why?

Because people searching for your competitors most likely have their wallet in hand and are ready to buy. They're at the bottom of the sales funnel.

When it doesn't work:

Let's say you run a dental office and you have a campaign targeting competitor terms. If you have the Google Ad Call Asset set up on the campaign then you're likely to receive a high percentage of calls from 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.

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