The Pros & Cons of Competitor Campaigns In Paid Search

Danielle Denman
Danielle Denman

PPC Analyst

competitor campaigns

What are competitor campaigns in Google Ads? These online marketing campaigns involve bidding on keywords consisting of your business name or the brand of your direct competitors. This allows your ad to show up when someone is searching for them. 

Here’s an example: When you search for BigCommerce, other brands such as Digital River and Classy Llama are also bidding on the brand name. 

There are mixed opinions on competitor campaigns within the PPC world. Personally, these campaigns worked well for some of my small business clients while others did okay. As with all PPC initiatives, I definitely think it’s worth testing and letting the data decide for us as every scenario is different. Below is a non-exhaustive list of pros and cons I typically weigh: 


  • Competitor campaigns enable potential clients to find an established brand even if they have not heard of you before. 
  • In some cases, you may get conversions (e.g.,phone calls and form submissions) from prospects who thought you are your competitor. The discovery of your brand could lead to the prospect liking and purchasing your products or services. 
  • Your businesses can get in front of new customers who may not be specifically looking for your products or services, but are still in the market.
  • You can use “keyword insertion” in ads to switch your customer’s focus to your brand instead. For example, Looking for {KeyWord:Competitor}? How About Our Brand Instead?


  • Ads tend to be less relevant to the user so they typically have a higher cost per click (CPC). 
  • Since ads are less relevant we typically see a lower click-through rate (CTR). 
  • With a higher CPC and lower CTR, there is a lower quality score so I typically recommend setting an additional budget higher than your current campaigns. Avoid pulling from other campaigns since it’s a little harder to gain traction with this type of strategy. 
  • Sometimes you will get an increase in irrelevant leads, i.e., from customers thinking you are the competitor and are not open to accepting other brands.
  • It will sometimes encourage your current competitors to bid on your brand name, which increases your competition and potentially raising your CPC. 

Overall, bidding on competitors can boost your online presence and get your brand in front of new customers who you weren’t previously bidding on. I would definitely recommend testing this strategy as a supplemental campaign to a well-balanced ads account. It should consist of several campaigns, including a brand campaign. At SmartSites, we can help implement competitor campaigns to your current PPC strategy, and give your brand that extra boost. Schedule a free discovery meeting to see how we can help you today!