How to get around big brands offering their terms

There is nothing more frustrating than the competition taking over your best terms.

The holiday season is especially prone to this, as brands fight for market share.

This month’s question is especially difficult as we enter the holiday season. Rakesh from Virudhunagar asks:

“I have a question regarding the same keyword that I and the biggest brands use. As a Merchandise company, I use a generic keyword “Gift for her/him”. As the holidays approach, I can see that the CPC is increasing (target ROAS – BS) for these keywords.

When it comes to auction prospects, it’s not my competitors that outrank me, but Etsy and Amazon. My CPC increased by 200% – WoW. What is the best way to deal with this? Manual bids? or any other bidding strategy would work?

We’ll address this from a Google Ads point of view, however many of these strategies are applicable to Microsoft Ads as well.

Tip 1 – Use keyword variants

The easiest way to bypass expensive auctions is to use different keywords.

Misspellings and synonyms will give you access to the same search terms. If the big brands are increasing the auction prices of the most common variants, consider going for the less common ones.

For example, if the expensive term was “gift received by him/her,” you might consider the following:

  • Gifts for her/him.
  • Gifts for her/him.
  • Gifts for her/him.
  • Gift for her/him.
  • Gifts for him/her.

Try one at a time on the match type you had your original keyword in.

While testing, stop the original keyword.

By pausing it, you will be able to keep your data and return to it if the new variant doesn’t work.

Tip 2: Adjust your bidding strategy

Automatic and intelligent bidding have many benefits.

That being said, it’s very easy for your cost-per-click (CPC) to increase based on your bid objective.

Conversion-based bidding strategies are the most prone to spikes because conversions carry a lot of weight.

Using a bidding strategy that caps your bid is the easiest way to make sure your budget doesn’t get out of control.

That being said, if your bid limit is too low, you could remove the volume.

As long as your bid limit is 10% or less of your daily budget, you should be able to get enough clicks in your day to drive sales (as long as your bid-to-budget ratios align with your industry).

Tip 3: Use audience/target exclusions

Hearings are often overlooked in the auction price discussion.

While it’s true that audiences are built into smart bidding, they can also be used to exclude or uniquely target.

Consider using native audiences such as in-market and affinity to exclude people who won’t be a good fit for your products/services.

You can also use first-party audiences, such as customer and website visitor matching, to focus your budget on warm prospects or save on people who are already familiar with you.

ultimate takeaway

Big brands will always be a variable in auction prices.

However, you don’t need to get sucked into a bidding war.

Finding cheaper variants, fine bidding, and using audiences to focus your budget will help open cheaper auctions to improve ROI.

Have a question about PPC? Submit via this form or tweet me at @navahf with the hashtag #AskPPC. See you next month!

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Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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