PPC Competitor Analysis Guide: How to Identify, Research and Beat Your Competition (2023)

Knowing who your competitors are in PPC is crucial. In this guide, we look at competitor analysis and how to stay ahead of the game.

PPC is one of the most competitive forms of marketing. You have countless other businesses, all bidding on the same keywords and audience and hoping that their advert comes out on top.

PPC competition is fierce. But it’s a valuable tool that you can use to your advantage. That’s why we’ve created this guide to identifying your competition and using the information to come out on top.

Ready to be the PPC champion? Let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Why you need to know your PPC competition

Get inspired by your competitors

How to identify your PPC competitors

5 questions to ask about your competitors

1. Who are your competitors?

(Video) Competitor Analysis Framework: The 5-Step Guide You MUST Follow

2. Are your competitors a threat?

3. Are your competitors outbidding you?

5. What action should you take?

Find keywords your competitors aren’t bidding on

Should you bid on a competitor’s keywords?

PPC tools that will help you find your competitors keywords

Microsoft Advertising’s Competition Tab

Google Ad’s Audience Insights

(Video) How to Run a Competitor Analysis for PPC



Advanced Web Ranking

SEO PowerSuite

A small part of the bigger picture

Why you need to know your PPC competition

PPC competition is dirty and harsh. But, the good news is that it’s not all based on cost. The person who pays more doesn’t automatically get the best spot, meaning that small businesses can stand a chance against the big leagues.

Across various PPC advertising platforms, including Google and Microsoft, the position of your ad is down to 3 key factors:

  1. Relevance
  2. Quality
  3. Budget

That means that your ads need to be relevant to the keywords or target demographics and that they are quality adverts that don’t deceive or trick the users.

To beat your competitors, you don’t need to outbid them. But, there’s a little more finesse to this. Beating your PPC competition is about gathering information on their tactics, spotting weaknesses and using this data to be one step ahead.

PPC competition isn’t a battle of brute strength, it’s a game of chess.

PPC Competitor Analysis Guide: How to Identify, Research and Beat Your Competition (1)

Get inspired by your competitors

There’s a danger that seeing what your competition is doing might set off copycat alarm bells. You might see them do one tactic and immediately question if it’s something you have to implement.

The problem with this is that you’re always going to be one step behind. You shouldn’t ever base your strategy on what your competitors are doing. You need to focus on what makes you different and showcase that to put you ahead.

Looking at your competitors gives you a chance to get a better overview of the market and inspired for your campaigns. When doing competitor analysis, think:

  • Are they offering a better benefit?
  • Are their adverts stronger?
  • How can you beat this?

Then use this to your advantage, creating better and stronger campaigns than before.

(Video) 6 Steps to Conquer Your Competitor Analysis

How to identify your PPC competitors

Okay, first things first, you need to know who your competitors are. Who’s going after the same keywords as you? Who’s stealing your top position and taking clicks away from your ad?

If you don’t know the answer, then you had better find out. And please, don’t do this by searching for your keywords. Instead, use in-platform tools like Microsoft Advertising’s Competition Tab or Google’s Auction Insights to see who is your biggest threat.

We’ve left some details on both these features and other PPC tools you can use to pull this data at the end of this article.

5 questions to ask about your competitors

Once you’ve got a list of your competitors, there are 5 essential questions you need to answer.

1. Who are your competitors?

This one is more than just naming your competitors. It’s researching the company finding out who they are, what services they offer and who their customers are.

2. Are your competitors a threat?

Just because you’re targeting the same keywords doesn’t necessarily mean that the other company is a threat to yours. That’s why it’s essential to research the company first to evaluate whether they’re a threat to your business or not. In some cases, you might find that suppliers of your product are bidding on your keywords or even relevant blogs if it’s an industry-related keyword.

However, they’re a direct competitor, offering the same services or products, then you can mark them down as a threat.

3. Are your competitors outbidding you?

To answer this question, you’ll need to do some competitor analysis. You want to know what keywords you’re competing on, where they’re ranking higher than you and how often this is happening.

4. Do you need to take action right now?

This step is about prioritising your workload. There’s just not enough hours in the week to work on every aspect of your PPC management. So, you need a place to start.

If any competitors are consistently outperforming you, then you need to take action.

You can put those below you in the rankings on the backburner for now. But remember to keep an eye on them.

5. What action should you take?

If your competitors are outperforming you, you need to find out why. Take a look at their ad creatives, at their keywords and discern the strategy that they’re using.

  • Are their adverts more relevant?
  • Have they got a better offer?
  • Are they pushing a benefit that you’re not using?

Find all you can learn from their adverts and use them to improve your offering.

Looking for some creative inspiration? We’ve got you covered with these unique PPC adverts.

Find keywords your competitors aren’t bidding on

There’s a big opportunity that comes from looking between the lines of your competitor’s keywords. Instead of just looking at what they’re bidding on, you should work out what keywords are missing from their lists.

If there’s a gap that they’re not targeting, you should go for it.

Less competition means a lower cost to get your advert to the top, making your budget go further. It’s like sneaking through a back entrance while everyone else queues at the front door. It’s a handy way to do some keyword research.

Should you bid on a competitor’s keywords?

This is a hotly-debated topic in PPC. The short answer is that it depends.

There are some cases where bidding on a competitor’s keywords can be a great strategy. This meant that when someone searches for a competitor’s name, your advert will come in in place, potentially stealing their customers right from under their nose.

(Video) Competitor Analysis Marketing: PPC, Landing Pages, Ads and more...

For example, if you search for Adzooma, you might see bids from other companies such as Madgicx promoting their software as an alternative to us.

In this case, Madgicx saw us as a competitor and included our name as a keyword to try and poach some of our customers by saying that they’re better (they’re not).

However, we do agree that great advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. That’s why our entire platform is free. We’ll just wait to see how long it takes for Madgicx to counter that one shall we?

PPC Competitor Analysis Guide: How to Identify, Research and Beat Your Competition (2)

The problem with this tactic is that it doesn’t always work. People who search for specific brand names may have already made up their mind or have a bias about that company, so your ad won’t change their mind. It’s like bidding on a lost cause.

Bids like this can also be vulnerable to click fraud, as competitors may click on these adverts just to waste your budget.

PPC tools that will help you find your competitors keywords

The great thing about PPC is that there’s a tool to help with nearly every situation. So, when you’re undergoing research on your competitors, these following tools might be a handy place to start.

Microsoft Advertising’s Competition Tab

Microsoft Advertising makes it easy to gather information about your competition in their unique Competition Tab. This feature is a one-stop solution to gather all of your data in a single place.

In the Competition Tab, you can find key performance metrics and compare them directly to your own, both over time (such as the past week, month or year) as well as aggregated metrics for a specific date range. What’s more, you can segment this data into device type, days or even hours within the day.

Google Ad’s Audience Insights

Auction Insights allow you to see what competitors are competing with you for the same keywords. It will give you metrics such as:

  • Overlap rate, which shows you how often you and a competitor appear in the same results
  • The position above rate, which shows you how often a competitors ad was placed higher than your own.
  • Outranking share, which shows how often you outrank the competition when you appear in the same auction.

It’s an excellent tool for directly comparing how your ads are doing for specific keywords.


SEMRush is another platform where you enter a website and reveal information about your biggest competitors including their top keywords and more. It will also give you information about their Facebook pages and Microsoft accounts, making it incredibly useful for those that are advertising on more than one platform.


Checkbotis a great platform that finds critical SEO, speed and security problems before your website visitors do. They test hundreds of pages at once for broken links, duplicate titles, invalid HTML and loads of other checks – if there’s something wrong with your website, they will find it.

Advanced Web Ranking

Advanced Web Ranking (AWR)gives you fresh daily, weekly and on-demand rankings packed nicely into white label reports that are accessible from any device. They provide you with custom SEO reports which are fully customizable, straightforward and integrated with third-party reporting tools.

SEO PowerSuite

SEO PowerSuiteholds enough tools for an SEO campaign of any caliber. It’s got everything from SEO analysis tool to keyword research tools to backlinks checkers to content editors to PPC ads optimization and much more. With its intuitive UI and a wealth of pro-level features, it’s a perfect SEO tool for newbies and experts alike

A small part of the bigger picture

A final bit of advice, knowing your PPC competition is an important step to improving your campaigns. But don’t let it consume you.

It’s one to keep an eye on and revisit, but there are times where you’ll be outbid. You can’t win all of them. But using your competition as a strategy will help you improve your campaigns, improve your rankings for specific keywords and improve your overall performance.

Looking for other ways to get the most from your campaigns? You’re in luck.

We’ve got an entire PPC management platform for your Google, Microsoft and Facebook campaigns that’s entirely free to use. That’s one-click optimisations, intelligent reporting and a built-in campaign builder.

It’s everything you need to optimise your campaigns. You can sign up for free here.

(Video) Competitive Analysis: How To Hack It In 6 Steps


What are the 6 steps of competitive analysis? ›

6 Steps to Performing a Competitive Analysis
  • Identify competitors. Find out how much you're spending on monthly biz app subscriptions. ...
  • Analyze competitors' online presence. ...
  • Check online reviews. ...
  • Talk to competitors' customers. ...
  • Identify their strengths and weaknesses. ...
  • Use research tools.
Apr 5, 2021

How do you beat competitors in SEO? ›

5 Steps to Beat Your Competition at SEO
  1. Content Creation is Key. Creating useful, relevant, and keyword-rich blog posts, web pages, articles, videos, white papers, etc. ...
  2. Conduct Keyword Research. ...
  3. Keep Track of Your Competitors' SEO Activities. ...
  4. Monitor Your Competitors' Backlinks. ...
  5. Stay on Top of SEO News.

What type of research is used for competitor analysis? ›

Competitive analysis is a subset of market research. When you investigate your competition, you use market research techniques and concepts to understand what your competition is doing today and gain insight into their plans for tomorrow.

What two tools should you use when doing competitor research? ›

Best competitor analysis tools
  • Quick Search.
  • BuiltWith.
  • WooRank.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner.
  • SEMrush.
  • SpyFu.
  • Owletter.
  • SimilarWeb.
Oct 7, 2021

What are the 4 key factors for competitive success? ›

What Are the Key Planning Factors for Competitive Success in...
  • Knowing Customer Needs. ...
  • Understanding Competitors' Strengths and Weaknesses. ...
  • Finding Markets That Are Large or Growing.
Nov 21, 2018

What are the 4 major competitive strategies? ›

Here are four types of competitive strategy and an example for each:
  • Cost leadership strategy. ...
  • Differentiation leadership strategy. ...
  • Cost focus strategy. ...
  • Differentiation focus strategy.
Nov 16, 2021

What are the 3 basic competitive strategies? ›

According to Porter's Generic Strategies model, there are three basic strategic options available to organizations for gaining competitive advantage. These are: Cost Leadership, Differentiation and Focus.

What is the best way to beat the competition? ›

10 Tactics to Beat Your Competitors
  1. Know the Competition. You can have no idea how you're better if you don't get to know the competition. ...
  2. Figure Out How You're Different. ...
  3. Look for an Underserved Group. ...
  4. Know Your Audience. ...
  5. Make Strategic Alliances. ...
  6. Catch Them off Guard. ...
  7. Ditch the Sales Pitch.
Dec 21, 2016

How do I outsmart my competitors? ›

11 ways to outsmart, not outspend your competition
  1. Know thyself. Understand who you are and what you stand for as a brand. ...
  2. Know your audience. ...
  3. Don't be everything to everyone. ...
  4. Stay focused. ...
  5. Put your people to work. ...
  6. Create evangelists, not just customers. ...
  7. Get involved. ...
  8. Choose wisely.

What are the six parts model for winning at SEO? ›

  • Keywords. Keyword research is the first step to a successful SEO strategy. ...
  • Meta tags. Meta tags still play a vital role in SEO. ...
  • Content. It's true, content is king. ...
  • Backlinks. If content is king, then backlinks are queen. ...
  • Social media. The algorithms have truly changed since social media first emerged. ...
  • Product images.
Aug 3, 2012

What are the 7 steps needed to conduct a market analysis? ›

These are the seven steps of conducting a market analysis:
  • Determine your purpose. ...
  • Research the state of the industry. ...
  • Identify your target customer. ...
  • Understand your competition. ...
  • Gather additional data. ...
  • Analyze your data. ...
  • Put your analysis to work.
Feb 21, 2023

What is 4 components of competitive analysis explain? ›

Defining a market, knowing your relative performance on the competitive landscape and driving healthy, repeatable customer experiences are all vital elements of competitor analysis. The last important part of a competitor analysis framework is the messaging around the good or service itself.

What are the 5 competitive strategies examples? ›

The Five Forces
  • Threat of New Entrants. The threat of new entrants into an industry can force current players to keep prices down and spend more to retain customers. ...
  • Bargaining Power of Suppliers. ...
  • Bargaining Power of Buyers. ...
  • Threat of Substitute Products. ...
  • Rivalry Among Existing Competitors.

What are the 4 types of market research? ›

Four common types of market research techniques include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and customer observation.

Which tool is best for competitor analysis? ›

10 Free Competitor Analysis Tools
  • Google Trends. Google Trends is a website that helps users in tracking down the most popular Google Searches across several geographies and linguistic communities. ...
  • Similar Web. ...
  • Ubersuggest. ...
  • SEMrush. ...
  • Siteliner. ...
  • Vidiq. ...
  • Moz. ...
  • Buildwith.
Feb 12, 2023

Can you use SWOT for competitor analysis? ›

A competitor SWOT analysis is simply a way to assess your competitor's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats so that you can better understand their business and, in turn, your own.

What are the three factors while doing a competitors analysis? ›

As the name suggests, competitive analysis is the process of identifying your competitors, evaluating their product and marketing strategies, assessing their strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately determining how your company stacks up against them.

Which method can be used to identify competitors? ›

Keyword research is the best way to identify your indirect competition. By conducting a competitive SEO analysis, you can determine which businesses or publishers are competing for space on Google. After all, many of your customers are looking for your products and solutions by typing them into search engines.

What are the 5 competitive priorities? ›

There are five common groups of competitive priorities namely cost, quality, time, flexibility and innovation. Finding the right competitive priorities does not happen overnight, many companies struggle for years when making decisions regarding different competitive priorities.

What are the six pillars of competitive advantage? ›

They are: location, selection, service, quality, price, speed, and turnaround.

What are the 5 critical success factors? ›

The five critical success factors are strategic focus, people, operations, marketing, and finances. How to find success factors? The first step in finding and identifying success factors is understanding the overall objective of a project and the processes required to achieve it.

What are Porter 5 generic strategies? ›

What are Porter's Generic Strategies? Porter's Generic Strategies is a group of four categories of competitive strategy: Differentiation, Cost Leadership, Focus (Cost), Focus (Differentiation).

What are competitive tactics? ›

Competitive tactics can be short-term maneuvers or longer-term actions, but they are always about gaining a better market position relative to actual or potential rivals. Tactics include decisions about pricing and product offerings.

What are the five 5 forms of strategy? ›

They are Plan, Ploy, Pattern, Position, and Perspective. Each of these are discussed below.

What are two keys effective competitive strategy? ›

Three Types of Competitive Strategy

He lays out two primary strategies: 1) cost leadership, and 2) differentiation. These are supplemented by a third factor that identifies whether you are taking a broad or niche market focus.

What are the three pillars of competition policy? ›

The Act against Restraints of Competition anchors the principle of the free market economy in law. It consists of three mains pillars: the ban on cartels, supervision of abuse of dominant positions, and merger control.

How do you destroy competition? ›

  1. A strategy for eliminating competition. ...
  2. Here are five strategies to eliminate competition.
  3. Give the most value. ...
  4. Addressing customer needs in the first place. ...
  5. Be the first to maximise new sales channels and social media. ...
  6. Setting competitive pricing. ...
  7. You have an authentic mission and purpose. ...
  8. Share your knowledge.
Jun 15, 2022

How do you surpass a competition? ›

How to Surpass the Competition with a Competitive Analysis
  1. Focus on One Area First. ...
  2. Utilize Competitive Analysis Tools. ...
  3. Group by Size and Importance. ...
  4. Don't Copy Your Competitors. ...
  5. Keep Up with Their Marketing Efforts. ...
  6. Always Test Your Own Experiments. ...
  7. Use These Tips to Analyze Your Competitors and Advance Your Business.
Dec 22, 2022

How do you overcome unfair competition? ›

Tips For Protecting Against Unfair Competition From Within
  1. Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements. ...
  2. Strong Company Policies. ...
  3. Limited Access to Trade Secrets. ...
  4. Training and Protocols. ...
  5. Audits.
Jun 11, 2014

How do you deal with toxic competitors? ›

20 Ways to Deal with Competition in the Workplace
  1. Assess the situation. First things first, you need to assess the situation and make sure there aren't any misunderstandings. ...
  2. Don't lose focus. ...
  3. Talk to them. ...
  4. Form alliances. ...
  5. Compete with yourself. ...
  6. Talk to your boss. ...
  7. Don't bite back. ...
  8. Be likeable.
Apr 5, 2022

How do you manage an aggressive competitor? ›

5 Strategies for Dealing with Aggressive Competition
  1. Change Your Mindset. ...
  2. Share Like You Did in Kindergarten. ...
  3. Differentiate Yourself. ...
  4. Accept Imitation as Flattery … but Keep Innovating. ...
  5. Realize that Competitors Aren't Always Competitors.
Apr 6, 2015

What 4 pillars are important in SEO? ›

The four pillars of SEO
  • technical SEO: How well your content can be crawled and indexed.
  • content: Having the most relevant and best answers to a prospect's question.
  • on-site SEO: The optimization of your content and HTML.
  • off-site SEO: Building authority to ensure Google stacks the deck in your favor.
Nov 1, 2017

How do I find the best keywords for SEO? ›

Here's how:
  1. Use Google Keyword Planner to cut down your keyword list. ...
  2. Step 2: Prioritize low-hanging fruit. ...
  3. Step 3: Check the monthly search volume (MSV) for keywords you've chosen. ...
  4. Step 4: Factor in SERP features as you choose keywords. ...
  5. Step 5: Check for a mix of head terms and long-tail keywords in each bucket.
Jan 7, 2022

What are the three 3 most important SEO and website metrics? ›

These SEO metrics help measure whether your current strategies are working, how effective they are, and where there's room for improvement. Some of the most common SEO KPIs include rankings, organic traffic, backlinks, and pages indexed.

What is PPC competitor analysis? ›

PPC competitor analysis is one of the most important strategic steps in constructing a winning advertising campaign. An effective analysis of your PPC competition can reveal valuable insights that will inform your overall targeting and bidding strategy.

What is competitor research in SEO? ›

An SEO competitor analysis is the act of checking out your industry's competitive landscape online, evaluating your SEO competition, and analyzing the information you uncover to boost your own website SEO and climb up the rankings.

What are the 4 C's of PPC? ›

PPC Signal is an AI-driven application you can leverage to implement the customer, cost, convenience, and communication (4 Cs of marketing).

How do I find competitors PPC keywords? ›

iSpionage gives you access to SEO and PPC keyword data from Bing, Yahoo, and Google. Results from these three search engines can help you analyze your PPC competitor's keyword ranking on different search engines.

How do I create a competitor analysis template? ›

How to do a competitive analysis
  1. Create a competitor overview. In step one, select between five and 10 competitors to compare against your company. ...
  2. Conduct market research. ...
  3. Compare product features. ...
  4. Compare product marketing. ...
  5. Use a SWOT analysis. ...
  6. Identify your place in the market landscape.
Oct 9, 2022

What are some examples of competitive analysis? ›

14 Examples of Competitor Analysis
  • Brand Awareness. The percentage of your target market that are familiar with the competitor's brand. ...
  • Costs. Estimating the costs of a competitor's products from financial statements. ...
  • Products. ...
  • Customer Experience. ...
  • Capabilities. ...
  • Financials. ...
  • Organizational Culture. ...
  • Intellectual Property.
Mar 28, 2017

What is SWOT analysis for competitors? ›

A competitor SWOT analysis is simply a way to assess your competitor's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats so that you can better understand their business and, in turn, your own.

What are the five types of competitor? ›

There are 5 types of competitors: direct, potential, indirect, future, and replacement. Direct competitors are competitors who are directly vying for your customers.

Should you research your competitors backlinks? ›

Competitive backlink research is one of the first steps in either building your own link-building strategy or figuring out what it takes to achieve your competitors' organic rankings. Links are certainly not the only ranking signal, but they are still one of the most powerful factors (if not the most powerful one).

What are the three types of competitor information? ›

What are the 3 Types of Competitors?
  • Direct Competitors.
  • Indirect Competitors.
  • Replacement Competitors.


1. Competitor Analysis Framework | Importance of Competitor Analysis
(eCommerce by Enablers)
2. Google Ads Course | Auction Insight Reports in Google Ads | Competitor Analysis in Google Ads | #51
(Umar Tazkeer )
3. SEMRush Tutorial: Competitor Analysis | Basic SEMRush Competitors Research (2023)
(Gustav Eriksson)
4. The HOTH: PPC Competitor Research Tool
(The HOTH)
5. How To Profit From Your Competitors’s Secrets - Competitor Analysis Framework
(Linx Digital)
6. How to do a competitive analysis: Tools to beat your competitors
(PPC Masterminds)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 01/05/2023

Views: 5648

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.