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JD Prater

3 Tips for Shopping Campaign Competitive Analysis

JD Prater
3 Tips for Shopping Campaign Competitive Analysis

Heading into the holiday season, paid search marketers are working to make sure their accounts are in good shape to garner more clicks, impressions and conversions. With no time left to optimize before Black Friday and little time before Cyber Monday, it’s important to take time to conduct competitive research. It often gets pushed aside due to the amount time of it can take.

Thankfully, SEMrush launched a new competitive intelligence tool called Product Listing Ads Research (PLA) to help the PPC community maximize their time. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it or used it because I’m here to offer three tips on how you can start taking advantage of this tool.

Using this feature on a regular basis will keep your account ahead of the game and provide some ideas on how to make your ads stand out.

Tip #1 - Know Your Competitors

Do you search for your competitors by typing keywords into Google? While that can be helpful, SEMrush has made this process of finding your competitors a little faster and easier. This new tool can be found in your dashboard and includes a feature called PLA Competitors. Simply type your website into the search bar and click on PLA Competitors.

PLA Research Tool

Not only does this reveal your competitors, it tells you how much they’re spending and on how many keywords. You even have the option to sort the list by Competition Level or Common Keywords.

Combine this information with Google’s Auction Insights report, and you now understand your competition.

PLA Competitors Results

Now, find your your competitor’s competitors. Take your top competitor and instead of putting your website in the search bar, put theirs in and review the results.

Are you on their list? Do you see any businesses you should keep an eye on? Make a list of any competitors you didn’t see in your results and run them through this tool. This will help you get an idea of where you stand in relation to the rest of your industry.

Tip #2 - Know Your Competitors' Tactics

Now it’s time to see what exactly each competitor is up to this holiday season. You’re crunched for time and want to see what your competitor's ads look like. SEMrush offers another feature called PLA Positions. This feature is beneficial for anyone running Shopping Campaigns, because it allows you see all your competitors PLAs without performing a single Google search.

To access this information, head over to your SEMrush dashboard and — using your list of competitors — type in one of their websites in the search bar. After the results populate, navigate to the left side and click on PLA Positions.

From here SEMrush provides a healthy list of data for you to analyze. For example, you can see the number of ads they’re running over a period of time and the percent increase or decrease of keywords.

PLA Positions Results

You can also sort the ads based on the Position, Volume and Last Update.

PLA Positions - Amazon Results

Again, run your website through this feature to get an idea of where improvements in your account could be made. Bonus: this tool allows you to quickly export data into an Excel spreadsheet to further compare your account with your competition.

Tip #3 - Know Your Shopping Ads

Now that you have spent some time reviewing your competitors, it’s time to audit your accounts. However, if you manage an e-commerce site with over 10,000 products, it might be difficult to know where to begin. Using the new PLA Copies feature will help you track down and locate products that are very similar to each other in your account.

Here’s how it works:

"The PLA Copies report shows product listing ad copies SEMrush notices when the domain ranked in Google's paid search results for keywords from our databases. Every ad contains such attributes as the title, price and image of the promoted product. The number of keywords following each product listing ad shows how many search terms trigger it to appear in paid search results.”

For example, I typed in Amazon.com and PLA Copies found eight products that were similar enough to be considered copies. You can see how similar the images and product descriptions are from the results.

PLA Copies - Amazon Results

Ideally, you want every product on the website to have a unique product title, image, price and description so that your products won’t overlap and compete with each other on keywords. There will be some overlap of keywords on ads, but this tool is a great starting place to audit your Shopping Campaigns and maximize their efficiency.

Like before, you can take a competitor and run their website through this tool to see how many different keywords triggered their ads. Another unique feature is the ability to filter out ads so you find exactly what you’re looking for. You can drill down ads by price or product title to get exactly the results you need.

PLA Ad Copies - Filter

This is helpful when a competitor has over 10,528 products and you just want to see those that pertain to your account.

While this is a new tool, its release couldn’t be any more timely. As the holiday season approaches you want to ensure your account is well-optimized, and that includes how you stack up against your competitors.

What do you think? How do you use the PLA Research Tool? Let me know in the comments below.

JD Prater is a Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing where he practices cutting-edge PPC strategies for clients across the world. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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