Advertising Against Competing 3PLs on Google Ads

Last year we covered the basic broad strokes of paid search for warehouses looking to grow their business and find additional customers. This year we had a real-life use case and dove a little bit deeper into one aspect of this type of digital marketing: competitor search ads.

For those that might not be aware, competitor pay-per click (PPC) search ads are advertisements that target the people that search for one of your competitors on a search engine like Google. These are potential customers that are clearly looking for the same services that you as a third-party logistics (3PL) warehouse provide, albeit from one of your competitors. This is a legitimate strategy to gain some market share from your competition, but be warned there are right and wrong ways to go about this. Today we’ll go over some of the tips needed to successfully create a good competitor campaign.

Competitor Ad Dos

  • Position your business’ strengths against your competitors. It’s best to look for quantifiable metrics that can prove your business would be the superior option.
  • Use charts and tables to illustrate your points about your competitive advantages. A side-by-side comparison will go a lot longer than descriptive paragraphs ever can and provide much more digestible content overall.
  • Reference the competition you’re bidding against on your landing page. By incorporating similar words of the keywords searched, it will help improve your ad rank and can lower the cost of each individual click.

Competitor Ad Don’ts

  • Don’t slander. You want to position yourself as better than your competition, but try your best not to throw any mud around. For one, it’s a tactless method that could potentially rub prospective customers the wrong way. Second, it violates Google’s ad policy, and your competitor ads can be disapproved and lead to complications within your Google Ads account.
  • Don’t use a generic converting page. While you may already have a landing page on your website designed to attract new business, it likely doesn’t speak to the pros and cons of your business against a specific competitor. Using a page that’s tailored for a specific persuasion message will see significantly better performance.
  • Don’t use trademarked brand names in your ad copy. While authorized resellers are allowed to use certain trademarked brand names, they’ve often gone through a lengthy approval process to be allowed to use trademarked brand names, one that your business likely won’t be able to do.

Important Reminders for Competitor Ads

Remember that while competitor ads can be an effective way to gain market share from a well-known competitor within the 3PL industry, it will come at a premium in terms of the cost per click (CPC). This is because the person is searching for a different brand, and while you may be targeting the people searching for this other brand, Google knows that you aren’t them. So, showing your ad won’t be considered the “best answer” for the users’ search query (which is the whole point of Google). As a result, Google will raise the price on your PPC advertisement clicks because your brand is not the exact intent of the searcher.

All that said, if a person is still in the research stage and comparing alternatives to services and companies they’ve already spoken with or gotten a quote from, using these types of ads are a great way to position yourself against others and try to capitalize on their name recognition to bring your 3PL more business.

If you don’t know exactly who your competitors are, a few ways to find them are to ask yourself:

  1. Who is bidding against your 3PL’s brand as a keyword already?
  2. Who is bidding on ads for the service keywords you provide as a warehouse?
  3. Who is organically ranking (showing on the search results page without paying) for the service keywords you provide as a warehouse?

Regarding the first one, you only need to type your own company’s brand into Google to see who shows up. For the next two options, find the list of keywords you might want to bid on or capture market share on and develop a list of those warehouses to begin your research into how your warehouse operates better—giving you a competitive advantage that you can feature on your landing page.

Competitor Ads for Warehouses Conclusion

Using paid search channels is a good way to obtain new customers, and by targeting the branded keywords of competing 3PLs, you can ensure the user is moderately educated in the logistics space and is looking for warehousing and fulfillment services that your 3PL also provides. While this is a proven tactic, be sure to clearly position your competitive advantages. Otherwise, you might just end up confusing the prospect and allowing them to continue going through the process of meeting with your competitor.

To learn more great growth strategies, download our 3PL warehouse checklist.

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