Analyze Competition in AdWords

24 11 2010

The AdWords Analyze Competition feature, which was rolled out to all US advertisers at the end of August, after first being released in limited beta by Google in June of this year, is a great (lesser known) tool for understanding how your own campaign performance stacks up against the competitive landscape.  Analyzing the competition is an important component in finding new optimization opportunities and improving accounts on a monthly basis.  While the Analyze Competition feature is not a robust or highly intricate competitive intelligence tool (and is tucked away within the Opportunities tab of your account), the feature does shed light at a high level on your overall campaign performance in relation to your AdWords advertising competition.  Here’s how and why even this high-level competitive intelligence should become a useful part of your overall campaign optimization strategy:

Analyzing Your Competition

While business information is not divulged (it’s an aggregate average of all advertisers in your category), advertisers can get a satisfactory snapshot of how their account performance measures up to other advertisers bidding on keywords in the same categories.  This provides a great benchmarking analysis of where performance falls (at, below or above the competition) for campaign metrics such as impressions, clicks, CTR, or average position.  Unfortunately, conversion data is not one of the available metrics.  With the ability to use this data as an indicator of relative performance, advertisers can utilize these insights to make informed optimization decisions for their account.

Categorizing Keywords Properly

Keyword categorization is, as always, an important factor in ensuring your ads reach the right audience, obtain a high CTR and generate a positive quality score.  Using the Analyze Competition feature, advertisers can see how Google has assigned their keywords to a category and drill down to the specific search terms that triggered their ads.  This ability allows advertisers to identify new keyword or negative keyword opportunities and ideas for their account.  Advertisers will also discover if any keywords have been mis-categorized.  Moreover, Google isn’t perfect, so advertisers do have the option to alert Google if keywords have been mistakenly mis-categorized.

Finding Opportunities & Optimize Campaigns

Based on the competitive data garnered by the Analyze Competition feature, advertisers should determine which areas of their AdWords account they’d like to improve.  With the potential to expand keyword targeting opportunities, increase impressions, improve ad positioning and more, advertisers can pair this data with the automated optimization recommendations (customized to their account in the Opportunities tab), align with their goals and make performance changes.

Using the Analyze Competition Feature

Login to your AdWords account and follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Opportunities tab.
  2. Click on the Analyze competition link in the top left side bar, below the Ideas link.
  3. Adjust the compared metric, as necessary (default metric is “Impressions”).
  4. Click on a category link to drill down to a more specific sub-category.
  5. When the category name is no longer a link, you have hit the most specific sub-category.
  6. Click on the See Search Terms link for a list of searches that have been identified as relevant to that category.
  7. Analyze competitive metrics.

Here’s to analyzing success.


Google Instant Preview: What does this mean?

16 11 2010

Google has recently rolled out an update for their search results that includes a magnifying glass that when clicked will serve a small screenshot of the homepage with the site associated.  They are calling it “Google Instant Preview” and similar to the double rainbow…we have no idea what this means(in terms of search).

A few things we do know about this new addition; In terms of search significance, it will not impact your actual queries or positioning…yet.  There’s also no tracking available at the moment in analytics or webmaster tools, so the immediate impact of Instant Preview is uncertain.

What I can tell you are two things:

  • Flash websites do not currently work in Google Instant preview. That said, once tracking is established for Instant Preview and if we are finding this as an effective method of use by users, Adobe may take another large hit in terms of the viability of Flash on the web.
  • Your website design is now even more important for search. Having a well branded, clean, trustworthy site could potentially gain you traffic.  As people may be gauging whether to visit your website more on the look of your site rather than title tags, meta descriptions, etc.

Formic Media Seminar Series: WordPress 101

16 11 2010

WordPress is one of the most widely used open-source content management systems for blogs and websites. The reason for this is due to its out of the box simplicity, usability and variety of plugins that can make a webmaster’s life a whole lot easier. Need to enhance your SEO presence, try using the “All in One SEO Pack” plugin. Are you looking to add an ecommerce shopping cart to your site? There’s a plugin for that too. The Formic team will walk you through the WordPress interface to show off its value and appeal, recommend specific plugins, review how to install it, and of course go over what you can actually do within it, plus much more. Sign up now.

  • Cost: FREE
  • Date of Event: Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
  • Location: Formic Media Inc. (300 NE Failing St. Portland, OR 97212)


  • 5:30 Networking
  • 5:45 – 7:00 Presentation and Q&A

Snacks and beverages will be provided.


    Sponsored by:

    oregon business magazine

    Facebook Launches Email That’s Not Email

    15 11 2010

    This morning, Facebook held a press conference to announce their anticipated new messaging platform. Mr. Zuckerberg himself continually insisted during the announcement that this new product is in fact not “email” but a more robust, modern messaging system. However, users will get a Facebook email address to use (Sorry Mark, that technically makes it email). Within this new platform, people can send and receive messages any way they like – through Facebook, SMS, or email. All of your messages with one person will be in one location, for all time. Your inbox will now include multiple folders for those you know on Facebook, those outside Facebook, and naturally all other junk.

    Not announced at the press conference however was the fact that the new Facebook Messages system will also integrate with Microsoft’s web apps that are a part of the new Office 2010 suite. Users will be able to attach and view Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents easily with one click at or download them to edit in Office. This success of this new platform will definitely receive a boost from Facebook’s 400 million plus users, but that all depends on user trust.  And this also doesn’t appear to threaten business communication either.  Many companies ban Facebook because of productivity issues, so the addition of email and document attachments won’t really make managers think otherwise (there’s also no subject lines, cc, or bcc as with traditional email).  But as a powerful yet simple way to communicate with friends, Facebook made huge strides today.

    Facebook Places gets Deals

    3 11 2010

    Have you been disappointed with Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla’s incentives for check-ins?

    Worry not, Facebook has stepped up to the plate to combat this by releasing a new service called Facebook Deals, which will integrate with Facebook Places. Facebook Deals will allow business owners to serve a deal to Facebook users who check in. Business owners can also set certain thresholds defined by them that customers must meet in order to receive the deal.  They’ve recently added a button and a banner to your Facebook Places page to get you started.

    Facebook just released an official post introducing the service while including some examples of merchant deals already live:

    American Eagle Outfitters: Offering 20 percent off.
    Gap: Giving blue jeans to the first 10,000 customers to claim their deal.
    Macy’s: Offering 20 percent off select merchandise.
    McDonald’s: Giving $1 per customer to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

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