How to Use Competitor Targeting to Find and Attract New Customers

By Raubi Perilli

      Oct 10, 2019     Solutions    

If you’re struggling to get in front of your target audience, you may need to try a smart and strategic way to find and attract ideal prospects -- competitor targeting. 

What Is Competitor Targeting?

Competitor targeting can be defined as any tactic that identifies specific competitors and then targets their audience and customers. In broad terms, you are simply looking at the customers of your competitors and finding ways to get in front of them and draw them to your brand.   

Targeting competitor customers and audiences is a smart strategy because you already know you’re getting in front of people who are likely to be interested in your products or services. If customers and audiences are buying similar products and services from your competitors, they are likely to buy them from you too.   

If you can get in front of your competitor’s customers and show them why your brand is a better option, you can quickly find and attract new customers.  

4 Ways to Use Competitor Targeting 

Let’s look at a few ways your brand can start using competitor targeting to draw in new audiences and customers. 

#1) Target your competitor’s brand name in Google Ads. 

When marketers talk about competitor targeting, they are most often referring to competitor targeting through Google Ads.   

Google Ads are PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns wherein a business targets terms that their customers might be searching for and pays to have their custom search results appear. In other words, a hamburger restaurant in Tampa named “Bob’s Burgers” might target the keywords “best Tampa hamburger” or “Tampa hamburger restaurants.” Their ad would show when a person searches for those phrases.   

When using competitor targeting with Google Ads, Bob’s Burgers would also target keywords that include competitor names like “Tampa Burger King” or “Florida BurgerFi.” By doing this, Bob’s Burgers’ ads will show to audiences when they search for a specific burger brand. It allows Bob’s Burgers to get in front of customers who are interested in a hamburger brand but could be swayed to try another option.   

This is an effective way to use competitor targeting -- but you must be careful when you use this strategy.   

Google has strict trademark rules that dictate how you can use brand names in ads. While you can target brand name keywords, you can’t use brand names in your ad copy. So Bob’s Burger could target the keywords “Tampa Burger King,” but they couldn’t include the phrase “Skip Burger King -- Try Bob’s Burgers” in their ad. 

#2) Target your competitor’s brand videos using YouTube ads. 

Another great way to use competitor targeting is by putting an ad for your brand in front of or in the middle of a video for one of your competitors. Using Google ads, you can create a video ad and show it to audiences while they are viewing a video by your competition.   

For example, a boutique hotel in Clearwater named “Oasis By the Beach” could target a video about things to do in Clearwater created by a large local resort. A traveler might be researching things to do in Clearwater to plan for their upcoming trip. While viewing the video by a larger resort, they may see the ad for Oasis By the Beach and be driven to their website booking page.   

There are two primary ways to set up competitor targeting in YouTube ads.   

  • Competitor Channel Targeting: Choose the channels where you would like your ad to show.  
  • Customer Affinity Audiences: Create a customer affinity audiences that targets audiences of specific websites. 

Both of these methods allow you to share ads with people that you know will be highly interested in the products and services you offer. 

#3) Target audiences who are interested in your competitors on social media. 

Customers make it pretty easy to tell what brands they like on social media. In some cases, it’s as clear as them literally “liking” a page. Other times, it can be them following a brand on Twitter or looking up a brand on Yelp. There are many ways that customers engage with their favorite brands on social media, and you can use this to your benefit.   

You can engage in competitor targeting on social media by marketing to people who like other brands like you.  

  • On Facebook, you can show ads to people who like your competitors’ pages. 
  • On Twitter, you can show ads to people who follow your competitors.
  • On Yelp, you can pay to display ads on your competitor's pages. 

For example, a new salon in Miami, could create a Facebook ad strategy that targets people who like similar types of spas in Miami. This ad strategy puts the new spa right in front of their target audience, people in their area who like to go to the spa.

#4) Create geofencing ad campaigns around a competitor's location. 

All of the other competitor targeting strategies in this post used a customer’s online activity to target them. In this final tactic, you don’t leverage your competitor’s online presence, you leverage their physical presence. You place a geofence around or near your competitors’ physical business and show ads to people in or near it.   

A geofencing ad strategy creates an invisible boundary around a defined area. It then delivers ads to people when they cross in or out of the boundary. Brands can use this strategy to engage with customers who are visiting one of their competitor's businesses.   

For example, a Cadillac dealer could use geofencing marketing and put a geofence ad around a Lincoln dealer. When shoppers come in to browser Lincolns, they will be targeted with ads for the Cadillac dealer that drives them from wanting to take a test ride in the Lincoln to trying one in a Cadillac. It puts the Lincoln ad right in front of its ideal audience, people shopping for a luxury sedan.  

Related: 3 Ways to Use Competitor Research to Develop Better Promotions & Ads

Launch a Competitor Targeting Marketing Plan Today

If you’re having trouble finding and connecting with new clients and customers -- look no further than your top competitors. Your ideal prospects are likely already engaged with other brands like yours, so use those connections to spread that attention over to your brand. Use these competitor targeting tactics to get in front of the people most likely to do business with you.  

If you need help with any of these marketing strategies, MyArea Network is here to help.

Contact us today to get a free consultation and learn how we can help your brand use a variety of marketing tactics to find and attract new local customers.