Here’s How To Stop Competitors From Clicking Your Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is based on competition. You bid on keywords and phrases that will connect inbound leads to your content and sales copy, and your competitors bid on most of the same terms. You compete with small, local entities, as well as global enterprises like Amazon that have a vast advertising budget and will bid on every relevant or semi-relevant term they can find.
Some of your competitors will dog your ads and steal your key phrases to undercut your campaigns and gain insight into your PPC strategies. You’ve invested time and other resources to refine your campaign down to its highest-performing variables. You don’t want to give that away for free, so how do you stop them from bidding on your brand terms?
The answer is by hiding your ads from them, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s arguably even harder to hide ads from a specific audience than it is to get your ads in front of a specific audience. Here are three ways you can hide your ads from your direct competitors. For the first two options, you need to know who and where your competitors are.
Option #1: Hide your ads with geotargeting
Geotargeting is the easiest option, but it’s also the least effective. First, you need to know where your competitor’s office is located. You can find this by searching their website, particularly the Contact page, or Googling their corporate information. You’ll then focus your geotargeting efforts on their location.
Exclude the selected business’s city from your geotargeting settings. Once done, your ad won’t show up for any users in that area, even the ones who are members of your target audience. If your service area requirements conflict with such an exclusion, consider moving on to a different ad-hiding option.
Geotargeting can be done in just a few minutes, and you don’t have to be an ad specialist or IT wizard to do it. The downsides are that it limits your exposure to your valid audience, and it’s not always as effective as you’d hope. Do a risk/reward analysis to decide if this is the right option for your business.
Option #2: Hide your ads with IP exclusions
IP exclusions are like geotargeting exclusions, except they exclude specific IP addresses instead of entire cities or regions. This is advantageous because you don’t forego your entire audience in your competitor’s location. It’s more effective than the first option in blocking specific users who are messing with your ads.
Google allows you to input IP addresses that you don’t want your ad served to. All you have to do is identify your competitor’s IP address, enter it into the appropriate space in your settings, and you’re done. Now you’re wondering how you can get your competitor’s IP address or what will happen if they start accessing your ads from a different location.
To the first question, you can email someone in the corporate team and record the outgoing IP address from the reply. The IP you get might be theirs, or it might be the email providers, but you can exclude it either way. Next, you can check your website server logs and match site visits to your competitor’s corporate location.
This can take some time and is not very precise. If there are many visits from the same address in your competitor’s city, there’s a good chance it’s them. Be aware, however, that you might be blocking a loyal customer. Still, you’re blocking fewer customers than you would in option one. Run another risk/reward analysis and gauge how you feel about this one, or move on to option three.
Option #3: Hide your ads with a click fraud detection service
Fraud Blocker monitors your ad click activity and automatically flags IP addresses generating a lot of clicks without a lot of conversions. Those IP addresses can then be automatically blocked from your ad campaigns. This protection works to prevent ad strategy spies and click fraud that’s meant to drive up your ad spend without any returns. It’s the most effortless and effective method of hiding your ads from select viewers, and it’s immediate, so you can prevent the consequences of competitor activity rather than react to it.