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Google Adwords Dirty Tricks

October 18th, 2010 · 4 Comments

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)

There are lots of restrictions to using Google Adwords that people find confusing and which force many to not try it out.  However there are several easy things you can do even on a limited budget to make AdWords work hard for you.  Some may think they are “dirty tricks” but they aren’t.

Google AdWords Myth

You can’t use a competitor’s name in your ads.- True, but the important part here is “in your ads“.  You cannot use their name in your Ad.  You can use a competitor’s name in your search terms.

Suppose I wanted to compete with “Chris Brogan“.  To do this I would determine the keywords people would use to search for Chris Brogan.  I spend a few minutes with Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool and find the top terms for that are:

  • chris brogan
  • christopher brogan
  • chris brogan blog
  • chris brogan bio
  • chris brogan agency
  • twitter chris brogan
  • new marketing labs (his company)
  • chris grogan

Happily Google reports that none of these terms have high competition.  The term “social media advertising” is also listed but it has very high competition, so I’m going to skip that one because it would be too costly.  I selected those other terms for my new ad campaign.

Now it’s a little tough going up against the big guys on their home turf.  Chris Brogan is a national figure but he’s based in Boston.  I’m in New York so I’ll run my ads in a 100 mile radius of my location.   This way my ads don’t show in his home turf (so maybe he won’t notice unless he reads this blog post, Hi Chris!) and I don’t spend money where I have less chance of getting business.

Now I can write an Ad, or better yet 3 or 4 different ads to display to anyone searching for Chris Brogan.  Why 3 or 4 ads?   Because Google will automatically rotate the ads and show the best performing ad more often.  That way Google makes more money because more people click.  And that way I can learn what ads people respond to.

Now I can stop right here and say, “OK I’ve got ads running whenever someone searches for my top competitors.”  and that’s just fine.  But wouldn’t it be better if I could put their name in the ads.  But Google won’t let me do that.  I can’t put a copyrighted term in my ads unless I own it.  Except…

How to put a copyright term in Google AdWords Ads

“I” can’t put a copyright term in my ads.  But the person who searches can!  So I write my ads using Google’s Keyword Insertion feature!  The Keyword Insertion feature then inserts the search term they typed into the Google search box in my ad automatically.  This is very simple to do when I write my ad, Google has instructions here: Keyword Insertion Help

How it works:

Search term= “Chris Brogan”

Ordinary AdWords ad:

Brilliant Marketing
Social Media experts
Trusted by the best brands

Keyword Insertion Ad:

Chris Brogan Marketing
Social Media experts
Trusted by the best brands

Now in reality Google probably wouldn’t approve this particular ad.  It’s a little too misleading because it implys Chris Brogan works for 1 Good Reason.  But you can craft an ad that uses your competitors names, or trademarked terms in useful and creative ways to make your point to the customer.  So while you can’t say “Ford” or “A&P” your customer can and you can use that carefully in your ad text to make your point.

This technique also works well when there are 1000′s of makes and model numbers you are dealing with.  Use keyword insertion to insert the exact make and model your customer is searching for in your ads.  That way you don’t need 1000′s of different ads for those 1000′s of different models.

If you would like to use this technique any of the other brilliant online advertising ideas 1 Good Reason has don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Now give me 1 Good Reason why your not advertising on your competitors names and terms…

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Tags: Marketing Monday

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention Google Adwords Dirty Tricks -- Topsy.com // Oct 18, 2010 at 4:36 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Kieff, Jacqueline Teo. Jacqueline Teo said: RT @ckieff: Google Adwords Dirty Tricks http://goo.gl/fb/dBOYH New via @ckieff [...]

  • 2 Terry R // Oct 18, 2010 at 8:02 am

    I like the fact that you are being resourceful, but this isnt a very safe loop hole for advertisers to take. Using competitor’s names in an ad only work if they are not copywrited or trademarked. However, the competitor can contact Google at any point to flag the ad, and it will be ‘disapproved’ automatically. If the ad reads anything offensive about the competitor, or is making a statement that isnt supported on the website (eg. we beat the price of Joe Bloggs), then Google will black list your url and bank details for future reference. Also, dynamic keyword insertion DOES NOT work on copywrited/trademarked words. If you do show initially, then Google will eventually do a manual review of the account (as they do with all accounts randomly), then your ads will be ‘disapproved’.
    If you can get away with it initially then good luck to you, but it is the problems that Google can create for you afterwards that is the main worry. It really isnt worth trying to trick the system on copywrited terms. Of course, this is just Google….if the competitor (whose name you are using) decides to sue, then you are in a really bad situation.

  • 3 Chris Kieff // Oct 18, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I agree that you should never try to be offensive or make any statements that are not supported by the copy on the site. If you are writing ads that are misleading, or untrue then you are likely to be sued by your competitor. Using their name in the copy of the ads would make it nearly impossible for the ad to be approved IMO. I always recommend that my clients take a conservative approach to their ad copy regarding competitors and claims. These are issues I didn’t address in this blog post.
    I don’t suggest using the competitor’s name in the ad copy- I only suggest using dynamic keyword insertion. Which I’ve used for years with companies that aggressively protect their online copyrights. I’ve never had an ad rejected because of copyright using dynamic keyword insertion. Part of the reason is I avoid the copyrighted term in the default field for the keyword insertion. (I didn’t illustrate that in this blog post.) Therefore, the only way for a competitor’s name to appear in the ad on the page is for Google to insert it.
    Thank you for your comment,

  • 4 Google Adwords’de Püf Noktaları… « OMD Digital // Nov 3, 2010 at 9:02 am

    [...] http://www.1goodreason.com/blog/blog/2010/10/18/google-adwords-dirty-tricks/ [...]

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