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3 insights from branded-competitor PPC campaigns: Kissmetrics Vs Mixpanel

Have you ever gatecrashed an event? Or maybe, you see this as taking a risk to attend an event? Most recently, I have been a big fan of the reality TV series ‘Million dollar listing.’ This series follows three tenacious and competitive real estate agents, who represent sellers of properties in the five boroughs of New York City.  For most properties on offer, each estate agent organises an ‘Open house.’   An open house provides an opportunity for each of the three real estate agents to invite an array of agents representing buyers, to view a given property. In most cases, an invited real estate agent is able to find a buyer for any three featured agents. Some episodes have had one of the three featured agents gate crashing into the others open house to promote their own property. It is a show that expresses cutthroat competition at its peak.

I have been exploring branded-competitor PPC campaigns for a few months and have generated three insights from a Kissmetrics Vs Mixpanel case study. A branded-competitor campaign is one where you bid on the brand term of your competitors. Mixpanel and Kissmetrics are within the same space of web analytics. Treasure Data, a data infrastructure company is also bidding on the Kissmetrics brand term. A review of the branded-competitor bidding and landing pages for all three companies is the premise for which the three insights are generated. A branded-competitor campaign is similar to gate crashing. You are appearing uninvited by a searcher. There are three ways you can gatecrash or run a branded-competitor campaign.

  • Aloof Gatecrashing: This the first form of a branded-competitor PPC campaign. Have you ever gate crashed an event by attempting to walk past the check-in like you had a pass? Or maybe, you were asked if your name was on the list and you gave a resounding YES? Now this is the strategy adopted by the Mixpanel paid search team. A search on the term ‘Kissmetrics,’ returned three ads. The headline and descriptions 1 and 2 do not contain any reference to Kissmetrics. Mixpanel was gate crashing the paid branded real estate of Kissmetrics by acting aloof or without a reference to Kissmetrics or why a user should use its software and not Kissmetrics.’

branded-competitor PPC

The Ad from Mixpanel leads to a landing page that has no reference to Kissmetrics or why Mixpanel is better than Kissmetrics.

branded-competitor PPC 2

Tip: In my opinion, this approach could be best used by brands that have a slight competitive edge or that are quite popular. Also, this approach could be maintained if there is a high conversion rate for the competitor’s keyword and your quality score is not that affected.

  • Acknowledged Gatecrashing: In this scenario, you’re gate crashing an event but were polite enough to inform the security or organizer that your name is not on the list. This approach was adopted by the Kissmetrics paid search team. They are gate crashing the Mixpanel paid search real estate but are acknowledging this with their ad headline: ‘Kissmetrics Vs Mixpanel.’ This is quite clear for a user, as they are made aware that Kissmetrics is not Mixpanel but it is comparable to Mixpanel.

branded-competitor PPCWhilst the ad headline is quite clear that Kissmetrics is a comparable brand to Mixpanel, the landing page fails to follow through with this stance. The landing page is a generic Kissmetrics ‘Request a demo page.’ It is like gatecrashing a real estate open house event, admitting to the host of the event that you gatecrashed but you end up attempting to convince the guest to check out your listing and ignore that of the host.

branded-competitor campaign

Tip: This approach is also best suited for a well-known brand or when a company has a competitive edge over the other.  A high bounce rate, declining quality score and a poor conversion rate could indicate a change in approach.

  • Accommodating Gatecrashing: This form of branded-competitive campaign provides the best customer journey. Treasured data ran a campaign for the Kissmetrics branded term but clearly indicated from the ad headline that they are an upgrade from kissmetrics and also lead users to a designated landing page that correlates with the ad copy.

branded PPC-Campaign

On the first impression, the landing page acknowledges Kissmetrics as a very good tool. It is like gate crashing a real estate open house event but you appreciate the property and inform other agents in attendance that the property is great but if they are looking for any alternative or an additional property, yours is available for viewing. This is the approach used by Treasured Data.

branded competitor PPC

The first few sentences on the Treasured Data landing page couldn’t have put this any better as it reads: “Kissmetrics is a great analytics tool. It allows you to track customer events flexibly and analyze them through beautifully designed dashboard in real-time. However, like all other good tools, it has limitations. While Treasure Data can’t address all of them, some of them can be addressed by combining Kissmetrics with Treasure Data.”

Tip: This approach is a must if you are a new or smaller brand in a given space. This provides the best customer journey and could be useful in improving your click-through rate, quality score and conversion rate

In conclusion, whilst I am not a big subscriber to gatecrashing, certain events are worth the risk, including invading the paid search real estate of your competitors. There are reasons why a paid search team picks a given gatecrashing approach over others. The proof in a paid search strategy is in the numbers or conversion rates. Nonetheless, if a customer journey and conversion rate optimisation is a priority then gate crashing in an accommodating manner may suffice.  Do you believe it is important to bid on the brand term of competitors? Are there more insights around this approach? It will be great to hear your thoughts and experiences

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