SEMRUSH & MOZ – Review

Semrush Review: How To Crush Paid Competition

Can you really satisfy yourselves thinking that you have created a wonderful and out-of-the-box strategy which you are sure will help you succeed in your business? NOT REALLY.

It’s not just creating and implementing, what you think is a perfect strategy; In fact, such a strategy doesn’t really suffice in today’s high voltage competition. You have to know every inch of your competitors’ strategy as well. And yes, that is what I talked about in my previous post on how SEMrush can help you in a great way in gaining insights into your competitors’ Organic traffic.

  1. Keyword Research and Position Tracking:
  2. Competitor Keyword Strategy
  3. How to work on Common Keywords?
  4. How To Identify Unique Keywords Of Your Competitor?
  5. How To Use Semrush’s Keyword Difficulty Feature To Rank Highly Competitive Keywords?
  6. Find Advertising Opportunities
  7. How To Check Competitors’ Backlinks Analysis

In case you missed to read my earlier post, click here.

However, all that was covered in my previous post was just one side of the coin i.e. how to face Organic competition. In this post, I shall provide details on how to face paid competition. Yes, among your competitors’ list, there will be quite a few of them who invest huge in running paid campaigns and thus divert substantial traffic to their websites.

Just like the way “Organic Research” section of SEMrush helps you gain an upper hand over your competitors, SEMrush also has “Advertising Research” section to help you crush your paid competitors. Mainly, it helps you save a lot of money which otherwise you might just waste by blindly testing different paid keyword campaigns without really knowing whether they are going to get you your investment back(ROI) or not.

SEMrush helps you know the exact keywords your competitor has invested on over running paid campaigns. You can also identify which keywords were successful and which ones failed and accordingly you can channelize your investment on successful keywords and avoid failed ones’.

Let’s explore all those features under advertising research section,

8. Paid Search Positions


This feature provides an overview of your competitors paid campaigns including

  • Paid keywords
  • Traffic volume from paid campaigns
  • Estimated investment on running paid campaigns

In order to see your competitors paid keywords, traffic and investment then enter their domain in “Advertising Research” and then click on “Positions” as shown in below image.

The key here is pertaining to Traffic Cost (3rd Parameter on Graph) which tells you whether your competitor is increasing or decreasing investment on paid campaigns. This should give you a fair idea on whether to follow the suit or not.

In the Paid Search “Positions” section, you can view complete information related to

  • Campaign Keywords of competitor (2nd column)
  • Ad format and details (1st column)
  • Volume, CPC
  • Landing Page URL
  • Traffic, Competitive Density

If CPC, Competitive Density and Traffic corresponding to a keyword are high then it is of commercial intent. You can definitely bet your paid campaigns on the same keywords.

Mouse over Ad templates (1st column yellow button) and you will get to see your competitors exact ad copies (formats). Also take a look at their landing pages (7th column – URL).

Pay close attention to text phrases in such ad copies, if any graphic media content (image/video) is part of their ad format, how their landing pages look like, what offers/incentives your competitors are offering in those ads.

  • If impressive, then try to replicate your paid ads plus landing pages too in such formats.

9. Position Changes

This feature shall give you complete overview of your competitor’s paid keywords status covering new, lost, improved and declined. Let’s see what these mean,

  • New Keywords: This covers the list of the most recent keywords that your competitor is bidding through ad promotions. Just see if you can find relevant keywords that can help you. Similarly, improved keywords mean where your competitor has increased his ad spending.
    • Also, don’t miss to check the ad formats, text phrases, ad media content etc., if you wish to replicate such ads
  • Lost Keywords: This list covers the keywords which your competitor has stopped promoting as they might not have generated good traffic/returns on investment. You can just check if your paid campaign consists of any of those keywords, if so it is better for you too to remove them.
  • Declined Keywords: This list covers the keywords which have seen a dip in performance and where your competitor is spending less amounts in promoting. You can also ignore such ones.

“Online market is quite competitive and you can’t afford to waste your time and effort in doing even these basic things manually. Just imagine how tedious and time consuming the entire process of finding new keywords and knowing the status of previous keywords will be if you do it manually. Just let tools like SEMrush do all the above stuff and save loads of time for you.”

10. Competitors

Just like the way you have organic competitors whom you search for using Organic Competitor Research features (refer to points 1 to 4 in previous post), similarly you have paid competitors about whom you can research in Competitors section under Advertising Research feature.

In paid competitors’ research too, you will have to follow similar strategy that you follow in case of organic competitors,

  • Competition Level bar
  • Common Keywords
  • Ads Keywords: Similar to Unique keywords in organic research
  • Ads Traffic: Total traffic generated by these paid keywords
  • Ads Traffic Price: Means the total ad expenses your competitor is spending per month on paid promotions

You can get in-depth exact details on each of the above parameters (like Common, Ads keywords) by just clicking on the corresponding numbers.

PS: In case you are not aware on how to use these parameters for your benefit, then I request you to go through sections 2 to 4 of my first previous post.

11. Ad Copies

In case you are struggling with what content (text) your ad copies should have as per your keywords then the best way to deal with it is by using the Ad Copies feature of SEMrush. Here you get to see the full range of ad copies used by your competitors and also it will show the number of keywords that are triggering each ad copy.

Just enter your desired keywords in the search and the results with show all suitable ad copies that are already being used by your competitors for the same or relevant keywords.


12. Ads History

In the above sections you have learnt about your competitors’ keyword strategy, right from what were their paid keywords, how much traffic these were generating, what was the complete ad expenditure, what were the types of ad copies (formats) etc.

However, another major aspect is to know how long your competitor has been bidding for each of these paid keywords. If you know the duration of these, then you will get a fair idea whether the campaign for those keywords was a success or not.

SEMrush’s Ad History feature allows you to know the entire ad history of your competitor.

  • Continuous blue colored cells every month means that the paid keyword and corresponding ad copy has been successfully getting traffic.
  • If you notice a white patch in between the blue ones then it means that keyword was probably discontinued due to poor results.

For example, in the above image, Amazon continuously used “amazon prime” keyword from July to December. If you click on any of the cells (month), you will also get to see the monthly ad copies of the particular keyword. In the above image, the ad copy changed only for November (perhaps because of the holiday season) but it was again replaced with prior format.

Overall Analysis – If you see your competitor bidding for the same keyword ads for a longer duration, then that is what you should also bid for. If you see a particular keyword being dropped or the ad copies frequently changed then perhaps it is better to drop those keywords.

“Conclusion: In your marketing wing, you only prefer to hire professionals with prior experience in online marketing as you expect them to design flawless laser targeted campaigns that are bang on target. Right!! And yes, they might even succeed but only after spending several hours/days in researching before deciding where exactly to investment on paid campaigns.

But why break your heads in hiring professionals, understanding the market and spending loads of time and money on campaign strategy which again you are not sure will succeed or not. SEMrush can get you all the above work done with precise accuracy and all within a matter of few minutes. Just try SEMrush Free Trial for 14 days”