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Are my Competitors clicking my PPC ads?

Updated on April 24, 2013

Let's be honest: Have you ever clicked a competitor's ad just because you're curious?

I know I have. Not every day; in fact probably only about 5 times in total, but still, I've done it. And now I'll never ever do it again.

I've tried PPC online advertising through Google Adwords for the first time. I signed up less than two weeks ago.

I first studied the ins and outs of using ppc adwords, and have been doing keyword research work for a client, and felt I had learned enough to at least try using Google Adwords on my own.

My efforts were good. I have three ads all targetting the same page, and each one has more than 20 keywords that trigger the ad to appear on Google search results - on page one of Google search results, because the quality score and relevancy of most of my keywords is not too bad, and I've placed maximum cost per click bids that are high enough to warrant a position on the first page of Google search results.

The problem is that I don't have a fortune to spend on online advertising using PPC through Google Adwords.

I was hoping that I could spend just a little, get a couple of clicks on the ads, taking clickers to a page on one of my sites with my business services offer, prices, interesting header banner I spent a few hours creating, short paragraphs, neat page, also displaying some of my portfolio on one side. All neat; everything done "correctly."

Then my aim was to pause my PPC campaigns until I felt I needed it again, and even then, only if I had the money for it.

Okay, so because of my small budget for online advertising through PPC campaigns, I can't expect too many clicks through to my site before my money runs out each day (daily budget reaches its limit after just 3 or 4 hours) but I really expected at least one conversion (or further query) from about 40 clicks.

Why did I expect at least one query or order from about 40 clicks on my PPC ads?

I've created a plain and simple page describing what it is Tony and I are offering. It's the same service that over a thousand more in South Africa are offering, but more than 95% of the others are charging more, sometimes as much as ten times more than we are.

The 95% is just a rough figure based on my own research, and, who knows, it may not be very accurate.

The portfolio of work (images) is right there to click through and view more closely - people can visit the work we've done for different clients, and can see that the work is exactly the same as what other service providers are offering at ten times the price.

It is expected that when people see a really cheap price for something that they may think the quality of work is cheap too. They can visit the portfolio to see that it's not poor quality work and that they could save a fortune by using us.

Why have I not yet had any orders?

I can think of a few reasons why I have not yet had any orders:

  1. Even though people want to save money, and are excited to see that they can get a service for such a good price, they are still wary. They think "What's the catch?" - even though it's all there: the description of what they get for their money, and the portfolio can be visited too, to see that the work is the same that others charge much more for. Because they're so wary of being taken for a ride, they're probably not even bothering to look through the portfolio.
  2. They ARE interested, have bookmarked the page because they were only browsing, and will contact us in a few days (it has just been the December holidays and people are not yet in full "working mode." (Of course I'm hoping this is the biggest reason of the three.)
  3. It's mostly the people who offer the same services that Tony and I do, that are clicking the ads, just because they're curious to see the details of what we offer for such a ridiculous cheap price, compared to their own probably higher prices.

Obviously that last one I can do nothing about, and I'm beginning to fear is exactly what's happening (due to myself having clicked competitors ads about 5 times in my life - not everyone feels bad about clicking competitors ads, and we have probably over a thousand competitors here in South Africa.)


So what must I do to improve conversions when money for online advertising is running out?

If it's not competitors clicking my PPC Adwords ads, then I must just be a bit patient and hope some people have bookmarked the page and will contact us soon enough.

If it's the cheap price putting people off, am I supposed to up my price? I am aware that a cheap price can appear just as negative to wary spenders as a cheap price can appear positive to people who don't have a lot of money to spend on a service they need, but Tony and I are nice people and we don't want to charge a fortune for our services.

I feel sad that being nice does not seem to be bringing in the money, but we're not going to change, so we'll just have to keep slogging at it (cheaper or free marketing of our services,) and hope for the best!


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    • Teresa Schultz profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Schultz 

      6 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Thanks for your comment, nextyear - I must say that due to experiencing clicks through to my sites through Adwords that don't convert, it's been a good few months now since I have clicked a ppc ad - even when there is a ppc ad for a site at the top of Google results, and then followed by a natural search result in the second position, it's that second result I'll click rather, so that it doesn't cost the advertiser anything when I visit their site - and I do this even if I AM interested in buying a product or using a service offered on their site (as long as both paid for and free search results are right there next to each other to choose from) I feel sorry for Adwords advertisers who have their ads clicked when the visitor to their site is not actually interested in spending money at their site (because it seems to be what I experienced when using Adwords.)

      I'm aware that Google has tools and methods to help prevent fraudulant clicks on the ppc ads of their advertisers, but I think this is mostly regards if many clicks are coming from just one person - I don't see what they can do about stopping for eg 100 DIFFERENT people clicking a ppc ad (100 different people who are not interested in spending money at the advertiser's site, and are visiting the site for other reasons like checking out their prices because they're a competitor, or for doing research for writing or a project.)

      Anyway, lesson learned, and I get better traffic from SEO techniques (where I don't pay if somebody visits my site after clicking a good natural search result) - I don't think I'll be using Adwords again unless I have stacks of money to spare to spend on it. I didn't have a problem getting good positions in the search results from using Adwords, so I could attempt it again if I had money to spare to spend on it - I just didn't like it that I didn't have any sales conversions in return for "paying" for my visitors. Perhaps I may have had conversions if I'd had my ads showing for longer, but I decided not to wait until then, due to the expense experienced in the early stages, in return for no sales made.

    • nextyear profile image


      6 years ago

      Hahaha...Good confessions, about clicking the links. Google has the technology to prevent click fraud like this.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago

      Hi I have recently signed up to adwords with a small daily budget Im not saying how much but tiny would be the right word! I have been getting 2 clicks through to my site on average per day and not exceeding my tiny budget with an average of 50% resulting in a call for a quote! My site is less than six months old and getting on page one of google was is why I used adwords I have experience in sales and I think if your site is getting clicked so many times with no conversions you have got to be looking at some serious problems I would bet money on your competition clicking away maybe you should look into it a bit more

    • Teresa Schultz profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Schultz 

      7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Thanks for the comment, Topongoogle - even though your comment doesn't really relate to the topic of my hub, plus you've included a link in your comment. Your comment is a little spammy. But I know it's hard work trying to get links to one's sites, and I have allowed this one comment of yours through.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Google is a one of the best search engines these days. It offers Google in more then 100 languages. People can get any kind of information from Google map for example if a person want to go for a wrong drive and he doesn’t know the route then he can use google traffic information

    • Teresa Schultz profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Schultz 

      7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Thanks for that very interesting and helpful info Cait D!

    • profile image

      Cait D 

      7 years ago

      Our company battled what we suspected was PPC fraud

      from the time we started our AdWords campaign.

      Day after day we experienced unexplainable trends.

      When you have a six figure per month PPC budget,

      PPC can and will cost you plenty. It will kill

      your conversion ROI. We tried a PPC

      click fraud detection service

      called ClickReport generated

      real-time reports data showing hundreds of duplicate

      CTRs from the identical user’s IP address and user ID.

      We were able to add this IP address reported by ClickReport into Google AdWords IP exclusion tool so our advertisements could no longer be clicked on by that address. It also allowed us to create pop-up warnings when a user clicked on our ad several times so that hey would know to bookmark our site instead of clicking on our ad.

    • Teresa Schultz profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Schultz 

      7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      Thanks, GoingOnline - I'll give you a shout if I get stuck with something regards Google Analytics - appreciated.

      Adwords - I tried it just that once so far, and wasn't really impressed. I guess more work regards it could be put in, and I should maybe learn more about it, I'm just so far more of a natural SEO fan, yes it does take time, but if not thinking about the time it takes, I enjoy it, and it's cheaper.

    • GoingOnline profile image


      7 years ago

      If you need a hand just poke. It's my favorite analytics software of all time. You can also integrate it with adwords, it will tell you exactly how each of your campaigns are performing and what people are doing after hitting your landing pages.

    • Teresa Schultz profile imageAUTHOR

      Teresa Schultz 

      7 years ago from East London, in South Africa

      @Going Online - thanks for the comment, and welcome to HubPages - 15 hubs in 2 weeks is good going! You're the second person in 2 days to suggest I use Google Analytics (although the other suggestion was for another reason) so I'll really try to get to that soon! Thanks for the tip.

    • GoingOnline profile image


      7 years ago

      Maybe you need to do a bit more investigation, Google checks click fraud quite a lot so _maybe_ you need to optimise your landing pages a bit more :)

      You can install google analytics and try to see if you actually got 40 different visitors clicking your ads, if they visit more pages than your landing page, where they leave the site... Or if they are just the same visitors clicking again and again (and bouncing right afterwards) and again which would point to click fraud from your competitors.

      Would point you to a hub on the subject but haven't had time to write it yet ;) Best of luck!

    • Tony Flanigan profile image

      Tony Flanigan 

      8 years ago from East London, South Africa

      If they are, its all part of their strategy to remove competition from the playing field. What they do is, they click on your Adwords Ads until they don't come up anymore. Then they know your budget is finished for the day. tomorrow they start again...

      Well, I think this is what happens, but I won't do it. I think...


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