A friend from BNI, a networking group to which I belong, text me a few weeks ago about helping one of their clients with some digital advertising. We’ll call the client Zoom Medical Clinic. One of Zoom’s competitors, who we’ll call Advantage Health Clinic, was running Google Ads and using Zoom’s name in the headline.
First, Zoom wanted to know how their competitor could run such an ad and second, they wanted to know how they could stop their competitor from running the ad.
Dynamic Keyword Insertion Ads
Google Ads offer an ad creation option called Dynamic Keyword Insertion. These ads allow Google to insert one of your paid keywords into your headline based on what a consumer searches.
For example, if your keywords were “cheap flu shot”, “local flu shot”, “flu shot”, “flu shot this weekend” and someone in your geographic area searched one of those terms that’s what would show up in the headline. Having a person’s exact search term show up in your ad increases the possibility that person will click on your ad.
Sounds great, right?
Most businesses include their competitor’s names in their keyword strategy. We do that for our clients and encourage others to include their competitor’s names in their keyword lists. Nothing illegal or unethical about that. If someone is searching for your competitor it’s possible they would do business with you instead if your ads show up first.
But what if you’re running a dynamic keyword insertion ad and one of your keywords is your competitor’s name? You could, and most likely will at some point, run an ad with your competitor’s name in the headline.
What to do about dynamic keyword insertion?
If you are running your own Google Ads or you have someone running those ads for you, make sure the keyword list for any dynamic keyword insertion ads does not include your competitor’s name. Leave those keywords for your static ads.
If your competitor is running ads with your company’s name in them, it’s possible the ads are not malicious but rather a lack of knowledge of about how Google’s dynamic keyword insertion ads work. So take a deep breath and give your competitor the benefit of the doubt. Then take action.
We’re not attorneys and can’t advise you on legal action. We can advise you to seek out the advice of an attorney before you take any other action. Talk to your business attorney, show them this article to explain how the ads work or share Wordstream’s article which covers the same topic really well.
An email with screenshots of the ads and information on how dynamic keyword insertion works along with a nice request to rework their ads and leave your name out of it might be all it takes. Your attorney may want to send the letter for you to add a little authority. If your competitor refuses to change their ads or admits they included your name on purpose, your attorney can direct you on the best next steps.
Digital ad products offered by Google, Facebook and other search and social media platforms change rapidly. Keeping up with best practices and possible issues can take more time than most business owners have. We assist our clients in creating digital ads that meet best practice standards and keep up with the changing client in digital marketing. If you need help setting up or cleaning up your digital ads, schedule a 30-minute consultation to see if our agency might be a good fit for your company.