Find Competitors’ Conversion Rates

Author: Gab Goldenberg

If you could find out what competitors’ conversion rates are and you can estimate the traffic value to your competition? Surely the PPC pros could use that conversion data…

Well, it turns out you can get a pretty good idea about competitors’ conversion rates.

At SMX Advanced, Addie Connor shared the tip that you could bid for traffic to your competitors’ pages. Why do that? To find out their quality scores.

The catch is that such a technique won’t tell you what they’re converting at. You still can’t access their analytics.

Let’s think about this critically.

(I’m writing a little book on advanced search marketing (mostly SEO but some PPC too), and one of the main themes is that you can get really creative if you think logically and break things down into manageable pieces of logic.)

The argument we have is as follows.

We don’t control competitors’ pages. Therefore we don’t control what analytics code is on those pages. And if you don’t place your own analytics, on the page, you can’t read the reports!

Suppose we did control the pages. We could then place our code on them, right? And we could read the reports, right?

Now I’m going to share a little secret.

Don’t go sharing it with everyone, because this is really just an inner-circle thing among elite programmers.

The secret’s called “View Source.”

Right click, and select “view source,” to view your competitors’ html. Then duplicate your competitors’ page and host it yourself, with your own analytics embedded.

Caveats with finding competitors’ conversion rates in this way

1) For Trademark law reasons, you can’t duplicate competitors’ branding. This obviously affects conversion rate.

2) Similarly, you can’t use their domain name in the display URL (legally), or in the destination. This affects CTR and consequently conversion rate (since the mix of traffic is different).

3) This would be a hell of a lot of work for any sizeable ecommerce competitor. It’s easier to do this with simple landing pages or paths.

If you liked this post on competitive intelligence, add my RSS feed to your reader, or subscribe to get my posts delivered by email. I’ve got 2 more posts on competitive intelligence for later this week, covering how to find competitors best performing keywords AND ad copy, as well as how to muddy your backlink tracks so competitors have a harder time duplicating your efforts.

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  1. Great tips ! One question: How can you guess how they target their ad buying?

    Comment by Hichamd - November 4, 2009 @ 12:27am
  2. Excellent question Hicham! I'll write a follow up post on that! Let me know if there's a URL you'd like me to link to with credit for your question.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - November 4, 2009 @ 3:19pm
  3. Wow thanks for answering with a post :) Actually i work at NVI and write on sometimes, you may that url.

    Comment by Hichamd - November 4, 2009 @ 3:47pm
  4. Haha yeah, I've heard of it ;).

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - November 4, 2009 @ 10:35pm
  5. That was for sure a title that got my attention. SEMRush works pretty well at seeing what your competitive keywords are and their estimated value per click. Just knowing what a competitor is paying for ad space can give a good clue to conversions.

    Comment by BWI - November 5, 2009 @ 1:52pm
  6. It can be an indicator of conversions and value of the traffic, sure. But in more competitive markets, that's less true as marketing aims to break even on acquisition and profit on subsequent upsells.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - November 5, 2009 @ 3:04pm
  7. that really helps in targeting the right keywords for the PPC campaigns and then geo targeting them for being very affective.

    Comment by benard - November 17, 2009 @ 12:18am

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