In the classic "The Art of War", Sun Tzu's states that "All warfare is based on deception - when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near".
Even though "The Art of War" was written over 2500 years ago, its lessons could be applied to today's pay per click strategies.
By implementing Sun Tzu's philosophy to your PPC campaigns, you may just be able to create a deception that can help undermine your competitors' efforts and bring about a victorious ROI.
Our goal in the PPC battlefield is to trick our competition into believing that we have opted not to enter into battle with him for prime visibility of popular keyword phrases. If our competitor does not see us on the battlefield for those keywords, he will likely alter his combat strategy into a more passive mode.
The weapons used to create that deception is a previously top-secret classified cloaking strategy developed by Engine Ready, called "Operation Camouflage", and a handy tool from Google, called the "Ad Preview Tool".
The essence of Operation Camouflage is the illusion created to fool our enemies into believing we have retreated from the battlefield, when in fact we are strategically positioned for victory. The direct benefits of this strategy (and some pleasant side effects) have proven successful for Engine Ready clients for nearly a year now.
Our objective is to present to our competitors weak looking ads, positioned non-aggressively. A nice side effect is the instant reduction in unwanted click costs generated by our competitors.
Ask yourself, how many times you've clicked the top 3 or 4 ads simply to check in on your competition? Even though we're promised by the search engines that they filter out this type of click fraud, why even chance it? By showing your listings at the bottom positions, Operation Camouflage will further reduce your exposure to "competitive click fraud". And what clicks we do get from competitors are far less costly at that lower position.
Here are the tactical step-by step maneuvers derived from our field manual:
Since our ads for those keywords will fall below our competitor‘s radar, they will no longer think we are a threat and will change their bidding strategy. Our competitor though will be unaware of the fact that our ads are being displayed in all locations except their headquarters.
Google has provided a useful tool, akin to a special type of radar, which allows us to see the new battlefield from our competitor’s perspective. It's called the Ad Preview Tool
By simply filling in the prompts, you’ll be able to see how our cloaking strategy appears to our competitor.
Remember that Operation Camouflage will not turn an ill-conceived PPC campaign into success. It is designed to complement a thorough and effective PPC strategy that entails best practices for keyword strategy, ad copy creation, landing page optimization and bidding. Once you have the direct components of your PPC account optimized, adding the indirect tactic of Operation Camouflage will secure victory.