Exploring New Dimensions in Keyword Research & Competitive Intelligence

Isn’t it a bummer when an irrelevant query eats up your new campaign’s budget?

And frankly, doesn’t it happen too often?

In the highly competitive world of performance-based marketing, we constantly seek new opportunities — be it new geographies, new niches or brand new verticals. Whichever the case, when we’re going after something new, we’re often not familiar with the subject matter. Without sufficient research, this could easily be a disaster. And no, Google Keyword Planner is not “sufficient”.

Working at Natural Intelligence, I have turned the so-called “strategic” task of competitive intelligence into PPC Campaign Managers’ daily bread, using some online tools that help get the full picture.

Why do I need more PPC tools?!

The idea of it can sound like a burden. You’ve got Google Keyword Planner to give you keyword ideas based on a single phrase, and Auction Insights to reveal where your competition stands. What else could you need?

Well, as the adage goes, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Or for our purposes, all your PPC efforts in one tool. Why? the answer, like the problem, is two-fold.

  1. Google keyword ideas often fall short

About 6 months into my PPC experience, I almost launched a campaign not knowing that my top keyword was also the name of a… comedy film. While Google Keyword Planner didn’t indicate this, Similarweb and SEMrush did. Consulting them while building the campaign thus saved lots of money on irrelevant traffic.

2. Google’s competitive analysis is limited to the “here and now”.

Google Auction Insights is only available once your campaign is up and running. It’s useless when you want to learn about competition in advance.

Plus, even once you’re running, Auction Insights only provide “intelligence” on keywords that you DO target, and nothing about what your competitors target that YOU DON’T. Only external tools can do this. This is a great base to stay competitive and expand your reach.

Improving PPC results with unconventional tools

As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), I was educated and trained to think critically: always question, always double-check. In my talk, I will teach you to do the same, cross-referencing multiple tools, sometimes from different marketing disciplines, to tackle each challenge.

Tools of choice, of course, depend on your purpose. If you’re after keywords, competition’s reach and performance, tools like Similarweb and SEMrush may come in handy. In the movie case mentioned above, Neil Patel’s SEO tool also helped save my PPC tuchus, providing that movie’s highly searched quote.

Some of the tools go as far as showing your competitors’ ad copy. But, if you don’t feel like being a copycat, tools from other marketing disciplines can help increase CTR. For example, you can learn a lot from social and native advertising, where (unlike in search marketing) advertisers try to attract zero-intent users.

Facebook Ad Spy and Taboola Trends help these advertisers create high-CTR ads, providing insights per category and country which may apply to PPC activity too. For example, using the typically native word “These” quickly increased ad impressions on one of my SaaS campaigns. As a result, this practice was later implemented across multiple Natural Intelligence accounts.

A personal note

People often ask, “How does a CPA get to manage PPC campaigns?”

My interest in marketing started as a student, working for SpyTheNet, a brand monitoring startup based in Tel Aviv.

Later on, as a CPA, market research was an inseparable part of valuations. Also, I built my firm’s first-ever website, creating professional content, a blog, a newsletter and a Facebook page — all in a passionate self-learned process.

While promoting my first novel, “Goodbye Allah” (2017), I visited bookstores all over Israel and learned the gentle art of marketing through social media communities.

The only thing I never did was PPC. Natural Intelligence quickly filled in the gap, adding the fun, valuable layer of competitive intelligence. And now, no campaign is perfect without it.




Creative Director, User Acquisition specialist, CPA and a published novelist

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Li-Or Amir

Li-Or Amir

Creative Director, User Acquisition specialist, CPA and a published novelist

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