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PPC 6 min read September 15, 2023

How To Measure Your Competitor's Ads Budget And Estimate Transaction Costs

Igor Gorbenko

Digital Marketing Expert

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This method can only help you to estimate competitors who have the same stock of goods, and it just gives you rough results. If that's so, you're probably thinking, what use does this method have in the first place? Well, I suppose you won't mind finding out some data about your competitors' income and spending with no effort at all.

Step 1: Count the traffic

The first thing you need to do is to estimate Google Ads traffic your competitors get. I used a random website for this case, which happened to be sunglasshut.com. I usually use Similar Web to check the traffic.

Estimate competitors traffic

Estimate competitors traffic

Of course, talking about an online store that sells mainly glasses and accessories, we should take seasonality into account. The number of visits varies, and I'll stick with it for the sake of the experiment.

Step 2: Count the number of sales and coefficient of transactions

Analyze competitor' websites and their number of sales. Most e-commerce websites have sequential order numbers.

1. Place an order #1. If your order number is 003149 , that would be the 3149th sale on this website.
2. Place order #2 a week later. Say this time the order number is (003281 ).
3. Count how many orders the website processes every month. Simple math is all you need: 3281-3149=132 , so 132 orders per week , multiply by 4 to get the monthly orders (132*4) ~528 orders per month .

Sometimes, people place an order and don't proceed with payment or return the item. A number of such cases depend on a particular store, of course, but rarely goes over 10%. I'll take 12 orders per week (it's about 9%) to account for unpaid, refused, and returned orders and, what's more important — to get another round number. Now that we know that the website has 480 monthly orders and monthly traffic of 3 M visits in August.

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Step 3: Estimate income

This is the part in your spy Google ads strategy where your experience kicks in. If you're analyzing your direct competitor, your average sale should not be too different. I don't sell sunglasses, so I can only assume that the average sale for this website is $174. 480*174 = 83 520, so our competitor sells ≈$ 83,000 worth of goods every month.

Step 4: Estimate the competitor's advertising budget in %

Time to find out this website's monthly Google Ads budget. It will take some time, but there's nothing to it.

  • Enter the domain into Serpstat's search bar, go to "PPC Research," and then click on "Keywords." All competitive PPC keywords that the queried domain bids on in Google Ads are displayed here. Now, you need to export this list. Spreadsheets are best for calculations, so choose between Excel and Google spreadsheets. I prefer Google Spreadsheets, so I'll use it as a PPC budget estimator.

    Competitive PPC keywords

    Competitive PPC keywords
  • After exporting, you'll get the spreadsheet with lots of different columns, but we need just some of them:
    1. Position
    2. Search volume
    3. Google CPC estimator (CPC or cost per click in a spreadsheet)

If you want, you can also leave the query column to see the correlation between the researching keyword and its monthly budget. After deleting all irrelevant columns, you'll get something like this:

Estimate competitor's keywords

Estimate competitor's keywords

To calculate Google Ads budget better, we need one extra metric – CTR. As we all know, the ad position affects CTR: the higher the position is, the better its CTR is. Based on our experience and different research, we created a "CTR by position" table. Here it is:

"CTR by position" table

Add these values to your spreadsheet somewhere. Now we have all the data required for calculation. First, we need to use the spreadsheet as an Ads keyword calculator, here is what we have to do:

Budget= CPC* Number of queries* CTR by position

We're almost there. To get the total budget of your competitor, just sum the budgets of all keywords. Here's what we finally get:

SEM keywords budget estimator

Estimate competitor's keywords

So the total budget of this website is almost $ 10,000, which makes up about 12% of their sales. Compare these numbers to your own data and see if your competitors are more efficient. If they are, I recommend running a domain analysis and looking up the keywords they use in PPC. Serpstat has a detailed manual on this, by the way:

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