The Flanking Strategy - Increase Market Shares Without Defeat

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More often than you are willing to admit, you are looking at your paid search campaigns without knowing exactly what you could do to improve your market share, and how to spend that extra budget your biggest client gave you. Have you ever considered the Flanking Strategy?


What Is Flanking Strategy?


The Flanking Strategy is a military maneuver that consists of attacking an opponent (let’s say your clients’ target) from the sides, where the defense is most vulnerable. In our case, such a strategy will allow us to conquer market shares when your competitors are too strong to front directly. This strategy comes in handy when you are playing in an industry that is competitive and you simply can’t follow the high CPCs that are the reality of your market. In layman’s terms, you could say this strategy looks like a Display campaign but with all the advantages of a regular Search campaign.


How Can I Implement This Strategy?


It is quite simple. All you have to do is think of what fits well with your products and where you could possibly find your customers without them expecting.


For example, you are giving away a gift or a massive rebate as part of a promotion. The natural thing is to target your promotion-related keywords, but you now must also target the actual product itself that you are giving away. Whenever people are searching for this product (your gift), they will stumble on your promotion which will entice them to get the gift and convert.


Let’s give a more concrete example: if you are giving away an iPad (the average CPC is $0.72), it will be more interesting for you to bid on this keyword instead of bidding on “credit card” (average CPC of $36.15) even if it is a wider approach. You might attract vast traffic to bring those interested in a free giveaway, but you will also attract them to subscribe for a new credit card.


When searches might not seem as attractive as others (it is never fun to make searches about insurance or credit card application), you will find a creative new way to attract customers. It is a win win situation; the customers are happy because they found out about an amazing promotion and your clients are just as happy for gaining customers they otherwise wouldn’t have found thanks to you and the Flanking Strategy.


Does It Really Work?


Before launching such a strategy, it is crucial to set clear objectives with your client and to manage their expectations. As you probably guessed, the CTR and the conversion rate will not be as high as it is in your current campaigns that are targeting exactly your core-business’ keywords. You should not focus on those soft metrics but rather see the impact on the amount of conversions and cost-per-conversion. After all, the one thing that truly matters to your client is how many conversions you garnered at what cost.


It is important that you closely monitor the performance of these particular campaigns because if it works well, it can also go wrong. If the targeting is not done correctly or the new market you are trying to enter is as competitive as yours, you might end up wasting a lot of money!




Now you know how to bring new conversions to your campaigns thanks to the Flanking Strategy. You should keep in mind that it is a strategy that comes with risks and should be monitored everyday, but at the same time it can give you great results if done well. Try. Test. Innovate.


About The Author – Alexandre Valladon


Alexandre is a Paid Media Advisor at iProspect. He’s been working in the PPC industry for more than 3 years and is starving to push the boundaries of optimization. He also likes restructuring account to always provide better performance to his clients. Connect with Alexandre on Linkedin.