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The practice of bidding on ads for a competitor's search terms is called competitive spouting. It's a common tactic in digital ads, but is it effective? The author shared the results of the first ever empirical study of this practice, which found that it can work well for higher-end brands, but may backfire for lower-end or mass market offerings. Users were less likely to click on an ad if it was a low-end or mass market target than if it was a high-end brand. The author notes that clickthrough rate is just one metric, and that there are other ways in which a campaign could be harmful or beneficial. The findings can help marketers add a bit of science to the art of digital advertising, helping them to maximize their campaigns for their unique products and customers.

Have you ever seen an ad for a competitor above the results of a search for a brand or product? If that is the case, it is probably the result of a brand hijacking a competitor's ad words in an attempt to get their customers. This tactic is not against the rules and is more common than you might think. Is it really worth it?