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Брудні ігри конкурентів. Як конкуренти можуть злити ваш рекламний бюджет на прикладі інтернет-магазину техніки Apple – наш досвід протидії

Dirty games of competitors. How competitors can drain your advertising budget on the example of an online Apple Store — our experience of counteraction


My name is Ruslana, I’m a content marketer at Solve Marketing. Today I talked to our team to find out more about the case of dirty competition and how to counteract it. 

Violetta, the Head of PM: 

Healthy competition is always good for business, because it motivates you to make your product or service better, to improve the service. 

However, there are quite often situations when companies resort to dirty, dishonest methods in order to get more customers or become monopolists in a niche.

We encountered such a case in our own experience while working with an online store that sells new and used Apple technology.

What exactly happened?

Andrii, Marketer, Traffic Manager: 

At the very beginning of our work with the project, the client asked us for help in solving what they considered to be a technical problem. 

The project managers complained that they were receiving a huge number of fake requests. Orders that looked like genuine ones were entering their CRM, but no payment was made, and when they tried to contact the customer, the number was invalid. 

The client asked us to fix this issue if possible.

And what did you do about it?

Andrii, Marketer, Traffic Manager: 

First of all, we studied the appearance of similar requests and tried to find common features between them to understand whether it was a real problem or a pure coincidence.

During the research, we realized that the requests did look like real ones, but what they all had in common was that they came from Russian email accounts using the rambler type. 

We consulted with the technical support of Dobrohop (the platform that hosts our client’s store) to find a way to block requests by domain. However, there was no technical possibility to filter out these customers, as it could lead to the loss of real customers.

It sounds like a dead end, but I’m sure there are ways to deal with it, aren’t they? 

Violetta, the Head of PM: 

That’s not all! Imagine our surprise when we tracked that such requests started coming even from advertising! 

The situation was gaining momentum, because the client was not only wasting the time of their managers, but also real money from the advertising budget, as every click on the ad and transition to the order is considered by the system as a targeted action. 

This, of course, complicated our analytics, as we had to manually identify bot requests and filter them out from the real ones, and only then calculate the real advertising performance indicators. 

That’s why we decided to act drastically!

  • First of all, we have adjusted our advertising campaigns so that they do not lead to the website, but to a direct message or messenger, where the store manager can communicate with the customer, answer all questions and bring him or her to the purchase.
  • We also created a so-called “quiz”. This is a kind of mini-site where the buyer first chooses, for example, a device, then its model, then color or other characteristics, and leaves his or her contact information, which the manager uses to contact him or her and complete the sale.

It would be much more difficult for bots to break through this form, and the seller gets a “warm” customer right away, which has a positive effect on the conversion rate of applications.

Why do these methods work?

Andrii, Marketer, Traffic Manager: 

I will tell you in several points:

  • at the stage of communication in the direct mail or messenger, the manager can filter out a fake application at the very beginning and not waste time trying to call;
  • it will not be easy for the program to pass the quiz if you add at least one open question to it, so automatic bots will not be able to get through;
  • even if there are special people hired to harm competitors, they will spend a lot of time on the quest, which will cost the attacker more money;
  • thanks to the ticket, the manager’s order processing time is significantly reduced, which is not directly related to the fight against competitors, but is a nice bonus).

If you like the idea of creating a quiz for your store’s customers, here are some recommendations:

  • The main goal of a quiz is to help a person find the best solution. Your questions should show that you care about potential buyers and are ready to help.
  • Make your questions simple and specific. Build a logical chain of questions, do not use unfamiliar words.
  • Be honest: if the main purpose of the quiz is to find out the cost of a product or service, provide this information at the end of the survey and ask for the contact information.

It was like watching a detective story! Thank you very much for the conversation, it was really exciting and useful!

Kateryna, the COO of Solve Marketing:

Would you like to get a basic strategy for promoting your online store along with a technical audit of your capabilities? 

Do you have a business in an oversaturated niche and also suffer from competitor attacks? 

Sign up for a consultation.

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