How to Ethically Steal Your Competitors’ Prospects

/How to Ethically Steal Your Competitors’ Prospects
Ad Retrageting

Source: Word Stream

Earlier this month I interviewed Julian Farley, the founder of Zaragoza Marketing. Julian is a very sharp marketer and he’s one of the few real experts in the field of retargeting advertising.

If you’re not familiar with retargeting, then check out How to Bring Prospects Back Using AdWords Remarketing and Now You Can ReTarget & Follow Up on Facebook.  Also, if you’re a member of Main Street Inner Circle, then you’ll receive a copy of our interview this week via email so be on the lookout.

During our call, we covered everything a business needs to know to get started with retargeting.  However, we did not have enough time to touch on the advanced ad technique I’m about to share in this article, which allows you to ethically steal your competitors’ prospects.   I originally learned about this tactic from Julian and I’m in the process of testing this out for some private clients.

Here’s how this works:

  1. Use a little-known advertising platform to target key pages on competitors’ websites or on competitors’ social media groups like Facebook Fan pages
  2. Use retargeting technology to build your list of prospects and deliver relevant ads on top websites like and


So you’re probably wondering, what is this little-known advertising platform?

Pay Per View (PPV) Advertising

The secret sauce to this strategy is pay per view (PPV) Advertising (also known as cost per view (CPV) Advertising).  As the name implies, with PPV advertising you pay per each view of your ad.  But your ads are not displayed like traditional banners on other websites.

With PPV advertising, your ads actually pop up on the prospect’s browser after she searches for a particular keyword or visits a particular website.  That means you can target people who are searching for your product or service in a search engine like Google. Plus, you can target people who visit certain websites that are highly related to your product or service.

For example, a sushi restaurant in NYC could target ads to people who search for and/or visit competitor sushi restaurants in NYC.  Anyone searching for or surfing around on a competitor sushi site is definitely interested in sushi and wants to find a restaurant.  So these would be ideal prospects to target.

I don’t have time to get into the details about how PPV works.  So if you want more info, click here for a demonstration.


How to Steal Your Competitors’ Prospects

So now that we know about PPV advertising, we can dive into the details about how to actually steal your competitors’ prospects.

One obvious strategy is to simply use PPV ads when prospects are searching for competitor names or visiting competitor websites.  As mentioned above, you could popup your ads to these prospects and make a compelling offer to do business with you.  This works, but we can take it a step further with retargeting.

You see, most people will not buy right away.  A good ad may convert 1 – 2% of everyone who sees it.  And even if you use a lead generation campaign and offer something to collect contact information, the majority will still say no.  So with PPV alone, you will miss out on most of the prospects and you will not have the ability to follow up.

But what if you add retargeting code to the PPV popup ad?

Ah ha!  That would allow you to build a list of prospects as a retargeting pool.  The “list” would be completely anonymous since retargeting does not give personally identifiable information, but it still gives you the ability to follow up using highly targeting and highly relevant banner ads.

Can you see how powerful this strategy can be if you’re targeting the right keywords and websites?  You can literally build a list of your competitors’ prospects and then run banner ad campaigns to convince them to do business with you.

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By | September 23rd, 2012|Categories: Pay Per Click Advertising|


  1. Carl Lewis September 17, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

    The question is, will this get your Adwords account banned?

    I think its a great idea, but I would be very worried about using PPV to build my audience at the risk of losing the Adwords account that produces more than 50% of my companies leads.

  2. Phil Frost September 18, 2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Hi Carl – great question/concern. AdWords does not prohibit the use of PPV so there is no risk to getting banned. As long as you comply with all of the AdWords terms of service, then you’re safe to also use other ad networks like PPV.

  3. seo tauranga October 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    Its a great method and generally cheaper

    Heres a sneaky tactic that you can use to go into more depth

    Find the companies and areas you want to work with as potential clients, find their emails and advertise to them directly (But sneakily) via ppc and ppv

    This way the only people who see your ad and click on it will be your target client/customer

    Even better, you are seen as an authority because the only people they see in their adverts are you and your business ;)

    We run ppc as well as seo and retargeting, because you really need all in effect for a long term effective approach, and write up a few articles/case studies when we can

    Interesting article Phil, we read a few more im sure!


  4. Ronan Leonard February 18, 2015 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Is this strategy still relevent/allowed?

    We are looking at adding retargetting ads via Adwords and this looks like a great added tool to use.


    • Phil Frost February 28, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Hi Ronan – Yes this tactic can still work. I also recommend AdWords retargeting, as well as Facebook Custom Audience retargeting. Both of those options are where I would start and then test PPV once you get those working.

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