A common question we are asked about Paid Search is whether a business should attempt bidding on keywords which target your own brand name. One argument is that if you’re not bidding on your brand keywords, but your competitors are, then you could potentially be losing out on qualified traffic. On the other hand, the idea of paying for ads on your brand name, when it is already listed organically, can seem like a strange one.
Before deciding on which course of action to take, it is interesting to examine some of the benefits of and available techniques for bidding on your brand name:
1. First, and foremost, branding and trust. Appearing in both the organic and paid search creates a sense of authority.
This can be enhanced by using Trademark Symbol: “TM”, Registered Symbol “®”, and “Official”.
2. Sitelinks can be used to direct users to particular parts of the website. In general, your branded keywords have a higher Quality Score, which enables Sitelinks to be shown. These can be leveraged to direct users to specific parts of the website, can be modified according to marketing promotions, and can be quickly changed. Whereas organic ranking is a much slower process.
3. Brand name bidding can be also used to promote a specific product or current promotion to qualified traffic, while at the same time assisting in dominating the search space.
4. In the circumstance that you are a distributer, then you would want your resellers to bid on your brand terms. However, if your business makes a larger margin selling directly to customers, you would also want to bid on your brand name/products:
5. PPC advertising on mobile devices adds another dimension of complexity to bidding on one’s branded terms. With mobile call extensions, click-to-call can be activated and calls from ads can be tracked. This gives advertisers more leverage than organic listings, which do not display click-to-call phone numbers. Neither do Google Maps listings, which typically only show the nearest addresses and their phone numbers. However, ROI potential needs to be taken into account, and large pure bricks and mortar businesses with strong brand recognition, pushed by other marketing channels and heavy web traffic volume, may not find the same return as E-Commerce businesses.
In the instances where competitors are bidding on your Trademark name, you are able to submit a Trademark Complaint to Google. However, with the changes in the US, enabling competitors to bid on Trademarked terms, it is likely that more businesses will need to reconsider bidding on their branded terms.
When deciding whether your business should or should not venture into bidding on your own brand names, the marketing objectives of the PPC campaign and the current competitive landscape need to be considered. If no competitors are bidding on your brand name, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Where this does exist, it is worthwhile experimenting with bidding on your branded terms. The data collected should determine whether the PPC campaign has improved both SEO and PPC conversions; where users have a greater likelihood of converting due to the trust elicited by the appearance of the business in both organic and paid listings. On the other hand, maybe Paid Search ads negatively impact organic search conversions, by generating less conversions at a higher cost.
As with any marketing initiative, experimentation and analysis is crucial.