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Bidding on brand terms

Written by James Gray on Friday, 03 July 2020. Posted in Online, Sales & Marketing

Bidding on brand terms can be a contentious decision for advertisers to make, particularly when a brand is already looking to dominate the top organic spots on a search engine results page.

Bidding on brand terms

Bidding on brand terms can be a contentious decision for advertisers to make, particularly when a brand is already looking to dominate the top organic spots on a search engine results page. However, there are a plethora of reasons you should consider targeting brand terms, and why even giants like Amazon use brand bidding as part of their paid search strategy. 

Our top five reasons to bid on brand:

King of the castle: Dominate the search results page 

Two, or three, or four (or more...) links are better than one. In the same way that having multiple links in your email marketing campaigns can increase click-through rate, giving the user more opportunities to take action and click gives you a distinct advantage. This can be likened to the way in which McDonalds has 10+ branches along Oxford St in London. They want to capitalise and capture people 'in the moment' at the point of interest, to ensure you’re never far away from the ability to get what you want. In all of these circumstances, you’re guaranteeing prevalence over these sites (who may out-rank you organically). By appearing in both the organic and paid areas, you are demonstrating that you are the leader in your space. 

Preach to the converted: You can control your messaging.

Whilst organic results can be better for your campaign goals and brand visibility in the long term, they are often very generic and, to be frank, a bit boring - with minimal space for 'selling' and a lag between making optimisations and seeing any benefits. Paid Ads give you the chance to put a more ‘attention grabbing’ message in front of searchers and make them want to visit your site for more specific reasons - whereas organic results do not necessarily send users to the most relevant page. By using paid ads and extras like ad extensions, you can be used to send users to specific campaign pages with desirable conversion points, as well as the most relevant page to their query. You can also test messaging and value propositions to see what resonates the most with your audience, as well as being able to call out specific promotions or echo offline campaigns - offering unique content to users rather than page descriptions and meta data.

Own the zone: Block competitors from invading your territory.

Whilst frowned upon by ad platforms, it’s common to see your brand terms being bidded on by competitors - displacing your organic successes by occupying the top spots of a search that you would otherwise dominate. Doing this diverts a portion of the users that would otherwise be going to your website away, making you lose out on potential customers. By making sure that you are bidding on your brand terms, you can make this tactic unfeasible for your competitors, affecting their costs and campaign success.

Cheap thrills: Branded terms are cheap keywords with higher search volume. 

Not only are these keywords more cost effective, they also garner some of your highest click-through rates and ad Quality Scores - after all, the destination page for these ads should be the most aligned to your brand keywords. By driving these cheaper clicks to highly relevant pages, you are also able to reduce the cost of conversions, maximising your budget reach and providing valuable data for other optimisations.

Lower the stakes: Higher-quality leads nearer the point of conversion.

People who are searching for your branded terms already know of your brand. They will have heard about you from an industry peer, an event or show, researched you in the past or are existing customers. They know you have what they want and, chances are, they are further along in the buying cycle than the average user who’s searching more generic terms.

There are many additional reasons and, more importantly, studies and research to back this up. Google conducted a study called “Search Ads Pause Studies” which demonstrated that the average "incremental ad clicks percentage" is 89%. This means that 89% of the traffic generated by paid search ads is not replaced by organic clicks when ads are paused. So, running paid search ads increases the CTR for your listings (and this effect actually includes your organic listings), by as much as 89%. Of course, there are times and occasions where bidding on brand is not an integral element of a brand's strategy, and this should always be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Overall, bidding on brand gives businesses cost-effective control and flexibility. The key consideration is that this should only form a component part of a wider PPC and data-driven digital marketing strategy, and should be leveraged alongside other strategic campaigns to deliver on the company's targets and KPIs.

About the Author

James Gray

James Gray

James Gray is a classically-trained marketer with a passion for all things digital and an unequivocal love of data. He’s Head of Digital at Wonderful, and has crafted data-driven digital strategies for B2B and B2C clients. These include global brands such as Virgin and Mazda, as well as some of Britain’s market-leaders like LEVC and Deltic.

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