Tawleen, aka Max, is a certified Search Engine Marketing Manager and has a passion for online consumer behaviour. He is a basketball fanatic and a football and squash addict. Tawleen has a holistic, 360 degree worldview attained largely through watching Netflix and YouTube documentaries.

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Should You Be Bidding on Your Brand Name?

To Bid or Not to Bid…Branded-Bidding

When it comes to Search Engine Marketing, bidding on brand name is often overlooked. There can be many benefits to this tactic; however, the most common criticisms are:

  • Strength of organic rankings
  • Cost and opportunity

These are legitimate concerns; however, it’s important to understand when bidding on brand terms makes sense.

Can Organic Stand Alone?

Organic search results are great, so long as you’re on the first page, but they aren’t always the most reliable. Bidding on brand is superior to standalone organic listings in terms of message control, landing page, and search engine result page (SERP) real estate.

Message Control – The information that customers see on your organic listing is pulled from information on your site and is relatively generic in nature. If your site isn’t optimized for SEO, it’s likely that the messaging is distorted and/or not properly represented by Google in the listing. By bidding on brand, you have 100% control over your message, which you can then test and optimize in relation to conversions. This tactic provides significant value and traceable results.

Control the Landing Page – If your site isn’t well organized, you risk having organic clicks bounce off if they can’t find what they are looking for. Bidding on brand terms allows you to control the landing page that the visitor lands on, making it as easy as possible for them to move through the funnel.

Real Estate – When was the last time you looked at the second page of search engine results? When was the last time you looked at the 8th listing? The simple fact is that the top 3 positions command significantly more clicks than the ones below. By having both an ad AND an organic listing you’re providing customers with twice as many opportunities to come to your site. It also has the benefit of reducing the real estate that your competition has available to them. Let’s say you search for a company by brand name, but a competitor has a better deal on a comparable service and they are listed right next to the name that you searched. Would you check out the better deal? Of course you would! Own your SERP space and reduce the risk of lost prospects.

Still think organic is just as effective? A ‘search ad pause study‘ carried out by Google in 2011 found that 89% of traffic generated by search ads WAS NOT replaced by organic when the ads were paused.

Is Brand Bidding Really Too Expensive?

Another common objection is the actual expense of bidding on brand and/or the opportunity cost of bidding on brand instead of other general keywords. An experienced SEM understands how to allocate your budget appropriately and provide control over how much budget should go towards brand-based phrases. Brand phrases are often less competitive than most keywords, which translates into lower costs as well. Finally, the ROI on brand bidding is significantly higher than bidding on generic terms making it MORE cost effective than keyword bidding, not less.

Optimizing Brand Bids – An experienced SEM should know a few tricks to optimize your brand bidding. As the owner of the brand, you automatically have an advantage in the quality score arena. This means that brand clicks are much less expensive than clicks on other keywords. It’s not unusual to see brand clicks at 10% the cost of industry terms.

Quality ROI – Prospects that do a brand search are inherently further along in the buying cycle, which means that higher quality leads are being attracted and are more likely to convert. Furthermore, bidding on your brand actually improves the quality score for your entire AdWords account. This means that the performance on your other keyword bids will improve on the merit of your brand bidding as well.

Pulling the Trigger

Brand bidding must be carried out strategically to be effective. When executed properly, it carries a wide array of benefits, but it’s also easy to burn cash on brand bids if you don’t do it right. In practice, we allocate a relatively small percentage of the total budget to brand bidding; however, it commands a very high percentage of total conversions. The effectiveness of this tactic (if done right) cannot be denied. Even if you’re not bidding on your brand, you still need to keep an eye on searches for your brand name as your competitors may try to intercept your organic traffic by bidding on your brand name. Back to the example in organic, if the competition is displaying a better offer when a prospect searches your brand name, there’s serious potential to lose that customer. The cost of brand bidding is vastly outweighed by the benefits, so what are you waiting for?

Not sure if you should bid on your brand terms ? Get in touch, we can help you figure out if this tactic is right for your business!