There are many articles on the topic of whether or not advertisers should bid on their branded terms. Instead of being just another post outlining the pros and cons, I want to look at the benefit to bidding on your branded terms and how to gauge the impact on your overall business.
First, let’s look at the benefits of bidding on branded terms:
Owning real estate and proving to be a leader
- By showing in both paid and organic listings, you’re taking up key real estate in the SERPs, blocking out competitors from owning the space and reassuring the searcher that you’re a relevant brand. The more times a consumer is exposed to your brand, the better.
- Impact on the overall business (online and offline)
- When bidding on branded terms, you have the ability to quickly test new messaging before rolling it out in other marketing efforts. Unlike organic, PPC ads are a quick way to A/B test your messaging and learn what resonates with customers. You can also utilize your branded PPC campaign to mitigate risks. For example, you can quickly spread the word on product recalls (should you have any) or other negative instances by changing your messaging in response to this, preventing further brand damage.
- Consider your competition. If any competitors are bidding on your branded terms, that click you thought you were going to get from organic may be “stolen” by a competitor’s PPC ad.
Inexpensive, strong performance
- Branded terms are generally much less expensive than long-tail, non-branded terms. Also, because of the extremely high relevance, click through rates and Quality Scores tend to be higher on your brand terms. Consider not just your brand name, but also your URL and your specific products.
- Because customers are typing in your brand specifically, they are already familiar with your company. They are likely further along in the buying cycle than some typing more generic terms, meaning they are more likely to convert when they reach your site.
Next, let’s look at how to gauge the impact bidding on your branded terms has on your overall business:
Many advertisers believe organic listings will result in a click and site visit, regardless of PPC ads. If this is true, one could argue that paying for branded terms in PPC is a waste of valuable marketing budgets. There are a few ways to utilize data in analyzing the PPC brand performance and its impact on the bigger picture.
- In Google Adwords, you can use the ‘Paid & Organic’ view within the Dimensions tab. Looking at this information, you can actually see the performance metrics. In one client example, we were able to confirm that pausing branded terms for one month would have resulted in a 38% decrease in revenue. We looked at the paid revenue and organic revenue separately and combined. Then we looked at the conversion rate of organic (without paid) and calculated what that revenue would have been in comparison to the combined revenue. This is a very powerful indication of the impact of bidding on branded terms outside of just our PPC campaigns.
- In Google Analytics, you can look at different attribution models to see the greater impact. Looking at a last click model, we can see that many people visit the site through one channel or keyword and then come back to purchase through another. In one client example, we see many customers searched first on non-brand, and then came back on branded terms to convert.
Whether you have unlimited budgets or very small budgets allocated to run paid search campaigns, a portion of that budget should be dedicated to running branded terms. The benefits for brand awareness, high returns, and blocking competitors should be reason enough. Be sure to keep a close eye on the performance and analyze the data to truly see the full impact. Lastly, don’t forget to use the brand campaign to your advantage for testing messaging before rolling it out site-wide.