POV – How to Bid on Branded Keywords in PPC Campaigns

January 29, 2011

6 Minute Read

Benefits for Brand Owners

Bidding on brand terms in a SEM campaign is important for a number of reasons. Even though a brand may hold the number one spot in the free, or organic search listings for their brand name, having branded ads appear in the paid search results is a smart strategy that ensures ownership of the search landscape for relevant brand terms. A comprehensive Brand SEM strategy reinforces organic search value, allows advertisers to serve a consistent, cohesive message, improves the user experience throughout the entire search and decision process, helps to defend against competitors and negative review sites, and increases ownership of the search Real Estate; in turn increasing brand awareness, brand recall and brand affinity.

Bidding aggressively on brand terms helps to improve the overall performance of a SEM campaign. Although there is no way to calculate the exact impact that will occur, there are some long-term benefits associated to bidding on brand keywords, including:

  • Higher Click through Rate (CTR) on ads, which will help to improve the account Quality Score, in turn potentially decreasing the average Cost per Click (CPC) at the account level.
  • Search engines deem accounts with a high Quality Score as a credible/relevant advertiser and reward them with lower CPCs.
  • Increased conversion rate at a lower cost, allowing a brand to reinvest in more expensive keywords, with a potential of resulting in previously unprofitable keywords being profitable.

Brand Bidding Strategy

Implementing the right brand SEM strategy will have a huge impact on overall performance of a SEM campaign, increasing brand awareness/recall and positively impact ecommerce or site conversions. The rule of three (Reach, Control, Defend) proves to be a comprehensive and successful brand SEM strategy:

  • Reach
    • A brand website will not show up 100% of the time for all possible variations of branded search queries.  Bidding on brand keywords allows advertisers to:
      • Drive incremental traffic using brand terms
      • Ensure all possible variations of brand terms are covered by including misspellings, long-tail specific keywords, locations, products, etc.
      • Reach users in every stage of the purchase/conversion funnel
    • Understanding the target audience allows advertisers to write ad copy targetingspecific users within any point of the conversion funnel
      • E.g Different messaging if the user is searching for a phone number, pricing, specific product, location, menu, etc.
  • Control
    • There is a lack of control in organic search rankings. A brand can optimize their website to help increase organic rankings but the search engines pick and choose which titles, descriptions and landing page to serve the user for each search query.
    • Paid search ads compensate for the lack of control associated to organic search rankings. Opting into paid search ads for branded terms allows advertisers to:
      • Clearly deliver the intended message
      • Target ads according to specific audience groups
      • Ensure landing pages are relevant
    • Paid search ads allow advertisers to ensure that the right message is conveyed to the user, and subsequently the right landing page, at the exact moment the keyword is searched.
      • Serving the user the right message at the moment they’re searching and driving them to the most relevant landing page based on their search query.
    • Bidding on brand terms allows advertisers to promote any special messaging, promotions, deals, coupons, etc. that will not be conveyed in the organic search result descriptions.
      • Increase awareness of the promotion in turn increasing conversions and conversion rate.
  • Defend
    • Opting into Paid Search for branded terms allows advertisers to defend againstcompetition, negative review sites, etc. Opting into paid search ads for branded terms allow advertisers to defend their brand by:
      • Serving ad copy that clearly states the ad will drive the user to the official website of the brand
      • Owning the search results real estate for all brand terms
      • Having both high organic rankings and top position PPC ads will improve brand credibility and perception.
      • Pushing out competitors bidding on branded terms

Key Points

  • A comprehensive brand bidding strategy will:
  • Increase ownership of real estate in the search space, increase brandawareness, brand recall and brand affinity.
  • Allow for more control over the messaging a user is served and the page the user is directed to.
  • Give advertisers the ability to promote specials, coupons, and deals in messaging that will not be conveyed in the organic search ranking.
  • Push down competitors bidding on brand terms and take space away from negative review sites.
  • Improve a user’s search experience by serving relevant messaging and driving the user to the most relevant landing page. Keeping the search experience cohesive, ensuring the messaging is consistent throughout the entire search process, from entering the search query to landing on the brand website.

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The BFO Team

Here at BFO, we're always striving to bring you the latest and greatest in digital marketing insights and education. We're not ones to brag, but we've been lucky enough to be featured in all sorts of fancy publications and media outlets, strutting our stuff and showing off our industry expertise.