Why You Should Bid on Brand Terms in PPC

To bid, or not to bid, that is the question. Have you faced or even asked a question that goes something along the lines of, “Why do I need to bid on brand terms? Won’t the paid traffic cannibalize our organic traffic?” If you had a difficult time answering that question or if you’re looking for the answer, then read on because I’m about to give you five arguments (that can be applied to any business) for bidding on your own brand terms.

Bidding on brand terms is an effective and relatively low-cost way to maintain complete control over your brand impression and prevent your competition from attracting your customers. By bidding on brand terms, you are able to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time when they are looking for your business or service.

While every PPC account is unique, this foolproof recommendation benefits just about everybody and can effectively lead to better business. To help you fully understand the importance of bidding on brand terms, I’ve outlined five arguments for brand search that can be applied to any business.

1. Brand and trademark protection.

Your competitors can and definitely will bid on your brand terms. And every time they show up for your brand terms instead of you, you are increasing the chances that they will not only take your spot on the top of the search result page, but they will take your customers as well. Never assume your catalog will guarantee any sale.

2. Real estate domination.

You want your business to take up as much real estate on the search result page as possible, especially when you show up naturally on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. In addition, search results are significantly better when both paid and organic results show up.

3. Better message control.

Though organic rankings are “free,” Google and Bing control what is shown. When you bid on brand terms, you have the ability to control what copy is in the ad and what site links are shown and use those to drive traffic to targeted landing pages.

4. Account growth measurement.

Brand revenue is also the best way to measure account growth, because the more that grows, the more people are aware of your business. You will acquire really low cost clicks for brand oriented ads, but once the searcher knows they want to visit your site, they will skip the paid ad and go to the natural listing or directly to your site. Paid search has to replace the majority of its customers every single month as paid search essentially “hands off” customers to other (non-paid) channels.

5. SEO algorithm protection.

Google changes its algorithm constantly, some changes are small and some (like Mobilegeddon) can have a major impact on how your site ranks organically. If you aren’t staying on top of these changes, having brand terms in your PPC strategy will ensure your presence if your website is negatively impacted by an algorithm and/or domain change. It’s important to keep in mind that SEO takes time, and if your site takes a hit, it could take months to get back on the search result pages. But if you have PPC as part of your marketing mix you can still stay in the game with your competition.

Still not convinced?

Are you, or your client, still unconvinced about bidding on brand terms?  Perhaps gaining a better understanding through studies and research that have demonstrated the effectiveness of this tactic will help.

Research has shown that paid search ads, when combined with natural results are proven to be much more successful. A Google Study in 2012 proved that if you rank first organically, 50 percent of your ad clicks are incremental. This means that, in an average scenario, 50 percent of your existing brand ad clicks would go elsewhere if you were to turn off your brand campaigns. I’ve seen incremental numbers as high as 100 percent, so it is possible that none of the clicks would have happened without the ad.

Likewise, a study by 3Q Digital further quantified this gain when it showed there was a significant difference between whether you receive 56 percent of all clicks (with no brand ad appearing) or 88 percent of all clicks (with a brand ad at the top) from a search on your brand.

Typically, my projections are based on spend across brand and non-brand terms. Projections are not exacts or guarantees. I expect to earn $100 per $30 spend on well-covered accounts, if not and oftentimes much better. Usually under 5% of that spend goes to brand terms! Over time and with increased coverage, brand ad spend and revenue will also improve because you are increasing awareness of your brand.

There are many factors that play into success online, paid search especially. Just because a business is advertising online, doesn’t mean they have a valid business model, a good website, solid landing pages, or any of the many other factors that go into a successful digital marketing mix.

When it comes down to it, paid search is the most measurable way to make sure that you’re getting your value for your money. While some may remain skeptical about bidding on brand terms, it is clear that the benefits of bidding heavily outweigh the cons. It encourages click-throughs, brings you qualified leads and shows that you’re a reputable brand. So to answer the question I raised earlier, to bid, is the answer.

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