To bid or not to bid, that is the question with branded keywords. The answer depends, but the overall consensus is that bidding on branded keywords is worth it.
When you think about it at first, bidding on your brand name as a PPC keyword seems like a waste of money.
After all, it’s likely that you rank in position one organically for your brand name (if not, get to work on that). So you shouldn’t need to run a paid ad…in fact, isn’t it more likely that you’ll end up paying for a click that would have been free?
Maybe. However, PPC pros and ad platforms have been looking at this for years, and most agree that bidding on your brand name pays off. Here are the main considerations.
Taking Up Real Estate
The simple truth is that two spots are better than one, particularly on search results pages.
When you bid on your brand name, you’ll own the top spots in the paid and organic sections. An interesting study Bing did a few years ago showed that having both organic and paid positions increased the overall clicks a site got. With a brand ad in the top spot, the site got 88% of all clicks. When they only had the organic position, they got 56%.
Giving the searcher more chances to click works to your advantage.
Also, be aware of how real estate shrinks on mobile screens, making the the top spots with paid ads even more valuable. Many searchers on mobile devices may not even see organic results they have to scroll to find.
Control the Competition
The more market share your brand controls, the more likely it is that your competition is bidding on your brand terms. These listings will show up above your organic listing, creating a painful circumstance where you could lose traffic from someone searching for you by name. This cannot stand.
For example, Marketing 360® is a big player in the SMB marketing space. As a result, we have a number of competitors bidding on our brand as a keyword, and/or they may be using “marketing” as a broad match keyword. Either way, we want to be sure to rank above them.
The good news is that you should easily be able to outrank competitors because your relevancy and quality scores will be better. If they’re trying to take top spots, you have to take them back.
Control Your Message and Landing Page
One advantage of paid search is control. You can control and update your ad copy, use sitelinks to drive people to particular pages or promotions, and include contact information. Also, you choose the landing page you want searchers to visit on your site.
With paid search you can update any of this content at will, and test different versions to improve your conversion rates.
Use paid search to send visitors to your highest converting pages, and to make sure that any variations in search go to content that matches the intent of the search. For example, the search “how much does brand name services cost?” can go to a page that specifically addresses that concern.
You’ll also get data on the actual queries people make concerning your brand. For example, we often see that people search for “brand name + reviews” looking for review content. It’s to your advantage to have content you can control for these searches.
Capture Leads Ready to Convert
At Marketing 360®, one of our highest converting terms is “marketing 360”. Why?
Because people who search for us by name are familiar with our services. We’ve earned their trust with informational articles, interacted with them on social media, and let them see inside our business with videos. They know us, and when they search us out by name, they are often ready to convert into a lead.
This is extremely valuable traffic, so we don’t want to lose a modicum of it. It’s worth it to make sure we dominate the search results and capture this traffic.
Our competition also knows that branded searches come from people further along in their decision making process. They want to take a last crack at these leads.
As your brand grows in popularity, brand searches will be indicative of strong buying intent. This makes it worth it to double down on getting them to your website.
Low Cost Per Click
If all these reasons aren’t enough to consider bidding on your brand name, then here’s one more: it’s cheap.
Usually, brand keywords have a low cost per click. As we mentioned, they are lowest for the brand itself because the website (for obvious reasons) is more relevant to the search. Your Quality scores should be 9 or 10 for branded keywords, and you’re likely to have very strong click-through-rates.
Expand on any product names or long-tail phrases that include your brand name, and likewise be sure to create a negative keyword list if there are searches that might trigger your brand but have nothing to do with your offer.
Your branded keyword campaigns are no different than any other PPC campaign. Run, test, and modify. Give it time and measure your ROI.
If competition is bidding on your brand name, it’s compulsory that you do so as well. Don’t let their ads be on top of searches for your company under any circumstances.
If people are searching for you by name with any volume, it’s likely that these campaigns will be well worth running. This is traffic you can and should control.
People doing these searches are serious about doing business with you. You’ve got them on the hook. Use targeted, enticing ads and landing page content to reel them in and close the deal.