At a recent meeting, I was surprised to find myself explaining the value of bidding on brand name keywords. People in the paid search industry know the benefits well, but some marketing departments still struggle to justify budget for branded keywords, especially when their website is already well represented in the organic results. Although it may not be the right tactic for every business, it is important to understand the advantages before deciding against it.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider bidding on your brand’s search terms:
1. Greener Pastures – Buying paid search ads captures more real estate on the search engine results page. The below screen capture, including both the organic and paid listing, is 574 x 572 pixels. It’s one of the biggest display ads you can own, and definitely the most targeted. You will notice that the Organic Sitelinks lead to various state-specific pages, whereas the Paid Sitelinks were programmed to lead to pages featuring different types of farms. It gives the searcher more content to graze on and more than one gate to pass through. In addition to sitelinks, Google offers other Ad Extensions to help you milk the most out of your ad. And ask your Yahoo! rep about Rich Ads in Search, which allows you to include links, images and videos. These are all great opportunities to own your brand’s space in the SERP.
2. Neighboring Farms – Protecting your brand against competitors is an important part of any business. For example, let’s say your farm opened up a produce stand at the end of the driveway; would you let the neighboring farm put their produce stand directly in front of yours? Of course not, this is your property, and your customers are looking for you. Buying brand name keywords is a small price to pay for brand security. In reference to the screen shot below, would you trust your home security to a company that doesn’t bother to protect their brand on Google?
3. Got Milk? – Marketing departments are challenged with keeping an ever changing message consistent across multiple channels. A unified message is vital to a successful branding campaign. Making SEO changes can take time because company websites are often tightly regulated and only launch updates at scheduled intervals. Changes to paid search ads however, can be made instantly. Some marketing departments may also have a need to drive traffic to a unique online asset such as a contest, webinar, or social event. Many online retailers will update their ads with seasonal language and promotions. These are great opportunities to influence consumer actions before they hit your site.
4. Leaky Pail – Paid search is seen as the bottom of the sales funnel when compared with other advertising channels, such as display. However, within itself, paid search exhibits a full funnel behavior that includes a top and a bottom. This is why AdWords Conversion Tracking gives insight into Search Funnels and why adCenter Campaign Analytics allows you to track assists. Generic “top of the funnel” search terms drive a lot of follow-up queries for your branded “bottom of the funnel” search terms. And those brand name queries are often the ones that end up getting the sale or conversion. If you are not bidding on your brand, you are essentially leaking those conversions from your paid search tracking to your organic tracking. Marketers should aim to report the full value of their campaigns, to avoid crying over the spilled milk when their PPC budget is cut.
5. Unusual Udderings – Paid search is a great tool for keyword discovery. By bidding on your brand name in broad match, you will have insight into all of the random misspellings and odd phrases that users type in when searching for your brand. In AdWords you can find this data through the Search Term Report.
Hopefully, this gives you some fodder to ruminate over and if you can’t afford the whole cow, at least consider purchasing a steak in it.