Our team has been managing AdWords for NZ clients for many years now and one question we are often asked by our clients is why they should bid on their own brand terms, or use their own brand name as a keyword. It is indeed a very good question.
If potential customers are searching for you by name, then they clearly know you and the battle is won, isn’t it? If only! It may be a good sign when it comes to organic results but as far paid search is concerned, not bidding on your own brand can reduce the benefits of an Adwords campaign and translate into fewer click-throughs, lower-quality leads and sales conversions.
In this article we look into more detail at the reasons why bidding on your own brand name is a must.
Because your competitors will
Patents, trademarks and copyrights protect intellectual property, but none of them apply in optimisation or paid searches, which means that your competitors are free to bid on your brand’s name to their hearts’ content, and try and lure potential customers away from you perfectly legitimately.
In a world where online shopping is constantly growing, brand loyalty is pretty much dead -with the exception of Apple which can boast 90% brand retention. So what do you think will happen if web users come across a service or product similar to yours, but cheaper and easier…? Yep, they will buy it from your competitors.
There is also the case that some brands are so popular that their name is used for the item they describe: for example Google, the brand, has been so successful with its search engine and related products that many people refer to internet research as ’Googling It; likewise ‘iPhone’ is often used to generalise smartphones and ‘iPad’ for tablets.
Even if you are not (yet) one of those household names, the point is that bidding aggressively on your brand name is essential, as your competitors are sure to do so, and not keeping up with them will give them a competitive edge.
To take up more of the SERP space
Every business wants to be on the first page of Google results. And who can blame them when research shows that 75% of people will not even look at the second page if they can’t find what they are looking for, and would rather do another search.
The majority of clicks go to ads above the search results and to the first few organic results, so being at the very top of the page will definitely get people’s attention. But it isn’t only about that, bidding on your own brand term will also increase your chances of your website appearing more than once on the first page, and every position you occupy pushes another competitor off the coveted first page. It is a bit like a game of musical chairs, only you get to sit on several chairs.
To target keywords that deliver low CPAs
CPA, or Cost per Acquisition, refers to ad campaigns aiming at ‘acquiring’ a sale. This CPA is obtained by dividing the ad cost by the number of sales achieved. So, for example, if you have spent $100 on a campaign and made 20 sales, your CPA is $5. The goal, of course, is to get as low as possible a CPA, and paid search targeting your brand name as a keyword does just that due to the relatively lower cost per click incurred.
However, the question will always be whether those sales would have occurred without the ad campaign. As often, the only way to find out is to test: set a campaign for your brand name for at least two months, and then turn it off to compare the effect on sales.
Why are brand name keywords cheaper? Well this comes down to the features that determine a keyword’s quality score – ad text and landing page relevance, as well as historical click through rate. A brand term will most likely have a high CTR due to the active intent of the searcher looking for the brand and no competitor could have more relevant copy in their ads or landing page than the brand owner. This results in a naturally high AdWords QS and hence cheaper CPCs.
To raise your profile
You may remember the time when paid search ads were shown against a different background colour at the top of the first page of results and have wondered why it disappeared and was replaced by an inconspicuous ‘Ad’ sign?
Behavioural research had shown that web users trusted those results less than the organic ones, their misgivings coming from the fact that you had paid your way to the top, which didn’t guarantee the relevance or quality of your website and offer, whereas organic results were there on their own merits.
However, appearing both in the paid search results and the organic results has been shown to inspire confidence and to translate into up to 50% increased traffic. From a web users’ point of view, advertising means that you are a major player in your market and are professional, and the organic result reassures them as to the relevance of your content. And of course, several links on a page means more opportunities for click-throughs.
To communicate with your customers quickly
Online advertising is, by nature, flexible, allowing you to add, remove or modify ads in minutes. Likewise, paid search campaigns can be set up and active within short spans so that you can reach customers quickly when time is of the essence, such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, bank holiday weekends, timed promotional offers, etc. As comparison, organic results are more solid and less flexible, making it difficult to quickly pivot and promote new offers or deals periodically.
Paid search campaigns using your brand name will propel you at the top of the search results when users are in a receptive mood and paying attention to discount offers, so make the most of it! Also, ad targeting a specific product or service enables you to provide customers with a direct link to what they are interested in, maximising the chance of achieving a sale.
To capture high-quality leads
Buying online follows a two-stage cycle. First, web users will research the product or service they are looking for, usually using broad search terms, then, once they have shortlisted a few options, they switch to a purchase mode, using more specific keywords.
Potential customers using your brand name as a keyword are very likely to be at the stage when they are ready to make a purchase, and bidding on your own name puts you in a prime position to capture these high-quality leads and turn them into sales.
Although bidding on your brand may seem counter-intuitive, it is a highly targeted and effective advertising technique. In the end it is definitely worth testing to see if it works for your business.
If you would like help with leveraging AdWords for your business, get in touch with us and we can help out!