After working on many PPC accounts over the last 5 years, I am often asked, “Why should we bid on our brand terms?” A very important and interesting question when brainstorming a Search Engine Marketing strategy. After all, you are already ranked #1 in the organic search results for free and could save some money, right?
There are two very different sides to this topic: cost savings vs. keyword value. Although cost is a metric that is measurable, value is much more difficult to quantify, but can be measured to some degree.
Logically, it doesn’t make sense to pay for brand keywords when you are ranking at the top for free; however, consider some of the following ways you can benefit and add value by enhancing your online presence with paid search.
Brand Value & Loyalty. Having a paid ad, along with an organic listing, adds value to your brand or product, providing awareness and giving customers access to you via multiple marketing channels. Users will most likely look at a brand more favorably, and recall it when going to make a purchase, when they see that you “care enough” to pay for their click.
Tip: Within the paid ad, be sure to use registered trademark symbols to further legitimize your brand’s presence and grab your loyal customers’ attention.
Competition Can Be Tough. The very nature of paid search is competition, as everyone has an equal chance to bid on the same terms. And anyone can start bidding on your branded keywords, distracting your intending customers when they are looking for you. By not bidding on your brand terms while competitors are, you are giving away sales, when you should dominate your space.
Tip: If you’re not doing so already, consider bidding on your competitor’s keywords in an effort to garner additional traffic and sales. Just know, this is an aggressive position.
Take Control & Stand Out. Have unique copy and control your space by announcing big promotions, store openings, sales and free shipping. Call out attributes that are unique to your brand or product. Keep it fresh, keep it timely and stand out from the competition; position yourself as meeting the customers’ needs better than the rest.
Tip: Within Adwords, enhance ads using Sitelinks and use other ad extensions (Google Location, Phone & Product Extensions) that aren’t available through organic listings.
Cheap. Costs per click on branded terms tend to be extremely cheap, sometimes as low as $0.01. This is because brand terms are very specific and highly relevant to the website the user is looking for; thus, search engines reward the advertiser with low costs. With that said, conversions happen on pennies to the dollar, providing some of the highest profits out of all of your keywords. If you are still not convinced of the benefits of bidding on brand terms, and since CPCs are so cheap, consider using a portion of your funds to run a small test and measure the results.
Tip: To minimize effects of seasonality, run a test for three to four weeks, activating brand keywords one week, then pausing the next. How much do sales and ROAS fluctuate between weeks? In my experience, both decrease without the support of paid search ads – driving home the point to continue bidding on your brand.
To stay competitive and drive profitable traffic, it is crucial to bid on branded keywords. Own the space like you mean it. Be creative and ahead of the curve with new ways to enhance ads; your customers will appreciate you giving them as much up-front information as possible, when they want it, in turn having loyalty and affinity for your company and products. And always – test, test, test.