Bidding on Branded Terms

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The other day I got the question if someone should bid on their branded term even if they are already in the number one spot.  This is a question that I get asked a lot.  Should I be bidding on my branded terms when I own the space and no one is bidding on them?

A big  misconception in the PPC worlds is that you don’t need to spend money bidding on your brand name.  Most businesses are already ranked number one for their branded terms and they should be if it’s their business name.  But you always should be bidding on your branded name, this gives you 2 of the top ten links on the searched page your business.  Sure you may pay a bit for this but it’s worth it and will drive down your costs in the long run.

Even if you rank number one for your branded term, no everyone clicks on the organic listings.  The ads are meant to stand out and people will click on them.  Keep in mind the new trademark policies that Google has put into the system won’t prevent your competitors from bidding on your branded name unless you have it trademarked.  Even then it’s a bit of a hassle to get their ads taken down.  There are so many times that people will put an ad up that looks like it’s from your company to steal your traffic.  It’s easy to do and if no one else is bidding on those terms, they can do it all day long at minimum costs.

While you can’t prevent anyone from bidding on your branded terms you can encourage them to stop. If you are running ads with a branded website with a URL that is matching what you’re bidding on, it will drive down their quality scores and crapify their account.  By bidding on your branded terms it will also drive up their costs and drive them out assuming they are watching their campaigns.

When in doubt test it out and see if you get more traffic because of it.  Make sure you know everything beyond the click.  By knowing this, it will help you to make the best decision possible.

If you like this article please comment below or check out the rest of my articles.

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7 thoughts on “Bidding on Branded Terms

  1. Saija Mahon

    Totally agree! Great post. I always get asked this question and it’s always a case of trying to prove you are right. Of course the more you dominate the search page, the better 🙂 Stats speak for themselves.

  2. Alex Avery

    Lots of reasons to bid on own branded term:
    1. real estate (you’ve covered)
    2. brand protection (you’ve covered)
    3. Controlled messaging: a PPC ad gives you 150 odd characters of flexible messaging. It’s totally different to the cached description listed in your organic listing. Use it.
    4. Different to above: utlising PPC and organic text listings to complement to overall site description. The trick here: don’t say the same thing twice, if once will do. Or do, if you want to make a point.
    5. landing page optimisation: an organically listed page is – by its nature – designed differently. A PPC landing page can be whatever you want – conversion focused, an A/B multivariate testing page, and exclusive special offer (“refer your friends”) page etc. You name it. Don’t muddy your SEO/organic site with this stuff.

    Tots aws topic. Too many whiney bitch clients out there *still* don’t get it. Now is not the time to ask “why?”. Fortune favours the bold.

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  4. Ben

    Thanks for this post John, I linked to it in my post about this topic as well. We get asked about this a lot so I finally wrote about it in more detail here:
    Alex makes several good points in his comments as well and I was able to turn up a study from the NYU’s Stern School of Business that showed the lift in CTR and conversion rate when you have a PPC ad and an organic result on the same page. I  make the assertion that there’s no reason this stat wouldn’t apply to branded keywords as well. I included those stats and more in my post. Would love your thoughts.

  5. Dutch22

    the only way to adequately test it is to use GEO targeting across two similar regions. if total traffic goes up in the region you are brand bidding on compared to the other then you have a case for it. Everything I have tested has indicated that I don’t need these terms. Especially with the extra sitelinks etc. This is even true when you have other people bidding on the brand term.


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