One of the first lessons you are taught as a PPC professional is to separate your brand and non-brand keyword campaigns. Not only will your ad be more relevant to searchers, but your cost-per-click (CPC) will most likely be lower because the keywords have high quality scores. Additionally, if users are searching for your brand, they are more likely to convert. However, creating a separate brand campaign is only the first step in ensuring that you are writing the most relevant ads for searchers, and consequently, making sure you aren’t paying more than you should.

Let’s use Keurig as an example. We would begin by creating a brand campaign that would include keywords such as:

  • keurig coffee
  • k-cup keurig coffee
  • keurig coffee pods

In our ad copy, we can mention that we are the official Keurig site. Someone searching for our brand will see the ad and hopefully, give greater preference to it and click. On the back end, the hope is that we would pay less for these keywords because we have high quality scores. Everything sounds good so far, but let’s dig deeper.

Suppose that a searcher types in “keurig light roast coffee.” We have our brand campaign where we are bidding on an iteration of this term, but not the exact query. We also have a non-brand campaign targeting coffee roast types (light, medium, and dark). Theoretically, if we don’t have “keurig” as a negative keyword in our non-brand campaign, an ad could show from either campaign. The non-brand campaign might show this ad.

Image of non-brand ad

Whereas the brand campaign would show this ad.

Image of brand ad

The second ad is highly relevant to the search query and goes to a landing page that just contains Keurig light roast coffee. The first ad is relevant, but instead of referencing the specific brand, speaks to a variety of light roast coffee. Aside from ad relevance to the search query, we’re most likely going to pay more for the click in the non-brand campaign. The other item to take into consideration is the breakout of the brand campaign.

In the brand example above, you’ll notice that the ad speaks directly to the “keurig light roast coffee” query. What if we didn’t create an ad group specifically for this roast type? Instead, what if we were bidding on the modified broad match type of “keurig coffee” and it triggered the “keurig light roast coffee” query? Our ad might look like the one below.

Image of general ad

The ad speaks directly to the brand, but not the flavor of coffee. That’s why it’s important to go granular with your brand campaigns. For example, in the brand campaign I might create these ad groups:

  • Keurig – General
  • Keurig Light Roast
  • Keurig Medium Roast
  • Keurig Dark Roast
  • Keurig Decaf
  • Keurig Flavored

If users search for “keurig dark roast” they get served a Keurig dark roast ad and if the query is simply “keurig coffee,” a general ad shows up. As a fail safe to ensure that queries trigger the correct ads, I would also add negative keywords to the “Keurig – General” ad group, including:

  • light
  • medium
  • dark
  • decaf
  • flavored

By further segmenting campaigns (both in the brand and non-brand campaigns), we can create ad group specific extensions. For example, our “Keurig – General” ad group might have sitelinks for light roast, medium roast, dark roast, and flavored coffee. We could have our structured snippets speak to the various brands while our price extensions could list the starting prices for each variety. Subsequently, the light roast ad group may have sitelinks for box counts, pod types, and more. The structured snippets and price extensions might list the various names (Breakfast Blend, Hazelnut, etc).

One item to note is that some of the more in-depth brand keywords will get flagged with “low search volume.” Let’s say that we add “decaf” as a negative keyword in the “Keurig – General” ad group, but the keyword “keurig decaf coffee” has the “low search volume” designation. That query now has almost no shot to produce an ad. Instead, we would want to consider not creating an ad group for decaf and not using the term as a negative in the general ad group. If someone does type in “keurig decaf coffee” at least an ad will show, even if it isn’t as relevant as we would prefer.

Finally, it’s crucial to review your search query reports on a consistent basis (when isn’t it?). More than likely, the general brand ad group will produce keywords worthy of their own ad groups. For example, we may find that the modified broad match of “keurig coffee” is triggering ads for “keurig regular coffee.” We have a unique landing page for this theme so it makes sense to create another ad group and then add “regular” as a negative keyword in the general ad group.

Concluding Thoughts

There is more than meets the eye with brand campaigns.The inclination is that because brand traffic is generally inexpensive and produces highly positive results, it works fine as is. However, just like you would with non-brand campaigns, always be looking to further segment your keywords. You always want to give searchers the most relevant experience.

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