We’ve all heard (or feared) our clients doubting the importance of using branded terms in our PPC efforts. The questions commonly revolve around “Why would I pay for these clicks if they are already trying to find me? Won’t SEO pick them up?” Today we will refute this argument for the last time, so that you can say with all certainty and clarity that the concerns are far outweighed by the evidence and the benefit of branded PPC.

To most easily recall these points, just remember to SCHEME:


Below are two clients whose 30 day data shows how the presence of ads along with the search page results can improve engagement. Sure the organic results may perform well. And the PPC ads themselves will likely do a great job. And together, they seem to be unstoppable (see below)! As you’ll continue to read, there are many specific benefits to using your own branded keywords in your PPC efforts, and these tables are a quick taste of just what a Branded campaign can hold for you!

Branded Organic vs Paid Search Ex1Branded Organic vs Paid Search Ex2

Because ads are offered above the organic search results, even the laziest searcher can’t help but see the top-ranking ads on the results page. Because you typically have 1-3 ads above your SEO listing, the user will potentially need to scroll to see your content. Google Eye Tracking Heat Map

Because the natural line of sight goes from the top left along to the right, in an F-shape, it is in your interest to claim this real estate as many times as possible, even when your organic results are waiting just a few inches further down the page.

You’re watching them and they’re watching you. Most businesses have an idea of who they’re up against and they don’t want to be overshadowed by the rival team. How do you avoid that? By ensuring that your ad, not theirs, is showing when someone searches your business.

a. Example: Peet’s Coffee & Tea vs Caribou Coffee

Peets Coffee ad demoCaribou Coffee ad demo

The result of Caribou’s Google search yields no ads for Caribou. The results of a Google search for “peets coffee” reveals a Peet’s ad. If Peet’s, who does AdWords PPC, wants to target Caribou keywords, they may be able to appear as the first line item in the SERP. Caribou bidding on its own branded keywords has the potential to protect this placement.
As a plug for competitor bidding, for Caribou coffee, a similar company often considered a strong competitor for Peet’s, may take this opportunity to get their ad in the running as well. The ad copy included here might give some feature that Peet’s doesn’t offer that may serve to bring the user to Caribou’s site instead.
Moral of the story: protect your ground and the real estate that is rightfully yours.

The health of your account, specifically quality score, should be a familiar area of interest to you. The most beautiful gem of targeting branded keywords is the phenomenal quality score that almost always accompanies them.
Quality Score is a direct result of your CTR, your ad relevance, and your landing page relevance (and some other details in Google’s secret sauce).
And what do your branded keywords offer?

  1. Commonly a great CTR, as the user is already looking for you.
  2. Great ad relevance, presuming you’re referencing your brand repeatedly in your ads and display URL.
  3. Great landing page relevance, also presuming you’re sending them to your brand’s website, littered with your brand name all over it.

This is a great boost for your account health and helps with great rank for minimal spend.

Speaking of minimal spend, branded keywords are cheap! Usually dirt cheap! Because few competitors want to spend too much money on your brand name, the overall data shows that branded keywords are going to be cheaper. And we like cheap, especially when it’s associated with a sure thing, like your own brand name.

Here are 6 different clients whose data has been collected for a 30 day period and exported with Google’s Paid & Organic report (found in the Dimensions tab of AdWords). What we see if a substantial drop in the average cost-per-click between branded keywords and non-branded. Because we consistently find that the conversion rate associated with branded keywords is equal to and often higher than that of non-branded keywords, we can also surmise that the average cost-per-lead is going to be lower.

Ave Bids vs Branded Bids


When targeting users with a particular keyword and ad, you get a degree of control in how they perceive you with you ad copy message. Although your organic search results may do their best to give a relevant introductory excerpt to your page’s content, ad copy allows for a much greater customization.

  • Mobile: Your mobile ads may have a mobile-specific message, assuring the user that you know they’re on their phone and you’re going to make this process as simple or enjoyable as possible.
  • Promotions: Grab their attention with promotions, deals, savings, and specials that will compel them to click!
  • Location: You can customize your ad copy to include language relevant to users based on their geographic targeting.


The final piece of our mnemonic puzzle is the user’s experience on your site. The landing page you choose to send one user to over another is in your hands. Much like the ad messaging, you are able to sculpt the visitor’s experience once they click on the ad. Have content more relevant to users by varying geographic areas? Send them to the page most appropriate to them. Have a promotion that you want all traffic to go to while it lasts? Create ads with the promotional landing page as the destination URL. This gives you a leg up in generating that conversion, because you are not relying on the visitor coming to the site and finding their way to the content you want them to see. You’re handing it right to them.

While you may already be a big proponent of branded PPC, this easy new S.C.H.E.M.E. will make the conversation with your client a breeze!

What other things have you brought to your client that needed a little extra leverage? We’ve shared our top 5 with you and can’t wait to hear your feedback on what more to include next time on the PPC Hero blog!