So you wake up one day and decide to search for your own brand name on Google. Because that’s what we all do first thing in the morning, right?
Before you get a chance to see your outstandingly well-optimised organic listing in the SERP, you’re shown a ghastly PPC advert from a competitor causing you to nearly choke on your cereal.
But don’t panic! You can counter this sort of attack with a bit of brand bidding.
The Benefits of Brand Bidding
Economical – Due to high relevancy, it’s much cheaper to appear in position one for your own brand compared to more competitive terms.
High ROAS – When a user searches for your brand, they tend to have already decided to use your company. They’re further along the buying cycle than those searching for more generic terms, and this results in brand terms generating a higher ROAS.
The Downsides of Brand Bidding
Unnecessary Costs – One of the biggest arguments against brand bidding is the question: “have you just paid to acquire that user when they would probably click on your organic listing if the ad wasn’t there?” Well, yes, you may have paid unnecessarily. But all the same, the user may have gone on to click a competitor ad instead.
Increased Competition – By entering the auction, it naturally becomes more competitive. If your competitors have applied a keyword position bidding strategy, it will become more expensive to dislodge them from the top spot. Yes, they will be spending significantly more, but there’s a chance you’ll be fighting fire with fire.
What’s the Situation?
Before making a decision, you need to assess the situation on whether to start bidding on your own brand. First, are any of your competitors bidding on it? If not, and there hasn’t been any evidence of it in the past, then it’s probably not worth doing as long as you dominate the organic listings.
If a competitor is bidding, and it’s the only ad present in the SERP, you need to judge whether they’re a threat to your business by acquiring potential leads or sales. Also consider the visibility you’re already generating from organic listings. When searching for our own brand “Hallam”, this point is highlighted:
The Importance of the Search Term
OK, so you look after an established brand and your competitors are looking to get a piece of the action. This has led to competitors bidding aggressively on your brand name, so what do you need to consider?
One of the first things to look at is the search terms they are appearing for. This is crucial because the search term helps demonstrate the intent of the user. For example, if I were to search “Apple iPhone review”, you may assume that I’m still in the research phase, and that my custom is still up for grabs, so to speak. However, if I was to search “Apple iPhone retailer London” it’s pretty likely that I’ve already made my decision on what phone I want.
A good example is We Buy Any Car. If you search for their brand name, their adverts appear. However, by simply applying a location to the search, their ad is no longer there. This could be a case of them realising that the user has already committed to We Buy Any Car and they no longer need to pay to acquire them:
Best Practices for Brand Bidding
Understand Google’s Trademark Policy – Google has a trademark policy for issues such a mentioning a brand name in advert copy. It’s important that you understand it to make sure there is no copyright infringement. If your competitors are mentioning your brand in their copy but you feel they shouldn’t be, you can find out more information of what action to take here: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6118?hl=en
Ad copy terminology – This may be a bit obvious, but it’s surprising how many brands fail to take advantage of this. It’s important to protect your brand, and one way of doing that is by using terminology that suggests to users that your site is the only one they should click on. Popular terms include the like of ‘Official’ and ‘Original’. When writing your copy, think about what it says, and then ask yourself, can my competitors say this in theirs?
Use all relevant ad extensions – As you will need to pay far less for a number one position than competitors, it’s important that you occupy as much space in a SERP as possible and push competitors further down. A good way of doing this is by using all relevant ad extensions: