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GOLD! Please Bid On Your Brand Name!

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Please Bid On Your Brand Name!
(Originally posted on the inside in this post and a few after.)

Many people think they shouldn’t bid on their brand name because they already occupy the top organic position on Google/Bing.

Because they’re getting this traffic for “free”, they begrudge paying Google/Microsoft for it.

You should definitely load up ads and test whether you get a higher volume of visitors than when you just have your organic listings.

Even if you don’t get a bump in visitors, or if you don’t think it’s worth the additional cost, I suggest you should still bid on your brand name.



Some reasons why you should bid on your brand name

1) You get accurate stats on how often people search for your brand

You can count impressions, divide by impression share, and can see search volumes rising or falling. (This assumes you’ve the right account structure to be able to determine impression share by branded searches.)

You can then detect the outcome of other marketing initiatives.

For example, we ran a YouTube campaign and the video ad finished with a new product name. By running a search campaign at the same time we could see people starting to search for the new product name.


2) You get to iterate the ad copy, sitelinks, and callouts

This enables you to improve CTR and volume of visitors.

More importantly, it allows you to learn WHY some ads resonate more with people.

These small insights are often the ones that help you find the small actions that have a large impact.


3) You get to send people to the landing page YOU choose

The page that gets ranked top organically for a particular search term is not necessarily the page that will best convert that visitor into a buyer.

By running a paid ad, you can control which landing page to send people to, and can change this instantly when you want to promote a different offer.

You can also test landing pages to continuously improve visitor to subscriber/buyer conversion rates.


4) You protect your branded searches from being hijacked

If you didn’t bid on your brand, then your competitors can do so and insert an ad above your organic listing.

They will effectively steal your branded searches, which are the culmination of all your other marketing efforts.

Why do all the hard work to generate demand for your brand, and then let another business capitalise on it?


A good example of a business bidding on their brand

The ad below doesn’t even have all the available ad extensions in use, but it’s still MASSIVE.

The sitelinks below the actual ad are showing with description text below them.

It’s pretty much the only time I see the sitelink descriptions being used (when it’s a branded search and you ARE the brand).

I think sitelink descriptions give you SUCH a boost in CTR that Google won’t show them when the search term is something businesses compete over.

Notice how the ad is probably going to take me to the best page for me as a searcher (I’m searching from within Dublin), and that the ad headline mentions Dublin, but only one of the organic listings does?

I’m more likely to find relevant offers on the page that the ad sends me to, than pages via any of the organic listings.

60%+ CTR anyone?






A good example of a business NOT bidding on their brand

Check out the search volumes below for 123.ie and FBD in particular.

Both offer car insurance, and both have done a great job of increasing brand awareness and getting people to type in a branded car insurance search.




How do you think FBD is doing capitalising on all those branded searches?




BADLY !!!

Heck, even an arbitrageur can put the branded search term in their ad headline (see the about.com ad on the right).



EDIT:
Here's a private video talking about this:
View: https://youtu.be/mQpUdiR5Txw
 

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Rawr

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Very neat idea! Thanks for sharing.
 

tafy

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The CPC is pretty high atm (The booking button was broken for half the campaign) But it should smooth out over the long run


Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 14.30.27.png
 
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tafy

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Yes this is a small hotel booking on it's own name. Bking.com also bidding!
 

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Andy... we do mostly Google Shopping ads. What is the platform to use to bid just on a PPC for our brand name? I assume you are just talking about Google AdWords. I just dropped a Google adword campaign right now on variants of our brand name. Requires some exception approvals from Google as some of the keywords I want to use (specifically to siphon traffic from competitors) uses restricted language, but I am using it in a positive fashion. I assume they will approve it if a human being looks at it.
 
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Andy... we do mostly Google Shopping ads. What is the platform to use to bid just on a PPC for our brand name? I assume you are just talking about Google AdWords.
Yeah, I meant Google AdWords targeting the Google search engine. And Bing Ads too, targeting the Bing search engine.

I just dropped a Google adword campaign right now on variants of our brand name. Requires some exception approvals from Google as some of the keywords I want to use (specifically to siphon traffic from competitors) uses restricted language, but I am using it in a positive fashion. I assume they will approve it if a human being looks at it.
Bidding on competitor brand names or products is common practice. I'd just be wary of burning bridges by actually mentioning their brand name or product names in your ads.

Hopefully your ads will get approved when someone eyeballs them.

Sometimes you can use AdWords Editor and select all disapproved ads and check a "Request exception" box and upload them. I'm not entirely sure what that does, but it gets them out of the disapproved status immediately. (I don't have a screenshot to drop in here as I haven't got any disapproved ads to deal with currently.)
 
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@Andy Black how much of daily budget should we set for just branded searches?
When starting with AdWords paid search, the first thing you should do is bid on your brand name, your product names, and anything that indicates the searcher ALREADY knows you and is trying to find you.

Your ads should get a great CTR, and you should be getting those clicks for pennies.

The conversion rates should be good for new visitors, and if they're returning visitors then you don't want to run the risk of them not finding you, or being hijacked by competitors.

So Branded campaigns should end up low spending compared to Non-Brand, yet have a better conversion rate for you.

The ROI for Branded campaigns will likely be higher than for Non-Brand campaigns, and running them will give your account a good history and quality score (from the better CTR mostly).

...

Branded searches can be split into two types too.

In the example in my first post, I'd call "fbd" a "brand-name-search", and I'd call "fbd car insurance" a "branded-product-name-search".

The search term "fbd car insurance" would likely have more competing ads since other businesses will be bidding on "car insurance".

Often the person searching for "fbd car insurance" is closer to purchasing something than someone just searching for "fbd", so CPCs and overall spend will depend on the ROI for both types of campaigns.

...

For all the business I work with, we split campaigns into Branded and Non-Branded, and they are treated completely differently.

The Branded campaigns have much lower CPCs, and have a much better performance (CTR, conversion rates, and ROI). We ensure that branded campaigns NEVER hit budget - we want as many of those clicks as possible (this assumes they are indeed positive ROI of course).

The Non-Branded campaigns will have higher CPCs, lower CTRs, and often lower conversion rates. If you are running to a daily budget, then these campaigns are where you adjust bids up and down to come in on target spend.

...

For Branded campaigns, clients often don't attribute all of the revenue to the campaign, but assign an "incremental" percentage of the revenue to the campaign. They are assuming that the PPC campaigns are canabalising the organic listings and the searcher would have found what they were looking for eventually. I've seen businesses only attribute 10% of the revenue generated by a Branded campaign to that campaign.

More often than not, when a business does some testing (like turning off the Branded campaigns), they realise they are worth much more than initially thought.

...

Ideally of course you don't run with a budget anyway. You know what your EPCs are, and you dial your CPCs in to run below the EPCs. (The equivalent of not having a maximum daily spend when you find a machine at the bottom of your garden that turns every $1 into $2 - you'd be putting as much into that machine as possible.)

...

TL;DR

For branded campaigns, you shouldn't have a budget. :)
 

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Only at the fast lane forum do I find little tidbits like this that impact my business nearly overnight.
 

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@Andy Black I am creating an Ad Group that targets my brand name "Bradstreet" however, the PPC of using Bradstreet is $3.50 (which may be rather low, I am not sure). I am thinking that is because there is a prominent tax firm here in the US called Dun & Bradstreet and they are always on the first page of google searches. If that is the case, is there any way to still target my brand by bypassing this expensive CPC? Reading through your post, it looks like targeting specific product names may be the answer?

Kind Regards,
 
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@Andy Black I am creating an Ad Group that targets my brand name "Bradstreet" however, the PPC of using Bradstreet is $3.50 (which may be rather low, I am not sure). I am thinking that is because there is a prominent tax firm here in the US called Dun & Bradstreet and they are always on the first page of google searches. If that is the case, is there any way to still target my brand by bypassing this expensive CPC? Reading through your post, it looks like targeting specific product names may be the answer?

Kind Regards,
Here's the keyword planner volumes for the US:





Here's the ad preview tool's result:




Obviously you don't want to appear for those thousands of people searching for the tax firm.

Bid just on [bradstreet].

If you were to bid on +bradstreet or "bradstreet", then make sure you have "dun" as a negative.

Also, make sure you ad is extremely clear so that you deter clicks from people who weren't searching for you.

There's no ads showing in the ad preview tool at the time I did the search (it doesn't mean that there's no-one competing though). You might be able to own [bradstreet] with a nice big branded ad.

If appropriate, maybe even put Bradstreet™ or Bradstreet® in your ad.

...

Something else to think about is bidding on your own name.

I had a small client years ago that was a family run service setup by the dad with his two sons working with him.

We were bidding on the dads name as he was well known in the space.

An article came out about their business in the Sunday Business Post (a national paper here in Ireland).

It mentioned the dad's name in the article and we saw a spike in people searching for his name on the Monday.

For me, bidding on [andy black] wouldn't work as the best poker player in Ireland is called Andy Black (and it isn't me unfortunately). But I could bid on +andy +black +adwords or something if I was trying to be found by prospective clients.
 
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Great post - amazing how many people miss this concept with paid search.

The ROI on my branded searches was out of control and stupid cheap.

Some people will attempt to bid on your brand name. Don't make this cheap for them! Always, always set these campaigns up as your first campaigns.

I have also bid on a very similar competitors brand name and saw excellent results.

Great post @Andy Black rep transferred
 
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A great example of why you should bid on your brand name


I've been doing a few videos recently and decided to get them transcribed.

I'm adding the transcription to my blog post where I've embedded the YouTube video to try and get me some Google love and maybe visitors from the mighty Google search engine.



Someone told me about rev.com, so I went direct to their site on two days ago.

This is called a "word-of-mouth referral".

(Getting REFERRALS is pretty good if you're running a business.)




On rev.com you can get a transcription of your video for $1 per min of video.

Nice!

I purchased once (making me a "buyer").

"The first purchase is a test."

In this case, they passed the test and I'm heading back to rev.com to get another video transcribed.

I'm just about to turn into a "customer" - a person with a custom of buying from them.

(Getting CUSTOMERS is pretty good if you're running a business.)



This is also commonly called "repeat business".

(Getting REPEAT BUSINESS is pretty good if you're running a business.)




Anyway, I'm on Google and mistakenly type in rev.com into the Google search box instead of the URL bar at the top.

Here's what I see:





Oh, hold on.

$0.89/min is 11% cheaper than $1.00/min.

That could amount to quite a bit if I intend to get (at least) one video transcribed every single day going forward.

That first ad is a bit naughty putting Rev.com in the ad headline, when they are in fact transcriptionpuppy.com.

But rev.com haven't complained.

They probably think it's not worth bidding on their brand name...


I'll let you know how I get on with transcriptionpuppy.com




EDIT: Wow... transcriptionpuppy.com is sooooo bad. The interface is broken and I literally can't get to the end of the checkout process.

"How you do anything is how you do everything."

I'm gone baby, gone.
 

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A great example of why you should bid on your brand name


I've been doing a few videos recently and decided to get them transcribed.

I'm adding the transcription to my blog post where I've embedded the YouTube video to try and get me some Google love and maybe visitors from the mighty Google search engine.



Someone told me about rev.com, so I went direct to their site on two days ago.

This is called a "word-of-mouth referral".

(Getting REFERRALS is pretty good if you're running a business.)




On rev.com you can get a transcription of your video for $1 per min of video.

Nice!

I purchased once (making me a "buyer").

"The first purchase is a test."

In this case, they passed the test and I'm heading back to rev.com to get another video transcribed.

I'm just about to turn into a "customer" - a person with a custom of buying from them.

(Getting CUSTOMERS is pretty good if you're running a business.)



This is also commonly called "repeat business".

(Getting REPEAT BUSINESS is pretty good if you're running a business.)




Anyway, I'm on Google and mistakenly type in rev.com into the Google search box instead of the URL bar at the top.

Here's what I see:





Oh, hold on.

$0.89/min is 11% cheaper than $1.00/min.

That could amount to quite a bit if I intend to get (at least) one video transcribed every single day going forward.

That first ad is a bit naughty putting Rev.com in the ad headline, when they are in fact transcriptionpuppy.com.

But rev.com haven't complained.

They probably think it's not worth bidding on their brand name...


I'll let you know how I get on with transcriptionpuppy.com




EDIT: Wow... transcriptionpuppy.com is sooooo bad. The interface is broken and I literally can't get to the end of the checkout process.

"How you do anything is how you do everything."

I'm gone baby, gone.
Maybe Rev.com is bidding on their own name, moonlighting as transcriptionpuppy, and offering a crappy service there so that you come back to Rev?

Just an idea.

After getting burned once, how likely are you to search for a competitor to Rev that's cheaper? In my opinion, you aren't. You'll probably go back to Rev.com every single time, and will associate any low cost competitor as crap.
 
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Maybe Rev.com is bidding on their own name, moonlighting as transcriptionpuppy, and offering a crappy service there so that you come back to Rev?

Just an idea.

After getting burned once, how likely are you to search for a competitor to Rev that's cheaper? In my opinion, you aren't. You'll probably go back to Rev.com every single time, and will associate any low cost competitor as crap.
You are a very sneaky man! Would have never have thought of that. I doubt Rev.com have either.
 

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When it comes to bidding for your own name, is Google pulling a fast one on you by allowing others to bid for your name (especially if your name is intellectual property)?

From Google, "AdWords ads using restricted trademarks in their ad text may not be allowed to run. This policy applies worldwide." (2nd section, 1st paragraph).

Maybe I'm missing something as all this is pretty new to me.
You've got to let Google know it's a trademark.
When a company does that, you can often bid on their brand name, but not be able to put it into the ad (except for specific parts of the ad).
Sometimes business will get Google to prevent others even bidding on their brand name as a keyword.

Are Google pulling a fast one? My default stance is to always assume they are.

Brand-jacking is rif on Google. I don't like it and don't recommend clients do it - you're burning bridges and I don't think it's the right thing to do anyway.
@johnp ... how're you getting on fighting for your branded searches?
 

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You've got to let Google know it's a trademark.
When a company does that, you can often bid on their brand name, but not be able to put it into the ad (except for specific parts of the ad).
Sometimes business will get Google to prevent others even bidding on their brand name as a keyword.

Are Google pulling a fast one? My default stance is to always assume they are.
Now that you mention, I should've known. I mean, their strategy is to conquer and then monetize. So they definitely won't make any concessions to anybody.

Brand-jacking is rif on Google. I don't like it and don't recommend clients do it - you're burning bridges and I don't think it's the right thing to do anyway.
Right you are. It's a legal but dirty play.
 

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@johnp ... how're you getting on fighting for your branded searches?
haha it's a constant fight, but I'm making progress. I got Google to remove anybody who is using my brand name in their ad. It takes about a month for Google to respond to a trademark complaint. But it works.

Then there are the competitors who are smart and don't use my brand name in their ads. In that case, there's nothing that I can do. It's just something that I have learned to live with. I doubt that they are getting a positive ROI anyway.
 
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