Many companies are focused on their ROI goals. They want to know how much they are getting in return for every dollar they spend. It is good for companies to want to have good metrics, but not at the expense of getting their branding message to the public.
Branding is important for every business. A company can have the best product in the world, but if no one knows who they are, it is to no avail. In the world of online marketing, there are several ways for businesses to brand themselves. Content targeting is a great way to convey a message to the public. A content campaign can be set up that allows a company’s ads to show when people are browsing different sites that are related to what the company does. For example, let’s say Company A has a local dry cleaning business and they are running a geo-targeted content campaign related to dry cleaning and how to clean delicate clothes. As a local searcher goes online to research how to get a stain out of a delicate shirt, they see an ad by Company A. The ad gets their attention, but they don’t click on it. They continue to do their research on stain removal and after a few days of research they decide that they are better off going to a local dry cleaner. As they do a search for local dry cleaners, an ad for Company A appears. They remember that they have seen an ad for Company A before and they decide to click on the ad. As they browse Company A’s website they decide to try them. If Company A hadn’t been running branding ads on the content network, they might have lost that sale. In this case, the content ad didn’t get the credit for the sale, but Company A did receive profits from it even though there was no visible action trail.
Running branding campaigns helps people to know that your business is out there. One fact that businesses seem to miss is that just because they have a website or a store front, doesn’t mean that people know your company exists.
Another tactic is to bid on competitor’s names. Many times people may know who your competitor is, but they may not know about your company. If a company continually bids on a competitor’s name, they have an opportunity to get their name out there and also to garner some of the business of their competitors. It may not produce instant gratification, but it has shown to be effective. Think about it. When you switched car insurance companies or tried a new breakfast place, who was the first company that came to mind? More than likely, it was the company that kept appearing in front of your face, long before you ever thought of leaving the car insurance company or the breakfast place that you currently frequent.
What would your temperament be if one of your direct competitors stood just outside of your office and started promoting their services to people who were coming into your location? I doubt that you would invite them inside for tea and muffins.
That said, how would you feel about competitors who are bidding on the name of your company or your branded keywords in the sponsored results? They may not physically be at your doorstep, but this is worse, as they can man the post 24 x 7 if they so choose.
The fact is that Google AdWords now allows companies to bid on the name and branded keywords of competitors. You can’t actually mention the other company in your ad title or ad copy, but competitors can be visible for searches for your most important keywords.
With this in mind, it’s essential that you devote the resources to both track who (if anyone) is bidding on your branded terms and also devise a strategy to both ensure that you maintain a strong presence on your branded terms and also possibly bid on your competitors. Don’t make the common mistake of complacency. Protect your branded search results by developing branding campaigns so as not be overtaken by your competition.
It is often that I get a question about why a company should bid on branding keywords when they rank well organically for those terms. While we have covered this topic in the past, it is always good to revisit common questions or concerns.
First, if you have a lot of competition online and don’t bid on your branding terms, you’re opening the door for competitors to bid on your branding and have a compelling ad sitting right next to your organic listing (that is if your website ranks for your brand when searched, which I hope is the case).
If there is a lot of search volume for your branding terms, imagine how many visitors you would be able to get if you had an additional presence (your ad) on the search engine results page along with your organic listing? Bidding on these keywords can certainly help you to capitalize on the volume of searchers. There are numerous tools available to determine approximate search volumes for keywords, including branding terms.
One thing that has always held true with paid search is that you have the ability to offer a tailored message, and test that message over time. Through your paid search ads, you are able to try different calls to action to determine the most effective message for your searchers. You are also able to drive visitors to specific landing pages from your ads, which can be different pages than those that rank organically for the same terms (often your homepage ranks for these keywords).
Search is evolving, and the results can be personalized based on users’ search history, and even more recently, real-time results are being incorporated into organic listings. What does this mean for your online marketing? Having paid listings can help to reserve your spot prominently on the search results pages for your company’s name.
Lastly, there are many steps in buying cycles depending on your industry. It is common to see that once searchers have completed their research, they will revisit their company or brand of choice, often by searching for that brand or company’s name. When you have a presence both organically and within the sponsored listings, you are able to ensure even more visibility for your company with a tailored message than if you were to just rely on your organic listing. Branding keywords are also typically not expensive, and therefore, through your branding keywords you are able to capture those searchers when they are ready to buy at a lower cost.
So the next time that you are debating whether or not you should bid on your branding keywords, consider the points above.