Business owners and marketing teams sometimes ask me whether they should bid on their own brand terms as part of their PPC campaigns.
In other words, if you’re Nike, do you only bid on “running shoes” (and similar terms), or do you also bid on “Nike”?
Whenever the question comes up, I have to pause. Not because I’m debating the answer, but because (as someone immersed in PPC) the answer seems so obvious to me that it’s hard to explain.
But at the same time, I get where the question is coming from.
After all, if you’re doing well with search optimization, can’t you simply rely on SEO to return your page when people search for your brand? Doesn’t that make PPC ads based on brand terms redundant?
It’s a fair question that deserves a detailed answer. So here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of reasons why you should bid on brand for PPC:
PPC ads give you ultimate control over your message. Are you having a seasonal sale? Launching a new product line? With PPC, you can get your message out immediately and control exactly what’s communicated.
Organic search simply doesn’t offer the same level of control or immediacy.
2. Landing pages
Control also extends to click through pages. Organic search gives little control over click through pages. And people are less likely to take the action you desire (e.g. make a purchase, request more info, sign up for a demo, sign up for a newsletter) when they end up on your contact page, home page, or other page with little relevance to the task at hand.
But with PPC ads, you can (and should!) create landing pages that make the desired action clear.
Landing pages can make a HUGE difference in your results, as we discovered in this client case study.
Even if you choose not to bid on your brand, that doesn’t mean your competitors won’t. Should that happen, your competitors’ ads could display before your organic listing.
Here’s an example of how a brand ad solves this potential problem:
The search parameter used for these results was our client’s name (blurred for privacy) with a couple of descriptive terms.
The blue arrows indicate our client’s listings. At the top is our ad, with three organic listings at the bottom. Separating the ad and the organic listings are ads from our client’s competitors (circled in red).
Now imagine how things would look if we hadn’t placed this ad for our client. The search results would have displayed two competitor ads before getting to our client’s organic search results.
Given that people often only look at the first couple listings (and are less likely to scroll further), this would put our client at a big disadvantage.
Another reason for going with branded terms for your PPC campaign is price. Typically, brand clicks are cheaper than non-branded clicks.
As an example, we have a client who’s brand keywords are priced in the range of $0.20, and its non-brand keywords are in the range of $2.00. A price difference of this size isn’t unusual.
Relatively speaking, brand keywords are cheap.
5. Location targeting
I’ve yet to see any SEO trick that rivals the precise location targeting of PPC. When you want to get really specific about the geographic areas you’re targeting, PPC is the way to go.
For example, we have a client who serves a narrow geographic market. By making our PPC ads very geo specific, we reassure prospects that our client serves their exact area. (It’s the difference between targeting “Boston” or “Chestnut Hill” (a Boston neighborhood) versus “Massachusetts” or “Atlantic Coast.” If you live in Chestnut Hill, that ad will have more appeal.)
6. Message testing
PPC also gives us an easy and effective way to test messaging. Once we find messaging that resonates, our client can use it in their other marketing channels, such as social media.
7. Account health
As a PPC agency, we often inherit PPC accounts that are in poor health—and a branded campaign is a great way to put them on the road to recovery.
Branded campaigns typically have good click through rates and quality scores. So when you add branded campaigns to a less-than-stellar account, it can go a long way to boost quality scores while you’re waiting for longer-term strategies to take hold.
I hope I’ve convinced you that branded campaigns are an important part of any PPC strategy!
If you or your marketing team needs help getting your (branded and unbranded) PPC campaigns up to speed, give us a call.