Hiring a Brand Bodyguard
The Importance of Brand Protection in Digital Advertising
Recently, spotlights have shined brightly on consumer privacy and security, but brand safety is just as vulnerable! Digital advertising is an industry that takes advantage of automation in a way that allows companies to reach marketing heights previously thought impossible. However, it’s easy to let these get out of hand and damage the integrity of your business.
Ad placement is very important for brand protection. You don’t want ads to show in places where they don’t belong, as this could alter the brand image in unintended ways. Having more control over your ads allows you to manage tighter campaigns and align consumer perceptions.
Here are some safety nets you can put in place to protect your brand:
Branded Search Campaigns
Dominating Your SERP
The ideal scenario for any brand is to completely control their search engine results page (SERP). If you Google a brand, you should see the company’s homepage, contact us page, and social links (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). Dominating your SERP starts with a search ad, controlling the first link at the top of the page. The last thing you want to happen is someone else infiltrating your listings.
Competitors Listing on Your Branded Search
Companies regularly run search ads by bidding on competitor keywords to steal some of the search engine real estate. As a result, a user searching for one brand would see an ad for another brand at the very top of the page and could decide to buy from them instead. If you’re not protecting your brand name in search, it’s easy for the competition to poach some of your customers.
Branded Search Ads are Worth It
Branded search ads are very inexpensive because of the way Google calculates ad prices and bids. Ad prices for your brand will be very low, while competitor prices will remain elevated, making it hard for them to outbid you.
Branded Search Ads Don’t Detract from Organic Links
Many people think branded search campaigns detract from the number of organic clicks a company can get. After all, why would Gap (pictured) want users to click on an ad they have to pay for over their free organic link?
The answer is layered. For one, it’s not guaranteed that the user would click on the free link if the paid ad wasn’t there. Google once performed a studywhere they paused branded search ads. The results showed that only 11% of the ad clicks were transferred to the free link when the ad was paused — 89% of the clicks were lost!
The Consumer Funnel
Organic links are automatically populated by Google, whereas you can control almost every aspect of a paid ad. For example, Google will pull in an organic link for whatever page they think is most appropriate for the search — this is often the homepage, but could be any page from the site.
In a paid ad, you can send users to any stage in the purchasing funnel. In the above example, Gap is sending users to their deal page. This helps Gap get the right users to the right pages so that they’re likely to make a purchase. Gap controls where their ads are listed, but also protect their brand by controlling where their ads aren’tlisted.
On AdWords, you can make two types of exclusions:
Negative keywords let you exclude search terms from your campaigns and help you focus on only the keywords that matter to your customers. Better targeting can put your ad in front of interested users, avoid your ad showing up on irrelevant search terms, and increase your return on investment (ROI).
Display Placement Exclusions
You can also use AdWords to manage where your display ads are being presented. Google is quite good at automatically matching up ads with sites that are appropriate and give back great returns, but there are times when you may have to make adjustments.
Check to see where your display ads are showing by going to ‘Campaigns’ > ‘Display Network’ tab > ‘Placements’ tab > click ‘See details’
These exclusions are here for brand protection and campaign goal alignment. If you ever feel that your ads are being shown on pages that are detrimental to your brand image or campaign success, you can exclude them!
Understand the Platform You’re On
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of how to manage your AdWords search and display campaigns. However, to create a well-rounded campaign, you’ll have to use more platforms, each with a different set of rules.
It’s imperative to understand how your ads are placed on each platform and learn how you can control and manage these placements.
This is what happened to Johnson and Johnson and several other major corporations who learned that their ads were being shown beside inappropriate videos on YouTube. Ads were being shown beside harmful YouTube content, such as ISIS and white nationalist videos.This led to a boycott of the platform until changes were made to allow increased ad placement control.
Even after YouTube made major efforts to fix the issue, allowing Johnson and Johnson, P&G, and other big brands to directly monitor their placements,these content controversies persist.
With so many options available for consumers, brands can’t always afford major slip-ups. That’s why it’s so important for companies to be keep a close eye on how their brands are presented in the digital space.
The importance of protecting your brand is growing every day. Don’t fall victim to poor ad placement — contact email@example.com today to start asking the right questions about your brand’s safety.