Why Bid On Branded Terms When You Appear High In Organic Search Results?
More often than not, this question will develop in the consciousness of business owners, marketing managers, and those alike: if our brand is already appearing in top positions in Google, organically, why should I spend money bidding on branded terms?
Eventually, all budget-conscious individuals will start to question the ‘true’ value of branded search. Why pay for something that could potentially be had for free, right? This is a great question, at surface-level. Despite all concerns, there is likely an immense number of opportunities awaiting in branded terms campaigns. Branded terms are considered a staple of a search strategy and, arguably, considered one of the most important campaigns to consider when launching a search campaign.
Here are some of the most important reasons for bidding on branded terms.
Branded terms are (typically) inexpensive.
Branded terms will likely be the most inexpensive keywords in your paid search account as they will be unequivocally relevant to your website or landing page and will align seamlessly with ad copy. Branded terms will carry weight and drive overall Quality Score up in your Google Ads account due to their high relevance. Having a high Quality Score means that you will pay less (lower CPCs) than your competitors result in your ads appearing at the top of the search results the vast majority of times. The only caveat here is if your brand terms have a relatively generic or popular term within the name, this low CPC may not always be a reality. For example, if your brand name was Winning Injury Lawyers, you may start competing with rivals bidding on the term “lawyers” or “injury lawyers”. These terms are highly competitive and may drive up CPC. In most cases, this won’t be too problematic.
Users who search for branded terms are ready to take action!
If you are running any higher funnel awareness tactics, you’ll want to ensure branded terms are not only being bid on but also being supplemented with a rather hefty budget behind them. It isn’t always obvious how high funnel tactics may be impacting the bottom line, however this is where branded terms shine. Having a branded term campaigns allows for those users seeing ads out in the ‘wild’ to be captured through branded terms, even when there was no interaction with the higher funnel tactics.
Branded search ads are (immediately) customizable.
Paid search ads offer the opportunity for immediate customization of brand information displayed by giving you the ability to add such additions as ad extensions, timely messaging, phone numbers and location information. With branded search ads, you are able to quickly adjust messaging, add promotions and tailor ads to specific audiences. Messaging can be tested easily and can dictate messaging for the main website after determining what works. Landing pages can be tested quickly and optimized for conversions – higher likelihood to drive low-cost conversions.
Branded terms can deter competition from taking your potential customers.
Ensuring competitors are not ranking well for your branded terms is an important part of deterring potential customers from straying from your brand to your competitors brand. Ultimately, competitors will spend much more on your branded terms than you will. As an example, Honda (pictured below) would likely be losing customers as a result of competitors bidding on Honda branded terms.
The competition will likely garner low-quality scores from bidding on your terms and will have to pay to appear for your terms. Bidding on branded terms also allows for a great way to dominate SERP results and push competitors out of the top half of search results (especially on a mobile device).
To wrap it up. There are a number of considerations that should be addressed before moving into implementing a branded search strategy for your business.
The first consideration to keep in mind are the audiences that you are targeting. If the budget is tight and you are wanting to focus more-so on ‘new’ customers or if you are absolutely sure you do not want to engage with existing customers, you will want to add an exclusion customer match list to exclude existing customers from seeing your ads altogether. Customer Match (using email data to exclude audiences) in Google Ads is only available for accounts with a high volume of traffic and higher spend.
The second consideration (in the same vein), if you are looking at existing leads, you can add in an exclusion remarketing list for all those who have converted. You may also want to take the initiative to exclude those who are searching for terms that indicate the searcher is a member or someone you would prefer not to target. An example of this would be to consider those searching for member-specific services from targeting. Searching for member-specific services indicates that the user is an existing customer and not part of the ‘net new’ strategy you had in mind.
The final consideration to keep in mind would be to determine the branded search term campaign strategy versus the general terms campaign strategy. Although it is critical to have a strong brand search strategy, it is also important to allocate a healthy spend allocation towards general terms (with less intent) in order to drive awareness and be where the competition is.
Branded terms are the bread and butter of a paid search campaign. The overarching message here is: don’t let your amazing organic success sway your heart (or budget) away from putting spend towards branded search terms.