Why Should I Pay for Brand Keywords

Adam Nelson

An all too common question asked by advertisers running paid search programs is simple, “Why would I pay money to bid on my brand name when my organic links are already showing up at top of the search results page?” It’s hard to argue the logic here, so the question stands… does it make sense to bid on branded keywords?  Here we will discuss the top 5 reasons why having a “Brand” campaign is a critical component to driving the overall success of your PPC efforts.  

Dominate the SERP By having paid ads running alongside of your organic listings, you can effectively dominate the search engine results page. This can prove beneficial in a number of ways. First, it establishes your business as a reputable one in the industry through a strong digital presence. Secondly, it increases the likelihood that you don’t miss out on the click. Typically, when users are searching by brand name, they have done their research and are at the bottom of the purchase funnel. Make sure that you are there front and center so that you don’t lose out on these potential clicks that typically have the highest conversion probability. Most importantly is the simple fact that you are taking up a greater section of real estate on the page and pushing more of your potential competition down “below the fold”, so they aren’t even getting a chance to enter your customers’ minds.  

Improve Overall CTR & Quality Score It’s no secret that an advertiser’s branded keywords are going to have a much higher click-thru rate on average than more generic keywords. What isn’t as widely-known, however, is how that can contribute to overall account health and performance. By running branded alongside of your generic keywords, you can quickly improve your overall click-thru rate which directly impacts your quality score. Once upon a time it was assumed that quality scores were only applied to individual keywords, but it has been indirectly stated that quality score rankings exist at the account level as well. Higher quality scores mean two things: better ad positioning and lower cost per click. Through the inclusion of brand keywords in a PPC program, an advertiser can effectively give better exposure to the rest of the keywords in the account and likely see a marginal decrease in average cost-per-click.  

Control Over Your Messaging The messaging within your ads plays a major part in reminding your audience what sets your apart from your competition. Having a strong SEO program is paramount to driving the right traffic to your website, but organic listings fall short when it comes to presenting exactly what you want to those users to see when they are searching for you on Google. Paid ads allow an advertiser to include relevant content along with messaging that urges users to not only click, but also take action when they get to the site. In addition, paid ads can include different extensions to various pages of the site, increasing the likelihood that a user is directed exactly where they want to go and reducing the chances of a bounced session.  

A Counter to Competitor Conquesting Google will absolutely not allow your competitors to include your brand name in their ad copy, but they have every right to bid on your brand name in their keywords. This tactic is something we see every day and it is commonly referred to as “conquesting.” What exactly does it mean for you? Chances are at least one of your competitors has your brand name in their keywords list and if you are relying solely on your organic listings, there is a good chance they will see the competition’s ad before they see your link. The good news is, due to their lack of relevancy on your brand name, the competition’s quality score on these keywords will be low and they will pay a healthy premium for each associated click in the hopes that they can win the business of your would-be customers. By making sure you are also competing in the ad auction for your brand keywords, you can easily solidify your positioning at the top of the page. This brings us to our final point…  

Brand Keywords Are Very Inexpensive Because you will always be more relevant when it comes to a search query on your own brand name than anyone else bidding on it, your quality score will almost always be the highest on your branded keywords. The result here is the cost for each of these clicks will be considerably less than the average cost per click across the rest of your account. Couple this with the fact that the total search volume on your brand name is likely significantly lower than the rest of the keywords in your program and you are left with a very small percentage of the total spend (in many cases 5% or less) going toward these terms.  

In Conclusion This is just a select handful of the reasons why we always recommend advertiser’s running a PPC program to include a “Brand” campaign. At the end of the day, it boils down to the fact that the marginal increase in ad spend is far outweighed by the potential detriment to not only the rest of your paid search account, but to your bottom line overall, by not bidding on your brand name.  You put a lot of time, money and effort into developing a strong digital marketing program. It’s simply not worth the risk of losing potential sales at the end of the purchase funnel.