While sibling rivalry can push kids to grow and achieve, the constant squabbling and jockeying for position can adversely affect the family as a whole. Similarly, B2B organizations with competing internal brands suffer from the same type of dynamic, especially when it comes to paid search.
Clearly, a B2B enterprise with competing internal brands has some advantages in the marketplace because it can meet the needs of different market segments. However, when it comes to paid search, such an organization can be at a disadvantage due to its competing internal brands. Because each brand has its own unique goals, silos often develop; as a result, brands tend to operate from a highly insular perspective that is solely focused on their own objectives. This is problematic because if each brand bids on the same high volume driving keywords, they could potentially increase each other’s CPCs. Ultimately, it can have an adverse effect on the company’s overall ROI.
Don’t let this happen
For example, let’s say that a networking systems corporation has a brand under its umbrella that focuses on the public sector, and another brand that specializes in the private sector. However, the term “networking systems solutions” is valuable to both brands, so each pursues it aggressively with paid search. But if they fail to collaborate on the effort, they could drive up each other’s costs. Consequently, each brand’s ROI will be lower than if the two had collaborated on a global strategy for this keyword.
Starting the conversation
To avoid this situation, search marketers of competing brands within the same company need to come together with a clear strategy to get everyone in alignment to improve overall ROI. However, doing so can be easier said than done as most companies don’t know where to begin when trying to integrate sister brands in paid search. Given that, it is important to take baby steps in the process and at least get the conversation started between the internal brands.
A good first step would be to foster an environment of collaboration amongst brands, and the CMO would be the ideal champion for this. Initial efforts could take the form of creating a sub-committee or a team based around intra-brand integration, or making it part of the search agency’s charter. But whatever means you use to garner collaboration amongst internal brands for paid search, be sure to highlight your successes along the way. Doing so will not only help demonstrate that brand collaboration benefits the company as a whole, but it will also help convince more of your colleagues to support the initiative.
Making it work
The three tips below should help competing internal brands boost overall ROI:
Tip 1 – To improve paid search results for all brands, share both the tests and the findings
Search marketers constantly test many components of their campaigns, including keywords, ad copy, and landing pages. Given that, successful tests for one brand can be carried over and tested in the other brands. For example, Brand A may test copy with the control display URL as www.domain.com and the test display URL as www.domain.com/xyz. Should the test copy provide better results, then validating these findings presents an opportunity for Brand B to improve its results as well.
But findings don’t have to only include testing initiatives. Something as simple as adding the same negative keywords (after reviewing search query reports) for shared ad groups across brands can produce greater efficiency overall. This can be particularly helpful with Google’s expanded broad match whereby some search queries mapped to keywords in one ad group may be viewed as synonyms for keywords in another ad group. In this case, adding negative keywords can better ensure that your preferred copy is displayed with those keyword searches.
Tip 2 – Differentiate each brand’s ad copy for high volume keywords that are shared across brands
This tip is key as it will help promote the intended brand image for each brand and create the best user experience for searchers. A common approach is to test each brand’s individual strengths as points of differentiation in the copy. Another option is to dig deeper into your analytics to gain some insight into how searchers view the different brands’ strengths by evaluating the actual products purchased on shared keywords. For example, let’s say that Brand A and Brand B share the keyword “business list.”
In addition, the data shows that searchers who purchase business lists from Brand A tend to buy more lists focused on major corporations, while searchers who purchase from Brand B often get more lists with small businesses incorporated. This purchasing behavior may be an indicator of how to start differentiating the brands in the copy.
Tip 3 – Share data on expensive terms to avoid increasing each other’s bids
Often, the brand with the higher budget and better conversion metrics will earn better positions for these keywords. To accurately compare the ROI across brands, all brands should share the same analytics tracking. The challenge lies in determining how to get the optimal positions without increasing each brand’s click costs. All brands should share their PPC metrics for these keywords, making sure to include the maximum CPC, actual CPC, CTR, quality score, and position. Each brand should then coordinate whether the current positions can be maintained by lowering one or more of the max CPCs. By monitoring the metrics and conducting small tests on the max CPCs, marketers can try to lower their CPCs or prevent them from increasing. This is a lot easier said than done because each brand’s position and CPC depends on the maximum bid and quality score of every other advertiser in the auction place. But a commitment to continued monitoring and testing will give each brand the best opportunity for success.
The bottom line
To avoid the pitfalls of sibling rivalry in paid search, B2B organizations with competing internal brands need to align their efforts. Otherwise, the organization’s overall ROI will surely suffer.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.