When it comes to developing an effective PPC strategy, it is important to include branded terms. However, many marketers are opposed to doing so. This is a mistake. Let’s take a look at why.
Understanding the value
In this economy where marketers need to do more with less, it is easy to understand why they might balk at the idea of incorporating branded terms into their PPC campaigns. Many marketers figure, “Why should I pay for my brand to show up in paid search when my organic listings will do the work for free?” Granted, their argument might appear valid—at least on the surface level—but this strategy is actually quite risky. What happens when search engines change their algorithms? Or increase personalization? Or make any number of changes that might destroy those top ten listings? If you pay to play you are essentially purchasing an insurance policy for your brand terms.
Apart from risk mitigation, the truth is, bidding on your branded terms can benefit your brand in a number of ways. First is the additional traffic and revenue you can net. In fact, studies have shown that branded terms can provide significant lifts in revenue. In addition, keep in mind that only 70% of users click on the organic search results. Considering that, the inverse translates into considerable missed opportunity. In other words, if your brand is not present in the paid search listings, you could be missing out on 30% of your potential traffic and revenue. Bidding on your branded terms eliminates that risk and allows you to dominate the search results page and capture all of your potential traffic.
But incorporating branded terms into your PPC campaigns can also directly benefit your brand by providing you with the speed, agility and control you need to meet your objectives—which is something you just can’t get with organic search. And having the ability to quickly and easily make changes to your ads can have considerable brand implications. For example, if your brand suddenly found itself in the midst of a product recall, you would be able to quickly change your messaging in response to the situation, and in the process, mitigate further brand damage.
Finally, bidding on your branded terms will allow you to leverage your brand to cross-sell or test new brand messaging. For example, let’s say that your company wants to change its unique value proposition. Obviously, such a significant change would impact all of your online and offline marketing. Given that, you would want to test any proposed messaging changes before moving forward. Bidding on your branded terms allows you to do exactly that. You can quickly and easily leverage your branded PPC efforts to rotate ads using your current value proposition versus the newly proposed one to test which one resonates best with your customers before pushing to a broader market.
Making it happen
Clearly, bidding on your branded terms is beneficial to your brand and is worth the investment. However, to create an effective brand PPC strategy, you need develop a plan that will allow you to pay as little as possible for your branded terms, while helping them operate at their full potential. Below are a few tips to help you do exactly that:
- Improve your branded quality scores. This can most easily be achieved by placing your branded terms in their own, “always-on” account where they can build historical performance and you can easily control spend. Remember, high quality scores mean lower CPCs.
- Closely monitor your affiliates’ activity. If your affiliates are bidding on your brand terms, they could be artificially inflating your costs. Create a contract with your affiliates that either prevents them from bidding on your brand all together, or enforces a max bid that will not raise your costs.
- Dominate the page. Competitors and affiliates can all bid on your brand. If you are not present at the top of the paid search results, you could be missing out (or paying affiliate fees) on potential clicks.
- Test new messaging. Before you put new ads live in other markets, leverage PPC to test how they resonate with your consumers against your current messaging.
- Alert customers to new products or services. There is no denying that some brand searches are purely navigational. However, by capitalizing on your brand in PPC, you can use it to cross-sell or up-sell through your ad copy or landing page, something you cannot control as easily in the organic search results.
While many marketers are resistant to paying for their brand in paid search, doing so can benefit brands considerably. In fact, by developing an effective brand PPC strategy and fully capitalizing on it, a marketer can ensure that their branded terms pay for themselves.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.