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Should you bid on your brand keywords?

08 December 2023

Should you bid on your brand keywords?

Welcome, marketing gurus! Today, we embark on a deep dive into the world of branded search ads on Google and Bing. We will delve into the advantages, evaluate the drawbacks, and engage in the ongoing discussion about how these ads affect organic search conversions.

In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of branding search ads on popular search engines like Google and Bing.

So, what are branded search terms?

You may have heard of branded search terms before but what exactly are they and how do they help your marketing? Search terms are queries that users look upon search engines like Google and Bing, these can be anything like 'how to change a tire' or 'mechanic in Adelaide'. A branded search is when the user inquiry contains the name of your brand/product/service. An example of this being our brand Refuel Creative, if someone types any of the words in the name, it will come up in their search results. The role for the companies is to try to be up to the top of the list, to be the first they click on.

The benefits: accelerating towards success

Enhanced control over messaging

By running ads on your branded terms, you have complete authority over the messaging and storytelling surrounding your brand. This empowers you to highlight specific campaigns, unique selling propositions, or special promotions, effectively shaping the narrative around your brand. With the ability to control your branded ad's appearance in search results, you can go beyond the limitations of organic SERP listings. Unlike organic listings, where you can only optimize the title, description, and other meta tags, paid search ads allow you to showcase the current promotion, and a specific call-to-action, and provide more detailed information that can be easily changed based on your preferences.

This level of control allows you to craft a compelling and captivating ad that not only catches the attention of potential customers but also entices them to click through to your website. You can experiment with different messaging strategies, test out various offers, and tailor your ad content to match different stages of the customer journey. Whether you want to emphasize a limited-time discount, highlight a new product feature, or showcase customer testimonials, running branded search ads allows you to customise your message and make it as persuasive as possible.

In addition to messaging control and enhanced appearance, running branded search ads also allows you to closely monitor and measure the performance of your campaigns. You can track key metrics such as click-through rates, conversions, and return on ad spend to gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your ad strategy. This data-driven approach enables you to make data-backed decisions and continuously optimise your campaigns for better results.

Increased click-through rates (CTRs)

Branded keywords play a crucial role in driving higher click-through rates (CTR) for ads. It can be compared to including multiple links in an email to increase CTR; having two links is better than one on a search engine results page (SERP). According to WordStream, incorporating branded keywords can skyrocket CTRs by 3-5 times compared to non-branded keywords. This significant increase in CTR not only boosts the visibility of your ads but also has a positive impact on your Quality Score. As a result, you can enjoy a lower Cost-Per-Click (CPC) on Google Ads.

By leveraging branded keywords, you increase the relevance of your ad to the user's search intent, driving more traffic to your website. This indicates to Google that your ad is highly valuable, improving your Quality Score. A higher Quality Score reduces your CPC, improves your ad position, and makes your ad more competitive in auctions.

By incorporating branded keywords into your ad strategy, you can tap into the power of increased CTR and enjoy the benefits of a lower CPC. This not only helps you drive more qualified traffic to your website but also ensures that you make the most of your ad budget by maximizing the performance of your ads.

Deterrence for competitors

If you neglect to place bids on your branded terms, your competitors could take advantage of the opportunity to swoop in and steal potential customers. However, by bidding on these terms, you effectively eliminate this strategy and secure your rightful position at the forefront of searches related to your brand. This not only maximises your brand exposure but also ensures that you maintain a strong and dominant presence in the digital landscape.

By bidding on your branded terms, you can outmanoeuvre competitors and establish yourself as the authority in your industry. Securing your position in branded searches allows you to engage directly with potential customers seeking information or solutions related to your brand. By appearing prominently in search results, you can guide them towards conversion.

Maintaining a strong presence in branded searches not only increases your brand's visibility but also reinforces its credibility and trustworthiness. When users see your brand consistently appearing in search results, it creates a sense of reliability, making them more likely to choose your brand over competitors.

Landing page control

Having the ability to determine where your search traffic ends up is a game-changer when it comes to branded search ads. This level of control allows you to guide visitors towards high-converting pages that are specific to your campaigns or even new product launches. By doing so, you can generate high-quality leads that are tailored to your specific audience, increasing the likelihood of them purchasing your product or service rather than just catering to a broad audience.

With control over your ad's appearance in search results, you have the opportunity to optimize it for maximum visibility and relevance. This means you can experiment with different ad formats, extensions, and site links to enhance your ad's visibility and provide users with more options to engage with your brand. For instance, including links to specific landing pages that align with the user's search intent makes it easier for them to find the information or products they are looking for. By tailoring your ad to match user expectations and needs, you can significantly increase the chance of attracting qualified leads and driving conversions.

Having control over your search traffic allows you to understand your audience's preferences and continuously optimise your campaigns. By analysing landing page performance, you can make data-driven decisions to improve your ad strategy. Additionally, directing users to specific landing pages saves them time and reduces frustration, increasing the likelihood of them taking action.

The drawbacks: navigating the pitfalls

Cost considerations

Implementing branded search ads requires a dedicated budget, but the potential benefits make it a worthwhile investment for your digital marketing strategy. While it's true that this budget could be utilised for other effective marketing strategies, such as content marketing, SEO, or engaging with social media, branded search ads offer unique advantages that can significantly impact your brand's visibility and success.

Allocating budget to branded search ads allows you to reach potential customers actively searching for your brand or related terms, increasing conversions and generating a positive ROI. Unlike content marketing, SEO, and social media engagement, branded search ads provide immediate visibility and can quickly drive traffic, making them ideal for time-sensitive promotions or new product launches.

Branded search ads provide control and customisation, allowing you to tailor your ad content to guide potential customers towards conversion. By strategically allocating a portion of your marketing budget to these ads, you can maximise your brand's visibility, drive qualified traffic, and achieve your marketing goals.

The cannibalisation debate

There is a continuous debate surrounding the impact of branded search ads on organic search traffic. While research suggests that if branded ads were to be discontinued, approximately 50% of the lost click traffic would be regained organically, indicating a certain level of cannibalization, it's important to consider the larger context.

Running branded search ads alongside organic efforts enhances brand visibility and credibility. Users exposed to your brand, even if they don't click on the ad, are more likely to choose your brand in the future. Branded search ads establish your brand as an industry authority.

Branded search ads offer the ability to customise messaging and appearance, creating tailored content that effectively guides potential customers towards conversion. Despite the possibility of some overlap between branded ads and organic search, it is essential to view them as complementary strategies that work together to optimise brand visibility and drive qualified traffic.

In our experience running branded search ads for our clients, there has been a significant halo effect on conversions and traffic attributed to organic search. When we've switched off or dramatically reduced budgets for brand terms, we've seen a drop off in conversions and traffic attributed to organic search.

Potential overexposure

However, if your brand is already dominating in organic search results, running additional ads may lead to overexposure. This can unintentionally cause ad fatigue among your target audience or create an excessively commercial image of your brand. While organic traffic is valuable, it's important to consider the potential benefits of running branded search ads alongside it.

Running branded search ads enhances brand visibility and credibility, reaching a qualified audience actively searching for your brand or related terms. By appearing in both organic search results and search ads, you can reinforce your brand's presence and make a lasting impression. With control over messaging and appearance, you can craft compelling ads, highlight offers, and guide potential customers towards conversion at different stages of their journey.

It's important to strike a balance between organic traffic and branded search ads. While relying solely on organic traffic may be effective for repeat buyers actively searching for your brand, running branded search ads can help you reach new customers and expand your audience. By carefully managing your ad campaigns and monitoring their performance, you can avoid ad fatigue and maintain a positive brand image.

Wrapping up the race

Incorporating branded search ads into your digital marketing strategy is as complex as choosing the right time to change the tyres during a race. The benefits and drawbacks must be carefully evaluated, bearing in mind that what's successful for one brand might not necessarily apply to another.

Branded search ads are a valuable tool but not a panacea for all marketing challenges. They might be beneficial in boosting immediate brand visibility but may not necessarily drive long-term sustainable growth.

Like all effective marketing teams, it's crucial to continually monitor your metrics, evaluate the effectiveness of your strategies, and make informed adjustments as needed.

At Refuel Creative, we’re your dedicated team, always ready to assist you in fine-tuning your marketing strategies for the best performance. Until our next in-depth discussion, keep innovating and leading in the thrilling world of digital marketing!

Tori Haywood

Tori Haywood, our former intern, is now our Marketing Assistant. She moved from the countryside to the city to pursue her passion for marketing and creativity. With a Media and Communications degree and a strong retail background, she brings valuable experience to our team.