6 reasons to pay for your brand’s search terms

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As a marketer in charge of paid search, whether in-house or at an agency,
you’ve been asked (or asked yourself), “Why are we bidding on our brand

This usually stems from a desire to cut costs with the assumption that
people searching for your brand will find you through organic search
listings. Which means there’s no point in spending money to get that
traffic, right?


While the reasons vary depending on your business, there is almost always a
good reason to continue bidding on those brand terms. So, paid search
marketers, take heart and come to your next meeting armed and ready with
these simple, yet compelling arguments to keep your brand campaigns up and

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1. Brand traffic is cheap.

Google’s bidding structure is influenced largely by how compelling and
relevant to the searcher’s intent your ads are compared to the
competition’s. People searching for your brand will obviously favor your
ads, and you clearly have high relevancy on branded search queries. As a
result, you won’t need to pay as much to win an auction on your brand as
you would on a non-branded term.

Brand ads cost on average about a quarter of the cost of non-brand terms,
with some costing as little as one percent of the non-brand cost. If you
find you are having to pay significantly for this traffic, it means you
have significant competition on your brand terms.

2. Keep the competition out.

Like it or not, Google’s search results are open to anyone willing to pay
enough to win an auction.

Even owning a trademark on your brand does not prevent your competition
from showing an ad when someone searches for you. People looking for brand
terms are often well down in the consideration funnel, and by searching for
your brand, they become a prime audience for your competitors.

You want to make it as hard as possible for competitors to swoop in and
poach these valuable customers, and the only way to ensure the top result
on your brand SERP is protected is by paying for that ad placement.

3. Paid ads supplement organic performance.

While the Google team is quick to point out that their paid and organic
teams are separate and paid ads do not give you a direct advantage in
organic, it has been proven that having both paid and organic ads
outperforms relying on either alone.

Studies have repeatedly shown that paid ads significantly improve results,
even if you are the number one organic result on the page.

A Google study

found that on average for searches where your organic position is No. 1,
the top paid ad results in an incremental lift in clicks of 50 percent.
This incrementality increases to 82 percent for organic listings between
two to four and to 96 percent for those with organic listings in position
five or lower.

Even if your organic link is No. 1 on your brand page, paid ads can provide
incremental traffic and value.

4. Provide a better experience using ad features not available in
organic results.

However, if you own every result on my brand SERP, bidding on your brand
allows you to use an array of ad options designed to improve your visitor
experience and increase conversions.

Use “sitelink extensions” to direct searchers to pages deeper in your
website. Promo pages that change frequently, important product or category
pages, and pages which are not indexed are particularly great uses of this

In addition, “callout extensions” let you educate your customers quickly on
your company offerings and differentiators. Call extensions allow users to
call on their mobile phones directly from the search results. Location
extensions show your nearest store location to the searcher and store
hours. Structured snippets, price extensions, promotion extensions, rating
extensions and more allow you to sculpt a brand ad that reduces the natural
friction involved with any web experience, so searchers will learn more
about your company and take more of the actions you desire.

Even Strong brands like Home Depot have clearly decided it is worth
investing in enhancing their customer’s experience through paid brand ads.

They’re not alone. A quick search revealed an array of strong brands
bidding on their brand terms, including Walmart, Honda, Bed Bath &
Beyond, Bank of America and even Amazon.

5. Test, and then test again.

Paid brand ads allow you to create controlled A/B tests to see which
messages resonate best with your very best audiences. Using the experiments
tool and sophisticated machine learning within Google Adwords, you can
quickly and easily determine which copy inspires the most clicks and

This messaging can then be repurposed on your website, in other marketing
or remarketing channels, and even in your organic meta-data. It also
provides valuable insight into which features of your product or services
are most important to your repeat customers or those searchers comparing
you to your competitors.

6. Pair with remarketing lists for greater control.

Another great resource available to paid ads is the remarketing audience . Remarketing lists paired with brand ads allow you to
tailor your ads based on known details of a searcher’s behavior.

Have they bought from you before? Did they visit a particular product or
category page? Are they a member of your newsletter? These audience
segments may be better served with a different brand search experience, and
paid ads allow you to tailor the details specifically to their needs.

Though the desire to save money where possible in your advertising
portfolio is understandable, the benefits of running brand ads will almost
always outweigh the small expense associated with them. So, the next time
you’re asked, “Why are we bidding on our brand terms?” don’t hesitate to
share these six great reasons why.

Charles Moehnke is a senior paid digital marketing analyst at Workshop Digital.
A version of this article originally appeared on the
Workshop Digital blog.

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