Five Reasons to Bid on Branded Terms in PPC

Anyone who manages a PPC account is perpetually on the lookout for a “secret weapon” to boost their performance. As a Customer Success Rep at WordStream, I have consulted for (what feels like) almost every type of account imaginable. Usually, my suggestions differ based on each individual client, but there is one foolproof recommendation that benefits just about everyone: bid on your branded terms.

OK, I know it sounds crazy. You’re probably thinking, why bother spending money on branded terms that are already triggering organic listings? (That’s what eBay recently decided, but we’re not sure their SEM managers are quite up to snuff…) Or you may be worried that paid search ads will cannibalize your organic traffic. However, Google has conducted studies that show this isn’t the case.

Here are my top five reasons that you should start bidding on your branded terms:

  1. Bidding on branded queries helps you dominate your search engine results page. I think we can all agree that two is better than one, especially when it comes to your links on a SERP. In the same way that having multiple links in an email can increase click-through, giving the searcher more opportunities to click works to your advantage. In addition, by appearing in both the organic and paid ads columns, you are proving to your searcher that you are a prominent player in your space.
  1. You can control your messaging. Organic listings may be free advertising, but let’s face it, they are boring. Paid ads give you an opportunity to craft a message that will grab the attention of your searchers and entice them to visit your site. To really drive this point home, remember that your organic results might not send searchers to the most ideal landing pages. Take advantage of paid ads and send your searchers to your highest converting landing pages. Use sitelinks, Product Listing Ads and other engaging ad formats.
  1. Competitors may be invading your territory. If your competitors are savvy, they’re already bidding on your branded terms. So, if someone does a search for your company, they’ll find your vanilla organic listings flanked (or even preceded) by a nice shiny ad singing the praises of your competitor. This may actually cause traffic that would have been headed to your site to be diverted right over to the welcoming landing pages of your competitor.
  1. Branded terms are a steal. We’re all on the hunt for cheap keywords that actually have search volume. Those “magic” keywords might be right under your nose – your own brand name! Don’t just stick with your company name, bid on your specific products or even your URL. Not only are these words likely to be easy on your wallet, they should also garner some of your highest click-through rates and Quality Scores.
  1. Capture high-quality leads that are near the point of conversion. People who are searching for your branded terms are already acquainted with your company. Perhaps they’ve heard about you from a friend, researched you in the past or are even return customers. They know you have what they want and, chances are, they are further along in the buying cycle than the average Joe Shmoe who’s searching more generic terms.

Still don’t buy it? I know that some marketers are hesitant to subscribe to this strategy and I understand their reluctance. My only request to the skeptics is, give it a shot! Every PPC account is unique and you’ll never know what works best for yours unless you test your options.

(More: The Importance of A/B Testing: 24 Reasons to Test Everything)

Have YOU incorporated branded terms into your keyword lists?

Image via Exit Lines

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