Should you be bidding on your brand, or is it a waste of ad spend? This is a common question we’re asked and a well-debated topic in the PPC industry.
A question we get asked by our clients is: “If I’m in position one of Google, why on earth would I want to start paying for clicks, when it’s free for people to click on my listing?”.
In this blog we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons of bidding on your own brand name.
What do you mean by bidding on brand?
Brand name bidding is when you bid on your own brand name as part of your PPC strategy. This means that when people search for your brand name, or when your brand name forms part of their search query, your ad will show up at the top of the search results above your organic listing.
It might seem a bit weird to bid on your own brand – after all, people searching for your company don’t need advertising to, right? However, there are many benefits to bidding on your brand name – and a couple of downsides. Let’s weigh up both sides of the coin.
Pros of brand bidding
Send traffic to a dedicated, relevant landing page
If people simply click on your organic listing, they’re going to land on your homepage – whether or not that page offers the information they’re searching for.
However, if someone’s searching for your brand name there’s a high chance they’re likely to convert. Running specific promotions that point traffic to dedicated landing pages can help coax your high-intent searchers along the buying journey.
Gain more control
When you’re bidding on your brand, it means you’re using Google Ads rather than the organic SERP listings. This means you can fully control the message you’re giving to users and that best represents your brand at the top of the search listings. This includes:
- Highlighting a current promotion
- Including a specific call-to-action
- Adding further detail
Furthermore, you can switch up the message of your ad whenever you want – instantaneously. You can also use ad scheduling to specify certain hours or days you want certain ads to show. You can go on to use A/B testing to test the conversion rates of specific ad copy, call to actions, landing pages and much more.
Give users more info
By using customisable ad extensions, you can provide users with far more information than your organic SERP listing. This includes site links, snippets, prices, promos and much more.
Pro tip – you should select 50%-100% more ad extensions than you need, because Google will pick the most relevant ones to appear, based on additional info like where the search originated from, the device type used, and the keywords entered. Clever stuff!
Maximise SERP “retail space”
Rather than simply ranking first with a run-of-the-mill SERP listing, you could take up a massive amount of ‘retail space’ by placing your ads pride of place at the top of the search listings.
Bidding on brand can help you completely dominate the top half of that search result page. This not only looks impressive and professional as hell, but statistically, you’re maximising the chances of people clicking on your brand, rather than visiting an alternative site.
As well as placing you as an authority figure, dominating the SERP rankings can also help avoid any negative reviews, news articles or worse – competitors ads – showing above your brand listings.
Safeguard against the competition
Bidding on your name can be used as a defence against sneaky competitors bidding on your brand. You should always check whether someone is bidding on your brand name, cause there’s not much worse than a customer with high-intent searching for your brand but getting side-tracked by a competitors ad and clicking their offer over yours.
If competitors do bid on your brand name, you can increase their costs simply by bidding on your own name. It’s likely that your ad will have a better position, higher click-through-rate, and a better Quality Score (after all, it’s yours). This will lead to a drop in their ad position, reduced traffic, lowered conversion rates, and an increased CPA as they are forced to increase their bids to compete for the spot.
All in all, if you don’t bid on brand, you’re leaving an opportunity for your competitors to slide right in and outrank you, potentially stealing your customers.
It can be cost-effective
Branded keywords tend to be way cheaper than non-branded keywords, simply due to the fact there’s less competition. You’ll also be at an advantage thanks to your hyper-relevant landing page (your own site!), helping boost your quality score, CTR, and ad relevance, keeping your bid costs low.
Cons of bidding on your brand
You could pay for non-buying searches
Unfortunately, there’s no way to really deter those non-buying searches from clicking on your ad. When users search for your brand, some of these people are likely to be looking for your contact details, company info or other non-buying purposes. If these users click onto your ad, it can end up eating away at your daily budget, all without making a sale.
It pushes down your organic listings
If you’re top of the SERPs (which you should be), placing your ad above your listing will push it down the page. This is especially a factor on mobile where retail space is less. However, you have to weigh this against the risk of a competitor coming in and pushing you down with their own ad.
It might not be necessary
If you’re already ranking top and there aren’t any competitors bidding on your brand name, there might not be a need to run a branded campaign. After all, why pay for clicks you’d naturally get for free? However, if you’re in a very competitive industry and you’ve made a name for yourself, it’s likely that competitors may try their luck from time to time and bid on your branded terms. Keep a close eye on it and change your tact where needed.
To summarise, whether you should bid on brand depends on a number of factors including your standing within your industry. However, the benefits do outweigh the negatives, especially if you have a large budget for PPC and a lot of competitors.