“Do I run PPC brand campaigns or hope that organic search is enough to keep my brand on the tip of the tongue of my customers?” It’s hard to count how many times we had the same dilemma.
Our answer is: you should bid on your brand. And we have some damn good reasons to say so.
Even though PPC brand campaigns can sometimes seem unnecessary, they benefit your business more than you could ever imagine.
Still hesitating? We dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, so read on to learn why PPC brand bidding is a must, and what mistakes you should avoid while doing it.
What is a PPC Brand Campaign?
Before we jump in to convince you why PPC brand campaigns are critical for your online business, let’s define what they are.
Brand bidding is simply including your company’s brand name as a keyword in the paid search campaigns. So, when people Google the name of your company, you come first in search results as ads always show on top, and people are very likely to go to your site. Even if you combine your product/service with the brand name, it’s still considered PPC brand bidding.
PPC brand awareness campaigns stir a lot of controversy among marketers. Yet, brand bidding has proven to bring positive results, enhance the account’s quality score, and increase brand loyalty.
8 Reasons Why PPC Brand Bidding Is a Must
As promised, here are the reasons why AdWords brand campaigns are so valuable, and why you should strongly consider bidding on your brand keywords (if you haven’t done it yet.)
1. It’s cheap
You’ve heard it. CHEAP.
Even though advertising ain’t dirt cheap, PPC brand bidding is a rare case when you can actually save quite a few bucks.
Apart from being the cheapest online traffic, it can also benefit your brand a lot.
Brand queries usually have lower cost-per-click (CPC), higher click-through rates (CTRs), and Quality Scores. What else should convince you to bid on your brand if not this?
Of course, no one can promise that your PPC brand awareness campaign will work. However, even if people click on your organic searches instead of branded ads, you won’t go bankrupt. So why not give it a try and see whether you’ll manage to dominate your search engine result page (SERP)?
2. You can control your brand message
Unlike organic listings, paid advertising lets you decide what ad copy to use to attract your target audience. So, if you want your prospects to have the right idea about your brand, bid on it.
It’s also a fantastic opportunity to test different copy and see what performs best. A/B testing is a gem when it comes to PPC brand campaigns. Not only can you send visitors to the best performing landing pages with the help of site links, but also introduce new products or services using Product Listing Ads.
If you care how searchers perceive your brand online, then bidding on your brand keywords is a proven way to make your message clear and engage with your audience.
3. You might keep your brand away from competitors
Let’s clear this out. If you aren’t bidding on your brand, then your competitors are most likely already doing it.
So, if you don’t want your customers to land on the pages of your competitors who are bidding on your brand terms, then you gotta do something about it.
As I’ve already mentioned, brand keywords are the cheapest ones. Take advantage of it and make sure you’re the one getting quality traffic to your website, not your competitors.
Another thing you can do is try PPC brand bidding on competitor brand. Very often, it’s much cheaper than bidding on your non-brand terms. If they can do it, why can’t you? Just ensure you’re following these two simple rules:
- You can buy their names as keywords, but you’re not allowed to use them in your copy,
- Do not use Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) to avoid violations of Google Ads Trademark Policy.
At the end of the day, it’s your brand against your competitors, so act according to your business’s best interests.
4. You might get hold of quality traffic
You don’t need to be a paid advertising pro to understand that if someone is searching specifically for your brand, they already know something about it.
That’s why PPC brand bidding is your chance to capture traffic that comes from those who want to buy your products or services. It means that these people are most likely to add your items to their shopping cart and finish the buying cycle. So, make sure you craft your ad message the way that would make it irresistible to click on.
Plus, users are much more prone to press on your brand ad rather than your competitor’s (if they’re bidding on your brand terms.)
5. You can cut harmful content
Whether you anticipate it or not, life happens. Becoming a target of negative press is not very pleasant, especially when it’s directed towards your brand.
We hope it never happens to you. But in case it does, we want you to have a few ways out.
PPC brand campaigns are one of them. It’s your chance to recover your brand after all the negativity it might have been exposed to.
A proper message in a branded ad can overwrite the negative content appearing in searches. If you want your customers to focus on the quality of your products/services and not the scandalous nonsense, then you must run a PPC brand campaign.
6. You might win over your affiliates
If you’re a B2C or B2B business, this problem of affiliates and distributors stealing your traffic is probably pretty familiar to you.
Want customers to buy directly from you and not your affiliates? Then bid on your brand keywords.
Believe us. It works. Check out how we managed to help one of the cosmetics brands win over their affiliates and enter the US market. It might not be easy, but it’s possible.
7. You can boost traffic to less popular products
Are there some products or services that you wish were getting more traffic? Run a branded campaign emphasizing the less popular pages of your website.
The fact that users search less for those services/products doesn’t mean they don’t want them. People simply might not know about them.
The good thing is, you can change it and introduce your prospects to more products or services that they might be interested in.
If you’ve just launched a new service, the PPC brand campaign is one of the first things you should do. Plus, paid search lets you rank first for both branded and non-branded keywords concerning a new product.
8. You can make up for poor search results
Organic search results directly depend on how much effort you put into your SEO strategy.
However, we all know that you need time until the SEO kicks in and brings your traffic.
Even though SEO should be a vital part of your marketing, it’s even better when combined with paid advertising.
While you’re looking forward to seeing the fruitful SEO results, you can easily run a PPC brand campaign to ensure your brand is showing up in SERPs.
So, if you don’t want to waste too much time waiting for SEO to work for you, team it up with brand awareness campaigns. It will help you draw more attention to your online business and boost sales.
20 Ways to Avoid Mistakes When Running a PPC Brand Campaign
By now, you should be pretty convinced that it’s worth bidding on your brand. However, we want you to know not only why you should do it but also what to avoid while doing it.
So, we asked multiple digital marketing experts to share the biggest mistakes they’ve made while running PPC brand campaigns.
And here’s what you can learn from their online advertising experience.
1. Do not forget about your negative keywords
BJ Enoch, Director of Digital Marketing & Demand Generation at opendorse said:
“The worst mistake I’ve ever made with a branded PPC campaign was not fully building out my negative keyword list. The brand name was similar to another product, and we ended up spending a few thousand dollars on clicks for searches related to product usage for another brand that wasn’t anything like ours.”
Andreas Wendelboe of ASA Software also agreed:
“The biggest mistake I have ever made was not using negative keywords in my branded PPC campaign. Due to the short length of my company name, and the multiple companies who have similar names/products, my ads were showing on completely irrelevant search queries. This depleted my budget fast, my bounce-rate was through the roof, and I got absolutely no conversions whatsoever.”
2. Avoid broad match keyword terms
“The best advice I can give is to avoid broad match keyword terms, especially if your brand name is more than one word. In the least, you want to make sure you do phrase match by putting quotes around the brand name. Exact match for the brand is a must, and you can consider modified broad (putting + before each keyword in the phrase). The most common mistake we see is broad match bidding on a multi-word brand name.”
Geoff Hoesch, CEO at Dragonfly Digital Marketing
“Keyword match types will make or break your PPC campaign. There’s no one size fits all when it comes to what keyword match type is best for your campaign, but an exact match is usually a safe bet. By avoiding generic, wide-ranged match types like broad match modifier or phrase match keywords, you can ensure that the phrases you want to show for are exactly the ones that you are.”
Alexa Kurtz, Marketing Strategist & Paid Ad Specialist at WebTek
3. Always bid on your brand name
“Being an SEO agency, we shied away from PPC originally, and as a result didn’t bid on our brand name, meaning when people search for our brand, we would appear 4th or further in the search engine results. This resulted in a loss of clicks to our brand.”
Sean Clancy, SEO Director at Edge
4. Do not be afraid to experiment
Andreas Wendelboe, Webmaster at ASA Software, convinced us that:
“Experimentation is king when it comes to PPC brand campaigns. Branded PPC campaigns might seem illogical, and maybe they won’t work for your website and industry, but if you don’t experiment with it over a longer period, then you will never know. If they seem to work for you, then congratulations, you just got a very cheap way to maximize your traffic!”
Tonya Davis, Marketing Manager at ThoughtLab, has a similar opinion, saying that not testing different ad messaging options was one of her biggest mistakes :
“If you assume that because people are searching for your brand that you don’t have to consider what kind of message to have in your ad, you’d be sorely mistaken. You have to consider the search terms people use the most when looking for your brand. Are they searching for a specific service you offer? Maybe they want to browse your certain product category. Make sure you have ad text to match their query to improve your CTR and chances of conversions.“
5. Be patient
“The biggest mistake I have seen is clients wanting to turn the campaign off due to their assumption that organic would make up the lost leads. I’ve conducted several studies and, at best, organic traffic makes up for 23% of the lost leads when you pause your branded PPC campaign. We need to remember that people are lazy and if a competitor is bidding on your name, they’re not going to scroll down to find you; they’re going to jump to the closest (in the SERP) next option.”
Ameet Khabra, President & PPC Specialist at Ameet Khabra Marketing Inc.
6. Do not get mad at Google for having to bid on your terms
“I speak with many clients and others that simply will not run branded ads for their brand or their competitors. While I agree that it’s not cool to have to pay for your brand name, it is the reality that we live in. Don’t fight it! Instead, embrace it! Every client that does not run branded ads is losing customers to there competition right now!”
Drew Johnson, Digital Marketer at Lagerhead Cycleboats
7. Do not mix the metrics
Adam Thompson, Director of Digital Marketing at ReliaSite told us this:
“The biggest mistake I’ve seen marketers make is lumping their metrics together for their brand campaign and their other campaigns. That’s a huge mistake, for a few reasons:
* Brand campaigns typically have very high conversion rates, because they’re targeting people who are already highly familiar with your company. This can boost your overall campaign statistics, making your campaigns look far more successful at customer acquisition than they really are.
* Brand campaigns fill a very different role than other PPC campaigns. Brand campaigns aren’t about new prospect/customer acquisition – they’re about defending the audience you’ve already got.”
Rachael Jessney, Managing Director at Atelier, also agreed that trying to measure PPC brand campaigns with the same KPI’s as their other campaigns was a huge mistake:
“We can’t expect brand campaigns to drive as many actual sales or inquiries as product or service searches. When we accepted that this was primarily an awareness and consideration campaign, we were able to fine-tune our approach and get a better gauge on actual performance.”
8. Leverage your creativity
“It’s not much of a mistake, but the one thing that I did not make the most of was the ad text. I originally started with generic sales-y type ad copy, which means it was not very engaging. PPC gives you the opportunity to be a little more creative with your headlines, unlike SEO, so make the most of it. This is a great time to showcase a new deal or product or even show your witty side.”
Ryan Scollon, PPC Consultant
9. Use custom audiences
“One of the best tips regarding branded PPC campaigns is to use custom audiences to limit who can see your branded search campaigns. For example, you may want users who have previously engaged with your brand to be served an ad via a branded search campaign but might want to exclude users who have already converted/become a customer. This can be done by setting up custom audiences in Google Analytics and excluded them in your branded campaign. By doing so, you can prioritize ad spend on prospects searching for your brand (vs. existing customers).”
James Bowen, Founder & CEO, Ripen Digital
10. Be careful with common keywords
“The biggest mistake you can make while running branded PPC campaigns is to make an assumption about common keywords in specific geographic locations. For example, one of our branded campaigns for an HVAC company kept getting conversions for energy-related queries, and we believed this was because people were looking for energy-efficient air conditioning. In reality, they were looking for the local energy company, and our client was wasting a lot of time redirecting calls. While a high conversion rate is important and does look good on your campaign, it doesn’t mean anything if it’s not resulting in a good ROI.”
Aaron Watters, CEO of Leadhub
11. Make your brand campaign appealing
“Instead of just trying to get clicks to try to make your campaign memorable. Go for something aesthetically appealing, not as an effort solely to get clicks, but to stick in people’s minds so that they’ll remember your brand and venture to your site organically.”
Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful
12. Do not underestimate the importance of landing pages
“Based on my 7+ years of experience in running PPC campaigns, the biggest mistake I have ever made was to underestimate the importance of landing page experience. Landing page experience is one of the critical factors that calculate the quality score. You can improve your ad quality score, decrease cost per acquisition and increase overall campaign performance by continuously improving user experience on your website.”
Anand Iyer, Digital Marketing Manager
Ezra Mikhel, Marketing Manager at Staff Timer, added to this:
“The biggest mistake that many PPC campaigners make is forgetting all about their landing pages. We thought our landing page was one of the best, and nothing could go wrong. After a series of multiple campaign failures and going almost bankrupt (just a figure of speech), we realized maybe there is something wrong. So we redesigned it.”
13. Always brainstorm
“Every successful brand PPC campaign starts with brainstorming. This is where you do your research, set goals, and form a general idea of how you’d like your campaign to turn out. This is where you also get to find out what your customers want and how they are searching for it. It’s important you understand this first before choosing your keywords and launching your brand campaign.”
Sanjay Patoliya, Founder and Director of Teclogiq
14. Provide additional information
“Use your brand campaigns to give people additional pieces of information that they might not get from your other ad copy. For example, new ranges that may not have search volume yet, site links to any loyalty or membership schemes which may be of interest. It’s also the ideal place for highlighting your company awards or accreditations.”
Rachael Jessney, Managing Director at Atelier
15. Beware of the brands with the same name
“Not being aware of other brands with the same name in different verticals can cause big problems in PPC. A campaign a few years ago was returning horrendous results because we were getting irrelevant traffic intended for another business. It was a global company working in a completely different sector, which we hadn’t picked up on before launching our own campaign. We resolved the issue very quickly, but it was still a PPC budget wasted. Now we do exhaustive research on the business name to identify any organizations where there may be similarities or crossovers, so we can weed out traffic looking for someone else’s service.”
Sam Orchard, Creative Director, Edge of the Web
16. Do not neglect branded keyword campaigns
“A few months back, we have paused the branded keyword campaign to evaluate the lead generation percentage. And later, we have observed a drastic decrease in conversions, CPA, revenue, and ROAS. We felt that was a blatantly wrong move.”
Md Mohsin Ansari, Digital Marketing Manager at Troop Messenger
17. Use relevant URLs for brand queries
“If this is a brand + product – lead to the product card, if this is brand + category – lead to the category page, if just a brand – it is enough to land the user on the main page if the site is single-brand, or on the brand category.”
Viacheslav Ponomarev, CEO at 49.95 agency
18. Do not forget to update your demographic target data
“How old is your demographic information? If you haven’t reviewed and fine-tuned your demographic targeting data and buyer personas in the last six months, it’s out of date. My data was over two years old and referenced a demographic that had already long moved on and was not receptive to our targeting. It negated the value of the PPC campaign itself. It also left us straggling behind when it came to identifying and building a campaign to target our genuine, up-to-date demographics of prospects.”
Polly Kay, Senior Marketing Manager at English Blinds
19. Monitor your competitors
“The most important thing to monitor in a branded SERP is how many competitors ads show up on your brand. If you are lucky and you are the only one, great! If you have several other advertisers to contend with, then you may need to keep a higher percentage of the overall PPC budget devoted to brand keywords. Furthermore, look at the ad copy of your competitors. Make sure they are not in violation of any trademark laws. This info should also help you create a more compelling ad for branded ads.
If your brand is often shortened or used as an acronym, adding these to your branded campaign can sometimes be a huge mistake. I have seen several businesses burn a ton of budget on brand terms only to uncover their really irrelevant clicks. Study the SERP results to see what other ads might be appearing. If your brand name is generic (like acme co) or used in other industries, you should build a strong negative match list in your brand campaign. This is a great way to help your ads not appear for terms that you don’t want.”
Kevin Pike, President at Rank Fuse Interactive
20. Do not overuse the keywords
“Targeting and using too many keywords will greatly diminish the effects of your PPC campaign for sure. Using too many keywords will cause to have a useless number of ad groups, multiple ad copies, additionally more landing page optimizations, and so many more elements. Hence, your efforts will be diverted and distributed into unworthy ad campaigns and double your CPA in Google. Remember that only 6–10% of keywords produce sales in PPC campaigns.”
Andrei Vasilescu, CEO and Digital Marketing expert at DontPayFull
Even though a lot of marketers can be skeptical about PPC brand campaigns, the pros clearly outweigh the cons.
Brand bidding is a marketing tactic that is worth experimenting with. Test your options, tweak ad copy, introduce new products, discover new niches, you name it. Your brand keywords will cost you pennies, but they can bring thousands in return. Just make sure you’re playing it safe and avoid making rookie mistakes.