Bidding on Your Own Brand

by Monica Paici, Internal Marketing Director, PIN Business Network

Google’s online advertising program, AdWords, uses an auction model, and your bidding strategy helps determine where and when your ads appear. Bidding on relative key words for clicks, impressions, conversions and views puts you in the auction. The price for each keyword will vary depending on the quality of your keyword, your competitor’s bid, and other factors.

Prior to deciding to bid on your own brand name for AdWords, you need to evaluate the situation. Are any competitors bidding on your brand name? If not, and they haven’t done it before, then it’s probably not something you need to spend money on as long as your brand dominates the organic listings.

If a competitor is bidding, and it’s the only ad present in the search engine results page, you need to determine whether they pose a risk to your business by “stealing” potential leads or sales by having your ultimate key word, your brand, link to your competitor. You will also need to consider if your visibility with organic listings is great enough.

Many businesses often make the mistake of not bidding on their own brand name. They assume that since they already rank for their own brand, they don’t need to pay for it; however, consider the risk that if you aren’t advertising through AdWords for your brand name, competitors will.

You may rank first for the organic term, but others may be advertising directly above that result. “Sponsored” listings display on the very top of the search results page. They are even higher than the number one organic search result, or even the local results. Something to consider: organic search results have a higher click-through-rate generally than paid listings, but not necessarily for the top paid spots.

True, the more real estate you own in search results, the higher chance you have at garnering that click. However, the chance of getting that click through on your brand name organically is going to be much higher on branded than non-branded searches. Generally, your competitors have a much harder time ranking organically on your brand name and most of the results will be your brand’s website pages or directory listings.

Beyond just deterring competitors, bidding on your own name also allows you to: a) direct traffic to pages on your site other than your home page; b) control your sitelinks; c) measure your pure brand terms and brand awareness over time; d) use a pay-per-click ad to help push harmful headlines in the Google news section and organic listings below the fold and highlight your positive reviews; e) give you more real estate on the search results page; and, finally, f) if your organic listings are not in the number 1 position, you can use a PPC ad to push you up in the rankings to optimize your customers’ search for you.

In most cases, bidding on your own brand name is very cost-effective. It is usually a fraction of the cost of what the rest of your keywords might require. It will also cost less for you than it will for your competitors. If you’re spending thousands of dollars on traditional media, why wouldn’t you spend a fraction of that on PPC to ensure prospects find you at the top of the page? It makes sense to bid the highest for your own brand name because people who are searching for your company are the most likely to convert.

For some brands, bidding on your own brand name may seem frivolous and a waste of PPC dollars; but, can anyone afford having their competitors steal their leads?