Thomas Coppen

Should I bid on my brand terms on AdWords?

There are currently about 144,000 Google results for a“should i bid on my brand terms on AdWords?” search, which tells you straight away that this is a much discussed question. There is plenty of conflicting advice out there, but we at Keel Over want to give you the facts on why overall, brand bidding is not always the best strategy.

Bidding on your own brand terms

Brand name bidding really falls into two categories – your own brand and your competitor’s. Let’s start by looking at bidding on your own brand. Type it into the Google ad preview tool and see what comes up:

We can see that a search for “Keel Over Marketing” comes up with no ads, with our brand dominating the organic listings. If your brand name appears like this, then brand bidding is probably not for you. Having an ad at the top of this page could end up costing you for clicks when there is a free click available just underneath.

This is especially true for accounts with a relatively low budget. If you are trying to get your products or services out to as many people as possible, you won’t want to eat up your budget on clicks that you could be getting for free.

Some agencies will insist on bidding on your brand terms on AdWords, even if you have no competition, to make sure that you always appear at the top of the page. However, more often than not, this is just taking away conversions that you would have had anyway from organic searches, and the PPC conversions are just there to make their end of month report look better.

What if my competitors are bidding on my brand terms on AdWords?

It’s all well and good if your competitors are leaving you be, but sometimes your competitors might be bidding on your name and trying to take away your business. Take a look at this result page:

Brand Terms on AdWords with Competition

Here, you can see that Amazon are also pushing the same product, and could be taking away sales from your PPC campaign. In this case, we would recommend bidding on your brand name to make sure that you are appearing at the top of the page so you don’t miss out on those conversions.

Should I bid on competitors?

This is a trickier one. Before doing it, you need to ask some questions of your business. Are you a lot cheaper than the competition? Do you sell exactly the same product? Are your competitors about to go out of business? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then bidding on your competitor’s brand name could get you some good conversions.

But be warned, most users will be specifically looking for your competitor, and could just ignore your ads, resulting in a lower CTR. Remember, CTR is a large factor in your Quality Scores, and a lower score will result in higher click costs. On top of this, you’ll often see users clicking on your ad at the higher cost, only to think “This isn’t the site I was looking for” and bounce off, leaving you with nothing but a wasted click.

On top of this, if you start bidding on a competitor, you run the risk of them bidding on your own. This can get you into a vicious circle that potentially results in pushing up your overall click costs.

Trademarking your brand terms

It isn’t against Google policy for competitors to use your brand terms as keywords, but you do have the advantage if you have a trademark for your brand name. According to Google’s Trademark Policy, the keyword can be bid on, but the trademarked term can’t be used anywhere in the ad copy. This results in lower Quality Scores straight away because Google doesn’t see these ads as relevant, and the competitor will have to pay a premium to compete against you. Always have this on your side, and you can save some money on your click costs in the process.

If you have problems with brand terms on AdWords, get in touch now for our expert advice.

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