At first glance, paying for ads on your branded search terms may seem like an extra, unnecessary expenditure. After all, your company likely already ranks at the top of the list for organic search results. Do you really need to carve out space in your ad budget to bid on your brand terms?
The short answer is yes. But the why is a little more involved. Even if you’re already ranking in organic searches for your brand name, there are several reasons running a branded campaign is going to benefit your business.
Brand awareness isn’t your top priority when it comes to branded queries, for obvious reasons. But there’s still no harm in occupying more space on the search results page. Just like with email campaigns, the more links you have available on the page, the better your chance of increasing your click-through rates (CTR).
As an added bonus, taking up more space on the SERP means your business is pushing unrelated content further down the page and out of sight. This is especially helpful when it comes to competitors who may show up in your results (more on that later).
In addition to taking up more space on the page, branded campaigns give you some freedom and flexibility with the messaging you use to dominate that space. As we mentioned before, you may already rank for your branded terms. But organic search results are usually standard listings with straightforward messaging, and most of them direct users only to your homepage.
When you employ a branded ad, you can customize your messaging. Incorporate some colorful copy, highlight a specific promotion or product, or lead users to a higher performing landing page. This way, the clicks you get are more targeted, more intent-driven, and thus more likely to convert.
Chances are your competitors, if they’re ad-savvy, are already bidding on your branded terms. When you bid on your own terms, Google will recognize your content as more relevant and choose your ad over the competing one. This will knock your competitor down the page, and it gives you the chance to clarify any misinformation about your brand that competitor or affiliate ads might be perpetuating. For example, a company that sells your product might advertise free shipping, which could mislead any visitors to your site if you don’t offer it.
Only relying on an organic listing to combat competitors in your ad space isn’t always effective. Because organic listings are simple by nature, they may not always present in a way that’s colorful enough to work against a more engaging, visually appealing competitor ad. As a result, you risk losing qualified traffic to a competing brand.
If you’re not bidding on branded terms, there’s always the chance someone else is.
Speaking of traffic, it stands to reason that users searching your branded terms are already familiar with your company. They’ve done their research, from organic searches to checking reviews. Now they’re searching with more intent because they recall your brand from their research, and they’ve decided to buy from you.
If you’re not bidding on branded terms, there’s always the chance someone else is. Don’t miss out on a highly likely conversion just because two competing ads are listed above your organic result.
You might argue that branded campaigns aren’t worth the money if you’re already naturally ranking for those terms. But the great thing about branded campaigns is they’re usually far less expensive than other paid ads.
Because your content is going to be the most relevant option for these queries, you’ll capture the search with a lower bid. Plus, your ads on branded searches are more likely to get clicks, so you’re getting more for less.
Branded campaigns are an excellent opportunity to test out new keywords. Part of that is due to our point #5 that they’re more cost effective. Essentially, if you run a “brand-plus” campaign and combine your branded terms with phrases relevant to what you’re offering, you can identify combinations that perform well, possibly better than you might have expected, and you can turn those keywords into non-branded campaigns.
In a similar vein, targeting different keyword combinations with your brand name could reveal unexpected information about the users searching for your products. Researching the demographics of these less common search terms can identify new audience segments to target with non-branded campaigns and specific landing pages that will interest them.
If you have products or services that aren’t performing as well as you’d like, a branded campaign is a cost-effective way to get those landing pages some traction. Using sitelink extensions draws attention to the products you want to highlight in a compelling way without distracting users from your brand as a whole.
This is also a good opportunity to present a sale or roll out a new product. And it ties in well to the freedom to choose your messaging. You can test out which ad copy works best for a new product in a less expensive environment by using it on your branded campaigns first.
Speaking of extensions …
Another benefit to branded campaigns is the ability to add extensions to your paid ads. Obviously, this is a perk to non-branded campaigns, but for all the reasons listed above, it’s especially advantageous for your branded ones.
Organic listings take users to your homepage, and from there, they have to navigate to the pages they want to visit on their own. With extensions, you save users valuable seconds by helping them reach your FAQs, Contact page, or Support page.
You’re probably starting to notice a trend here: speed is key. Unfortunately, making changes to your website can be a complicated and lengthy process. Luckily, there’s an easy solution in the meantime: Use paid ads to alter your messaging.
In the same way branded campaigns can help you test new keywords, they’re also pretty useful for testing out changes to your brand’s message. Got a new slogan you want to try? Roll it out in a branded ad and see if it increases CTR. This will save you the time and effort of changing it on your site for the purpose of a test, which you’ll find particularly helpful if you’re contemplating a rebrand.
On that note, PPC campaigns are also a great way to see how your brand is performing, especially if you’re new or have recently rebranded. These campaigns offer very clear data that indicates performance over time through CTR and conversion metrics.
If you want to illustrate to your leadership team why a search marketing campaign may be beneficial to drive brand awareness and qualified traffic, a branded PPC campaign is an economic way to prove value.
The bottom line is branded campaigns are good for your bottom line.
The bottom line is branded campaigns are good for your bottom line. They’re cost-effective strategies that offer a lot of advantages and minimal disadvantages. Getting them just right can be tricky, and it does take some time and effort to structure them perfectly to your needs. It can be a never-ending process.
If you’re new to the PPC game or want to have a team of experts at your disposal, consider partnering with a digital marketing agency that has a proven track record for building successful branded campaigns.