Let’s give a big hand to brand! 3 BIG reasons to do it.

Roughly a 6 minute read by James

In the PPC world, bidding on brand is a hot topic with one of the most common questions heard in marketing meetings across the land being:

"Should we bid on our own brand in PPC campaigns?”

“We’ll get those sales anyway, so why waste our money?”, I hear you cry!

While this may be true to some extent, there are many other reasons you should consider investing budget into your paid brand campaigns, no matter the business goals and industry you operate in.

It’s inevitable that some sales and revenue will be cannibalised from other channels. However, if done right, the benefits and gains should offset any losses and see brand traffic become an even more consistent and profitable campaign for any account.

With no two accounts being the same it's hard to devise a blanket approach to your strategy, but here at Engage we believe there's a lot of merit to bidding on your own brand terms across search.

Ultimately, why should we bid on brand?

Data shows that when there is no paid advert on the search engine results page (SERP), brand clicks will obviously go to the organic result. Microsoft research shows that where brand adverts are run, organic traffic drops by 18%. However, the the total number of clicks rises 32% - a net gain of 14%!

So, given the relatively low CPC associated with brand traffic, the gains should far outweigh the costs. Below are 3 reasons we think you should be bidding on brand:

1. Key messages

Brand bidding allows you to push relevant messages direct to your audience. Organic listings, for the most part, do not change their content and tend to be pretty dry.

Below, we can see how Asda is using brand PPC bidding to push a very different message to potential customers.

Instead of using a straight sales message, they are looking to engage users in a different way with the brand - pushing recipes and the relationship with James Martin that is currently playing out ATL.

Paid brand campaigns are enabling Asda to put their most relevant messages out to customers and to change the way Google users interact with the brand, showing them a side to the business they may never have seen before - and who doesn’t like a good Swiss Roll?

Looking at another supermarket for a more traditional way to use brand PPC, Waitrose are heavily pushing a new customer offer for online grocery shoppers.

We can see how much more compelling the paid advert is (the top one) compared to the organic listing.

Don’t forget all the extras you can add to your campaign to increase performance of brand traffic.

You can up sell and cross sell with sitelink extensions, as Waitrose have done with their “£7 Indian Takeaway” offer.

You can use callout extensions to highlight important brand USPs, keep those loyal customers as customers and remind them why they keep coming back!

Almost every other advert extension can be used to benefit your brand traffic. Experiment, test and make the most of the features at your disposal!

2. Better data

Organic brand data is now harder to come by at a keyword level, and whilst you may be able to track some, you will not have it all as the curse of “not provided” rears its ugly head.

Using paid search for brand allows account managers to track more precisely how brand traffic is performing, and where improvements can be made.

You will have an embarrassing amount of brand keyword data which can be used to find the true value of your brand traffic. In most cases we know brand traffic is extremely valuable, but only paid campaigns can confirm the true worth.

Once the profitability of brand traffic is known, you can then start influencing other marketing activities around boosting traffic and visibility. For example:

  • If brand traffic has been dropping, then looking at a creative content piece (SEO) to up traffic levels is in order.
  • If brand traffic has been increasing, then ensure you know why and keep doing more of the same!
  • Using the auction insights tool, you can keep an eye on your competitors activity and know when/how to adjust your own strategy.
  • Can you see any other user trends?
  • Have you started seeing more people search for certain products or services more in the search query reports? Or vice versa?
  • Use this to make smart decisions about where to push the business - share this data with your clients and help them decide what the next offline or online marketing push should be. Don’t hoard all this information like some twisted PPC version of Gollum, share your findings!

3. Increased performance

With stronger calls to action and more engaging ad copy, you should see an uplift in performance of brand traffic.

This is something we see time and time again on brand campaigns. An extra half a percent on CvR, or £1 on AOV over a time period of months will help to offset the media costs, and in most cases, start generating valuable extra revenue and sales for your campaigns.

Another way to measure this is by isolating exact match brand terms for organic and paid, and then looking for trends over time in AOV and conversion rate. Your SEO peeps can really help here in establishing long term impacts on organic or direct traffic that paid brand is having on the business.

Ready to give it a go? First, you need to do a bit of housekeeping...

The above are just a few reasons to bid on brand traffic; needless to say, we think in most cases it should be an integral part of any campaign, so what are you waiting for?!

Before you give brand a go, annotate your analytics account so you know when the brand bid push happened for future reference. Keep the SEO wizard that sits near you happy by adding notes to your activity and letting them know what you are doing and when.

Work with them to figure out the impact that paid brand is having on the business as a whole, as this will give the figures you need to prove an even bigger ROI.