When I'm setting up a new Google AdWords account I nearly always include a brand campaign - i.e. a campaign where all the keywords are the advertiser's company/brand name plus common variations and misspellings of it.
So, for example, if I was setting up AdWords for the bank NatWest I'd have a campaign where the keywords were:
Clients often question the logic of bidding on their own brand name and feel that buying clicks from people who have already heard of them is a waste of money. But running brand name campaigns is considered to be best practice for a number of reasons:
The cost per click (CPC) for a brand campaign is usually very low - due to lack of competition and high quality scores.
The people who search on Google for your brand name are the ones who are most likely to convert. They may have already visited your site via a different keyword in the past and not converted.
Now they are searching for you by name and are on the verge of converting. Having paid to get them to your site once you don't want to lose them at this final hurdle.
Because they have high conversion rates and a low CPC, brand campaigns usually have the lowest cost per acquisition (CPA).
If you don't bid on your own brand name a competitor might. Take this example of a brand name search for a specific hotel in Blackpool:
The hotel is top of the organic results for its own brand name (as you'd expect) but, because they don't use AdWords, the top result is booking.com. This means that people who already know the hotel and have already decided they want to stay there can end up booking via booking.com instead of going direct.
And that means the hotel pays a commission that they could avoid if they were to run their own AdWords brand campaign.
By running a PPC campaign for brand terms, a business can potentially be on page one of Google three times – in the AdWords, organic, and local business results - and hence really dominate the search results for their brand terms.
A study has shown that if you stop doing PPC for a keyword where you are number one organically, 85% of the people who currently click on your ads will not transfer to clicking on your organic result instead.
Often people will see you in the AdWords results, and not click. But because they have seen you in the paid search results, it increases the chance of them clicking on you in the organic results.
That's because your organic result now becomes the second time they have seen you and hence there is a subconscious reinforcement effect.
What are your thoughts on brand bidding? Use the comments box below to let me know what you think.
As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.