Rapid Immersion: Adwords: Should I bid on branded keywords?

Hello and thank you for watching Rapid Immersion, where we discuss a wide variety of topics within the digital marketing ecosystem.

In today’s episode, I will try to give you the best answer to the following question: In Google Adwords, should I bid on branded keywords if I already rank well organically?

Now, this is a question I hear all the time. Unfortunately there is no exact answer to this.
Why? Because every account is different, every account has different objectives, different budgets, different levels of brand awareness, etc.
But hopefully I will provide you with a few insights which will allow you to make a more educated decision whether to bid on your own brand or not.

To begin with, what is brand bidding?

Brand terms, or branded keywords, describe keywords that relate to your brand. This can be your company name, your product names, or names of sub-brands that you own. This can also refer to searches related to your domain name. Most browsers will turn your URL query into a search on Google if it’s misspelled for example.

For our company, branded terms could be Reef Digital Agency, Reef Agency, Reef Digital, Reef SEO, or even reefdigital.com.au.

So let’s now explore the reasons why you should be present on your own brand terms

Branded searches are usually performed by users who are already familiar with your brand.

Typically, branded searches are:

  • Highly qualified – As mentioned previously, people already are familiar with your brand so more likely to convert.
  • Highly relevant – The relevancy, seen by Google, between the search queries, your ad copies, your website domain name and website content is very high.
  • Affordable – Because the relevancy is high, your Quality Scores are high, meaning you are usually rewarded with lower cost-per-click.
  • Less competitive – Most companies have no, or very few competitors bidding on their brand terms. These searches being less competitive in nature, translate to a higher CTR and lower CPCs for you.

Now let’s talk about competititor bidding

It is possible that some brands do target their competitor’s brand terms in order to hijack some of their traffic. After all, someone interested in Nike shoes may also be interested in Asics shoes, correct?

Whilst it is an expensive practice, an advertiser with a large budget could easily “steal” a large volume of your brand queries. By bidding on your own brand terms, you give users looking for you another entry point to your website, doubling your chances to receive that click. You also push down your competitor ads, decreasing their own performance.

No matter what, your ads will be more relevant to Google – assuming you’ve optimised them – and will therefore rank higher.

You are probably wondering if you can protect your trademarked brand or brands and the answer is yes!
If you are subject to many competitors hijacking your brand traffic, you may consider submitting a trademark protection with Google.
Do bear in mind that your brand or product names need to be trademarked first. Do note that while this can be an easy-fix, it won’t protect you fully.
In essence, this will not prevent competitor ads from showing on your terms, but it will give you a great advantage.

Here’s how it works:
Let’s say your company name is COMPANY X, and your brand is trademarked, you’ve submitted the trademark protection request to Google, which has been accepted.
In the past, you would have been the only one allowed to bid on the keyword COMPANY X. However Google has changed its policy a few years back and now any advertiser is allowed to bid on your brand, but they won’t be able to mention your name in their ad copy.
Your competitors may also ‘broadmatch’ to your long tail branded keywords. So if I sell golf clubs and someone searches for “COMPANY X Golf Clubs”, a competitor bidding on the term “golf clubs” on broadmatch or phrasematch will also see its ads triggered.

Let’s explore a few more reasons:

  1. Ranking high organically for your brand terms is common, but while you can change the way your organic listing appears on Google, via the meta title and description tags, it takes time to update nor is it recommended.
    With Google Adwords, you can promote special offers, or test the ad messaging very easily. You can change it as you see fit without risking your listing to decrease in position. Make the most of all the ad extensions available as well: Your business address, your phone number, sitelinks or call-out extensions, etc.
  2. You may also be advertising on other channels, including offline. If you are running ads in magazines, or television and radio, if you have an outdoor billboard, it’s likely some people may be searching for you. Having a great brand presence will help you re-capture some of these visitors.
  3. Last but not least, with Google Adwords you can choose where to send your traffic to. Your organic listing may be sending all your traffic to your homepage or a few pages of your site. Adwords will allow you to divert that traffic to very specific pages landing pages that are known to convert at a much-high rate.

With all of the above in mind, let’s return to our original question: Should I be bidding on branded keywords if I already rank organically?

I am of the opinion that yes, you should absolutely do so in order to increase your brand presence.
In saying that, I do not recommend focusing all your budget on your brand campaign.
If you are looking to aggressively gain market share, then you should focus your activity on non-branded keywords as these will drive visitors that are not yet familiar with your brand. So allocate your budget accordingly.

That’s all for today. I hope you found this episode interesting. Feel free to comment below if you have any question or feedback. Also do not forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss out on future episodes.

Have a great day!

Share your opinion

One Response

  1. oliver james says:

    To bid or not to bid on brand terms depends on the objective of an advertiser.
    Lots of companies might rightly ask, if they’re a brand leader with a well-established brand, a well-optimized site and an established ranking as number one or two on the first page of Google, then why would they need to spend thousands every month for the privilege of an ad above their organic listing?
    We believe that AdWords is there to complement the investment that you make into your website, in terms of its content. That content itself provides a long-term investment that can benefit your business for years into the future, not just right here and now. Internet marketing is much more than just purchasing AdWords. The decision to purchase brand terms should be constantly reviewed and the benefits qualified for each individual business in turn.

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