To bid or not to bid

One of the things people often ask us about is whether its a good idea to bid on your brand in adwords or similar ppc platforms.

The short answer is that the ideal situation is to build up a brand to the point where a position of dominance exists. The longer answer calls for some careful strategising.

Here are our top five tips for building a successful ppc brand strategy:

1. Protect your trademarks
Make sure all your trademarks are properly registered. Since 2009 Google has operated a policy whereby advertisers are allowed to bid against registered trademarks as long as that trademark isn’t mentioned in the ad text. While this won’t stop advertisers bidding completely but it will make their ad less appealing to users searching for your brand, this in turn lowers their quality score which will effect their costs and reach.

2. Maximise your organic position
It takes a lot of pressure off your ppc campaigns if you occupy top organic position, even better if you have site links showing. It’s when you dominate the organic listings that you really have to start to consider whether its more cost effective to stop the ppc campaigns and rely on your organic position. Two top tips; test and re-test to find the right balance, you’ll more than likely lose some visitors without ppc but does the cost saving improve your return on investment?. Secondly write and test different meta descriptions, your page title is a more risky place to a/b test but your meta description is the perfect place to reinforce that this is the official website of your brand.

3. Test, test and test again
Implement changes, gather data and test. Repeat this process for your ads, landing pages and anything else you can test. It doesn’t matter how good your instincts are about your site and customers there will always be some statistics that totally take you by surprise. Using this data effectively can be an incredible asset when looking for a competitive edge.

4. Speak to the competition
Often you can waste hours optimising campaigns while your closest competitors do the same. Depending on your level of dominance and relationship with the other brands in your sector there may be an excellent basis for all coming to a mutually beneficial agreement whereby you agree to not bid on each others brands, saving you a lot of money that you can then re-invest in other non-brand campaigns. Another good tip is to take advantage of any b2b relationships, whether contractual or informal these are another good way to minimise competition on your brand keywords.

5. Protect against affiliates
If you participate in any affiliate programs, make sure affiliates can’t use your brand anywhere.  Most affiliate networks will cover keyword bidding but its also worth bearing in mind domain registration, logos and any other intellectual property. Many times you’ll see an affiliate register a domain that’s a subtle variation on the brands actual website and use it as a platform to drive traffic and cream off a little profit. Make sure any affiliates or third parties have to ask your permission in writing to use whatever you don’t want them to use.

 

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