Low-Hanging Fruit: The Power of Branded PPC Bidding Strategies

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (e.g., Google Ads) is a powerful marketing tool businesses can utilize to reach their target audience and generate leads. One of the key components of any PPC campaign is the use of branded terms, which refer to keywords that include the name of your company, product, or services. Bidding on branded terms can boost your account’s performance and help you dominate the search engine results page. However, there is an age-old debate about whether or not businesses should bid on brand terms in PPC advertising, with some believing that organic search will compensate for not bidding on brand terms. In this context, it’s worth exploring the importance of bidding on branded terms and understanding how this strategy can be used to achieve your unique PPC goals.

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Understanding the Importance of Bidding on Branded Terms

Understanding the importance of bidding on branded terms is crucial for businesses that want to leverage pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to boost their ROI and website traffic. By bidding on branded terms, businesses can increase click-through rates (CTR) and dominate the search engine results page (SERPs). This is a particularly beneficial strategy when potential customers are already familiar with your brand because customers will be looking for your brand name at the top of their search results. 

Bidding on your company’s brand, not only helps with your position on SERPs, but it also affords you the ability to have more control over your brand messaging. Many savvy competitors may choose to pay for your brand term in their own PPC campaigns as a way to offer themselves as another option in the buying process. Other companies may also use your brand terms for a different kind of business, which can lead to some confusion for your potential customers. You want to be a present option at the top of SERPs to, so you can continue to maintain control of your brand. 

Although it’s not always necessary to bid on branded terms, testing this strategy can help businesses determine if it works for their unique PPC account. However, if businesses choose not to bid on their branded terms, they risk competitors diverting traffic to their landing pages and potentially losing conversions. In the end, businesses should structure their branded PPC campaigns (e.g., in Google Ads or Bing Ads) in tiers based on volume and budget priority and evaluate the net impact of their branded bidding strategy on their business to ensure alignment with goals. Generally, we recommend that businesses spend 5-15% of their total budget on branded PPC campaigns.

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Boosting PPC performance and click-through rates

Bidding on branded terms can positively impact your PPC account’s performance, increase click-through rates, and provide control over messaging by directing searchers to ideal landing pages. Branded terms are usually inexpensive (because they have high search volume and low competition), have high click-through rates (the intent of the user is high – in other words they know what they’re looking for), and contribute to better Quality Scores (the higher the Quality Score of your account, the less expensive your cost per conversion [CPC] is, in other words this is Google and Bing’s way of saying that your account meets your clients’ needs).

The debate over bidding on branded terms

The practice of bidding on branded terms has been debated for years. While a 2013 eBay study argued against brand bidding, the industry has evolved since then, and branded campaigns have become an accepted practice in PPC. 

Critically, the ad strategies that eBay used were suboptimal, specifically they were using Dynamic Keyword Insertion, when a user’s search terms are autofilled, (DKI) incorrectly. Which resulted in irrelevant ads (and thus exposing ebay to a lower Quality Score). 

Bidding on branded terms can be very beneficial, but that doesn’t mean that you want to bid on your branded terms without a guided plan. Similar to other highly effective marketing strategies, ad content, review, and optimization is absolutely essential, without expert maintenance your brand ads will suffer and you will pay more, uneccesarily.

Strategic Approaches to Branded Campaigns

There are various approaches to designing and implementing branded campaigns, and businesses must understand the best ways to structure and prioritize their branded terms. This involves tiering branded campaigns by volume and budget, aiming for a sweet spot in the top position, and using different bidding automation methods to find the best fit.

Structuring branded campaigns in tiers

Organize your branded PPC campaigns based on volume and budget priority. Try to create 4-5 sets of branded terms. This helps manage the budget more efficiently and prioritizes high-performing terms. There are a number of ways to structure your tiers. It is important to find what works best for your business. Here is an example of a tier system one company may choose to utilize:

Tier 1: Core Branded Campaign

By using a Core Branded Campaign, we focus on creating a powerful and effective marketing strategy that specifically revolves around your exact brand name. In other words, the campaign bids on your company name. This campaign aims to capture the attention of users who are actively searching for your brand, ensuring maximum visibility and engagement.

By utilizing your brand name as keywords, we can directly target individuals who are specifically looking for your products or services. This approach allows us to establish a strong connection with your existing customer base while also attracting potential new customers who are already familiar with your brand.

Critically, it is important to prioritize this campaign from a financial and strategic perspective, in most cases. By investing in this campaign, you can secure prominent ad placements, outrank competitors, and dominate the search results for your brand-related keywords.

The Core Branded Campaign serves as the foundation of your overall marketing efforts. It reinforces brand recognition, strengthens brand loyalty, and creates a seamless user experience for those searching specifically for your brand. This campaign allows you to directly communicate your brand’s unique value proposition, ensuring that your messaging resonates with your target audience.

Importantly, this type of campaign allows you to control the messaging. This is ever-so important in the world of competing advertising. If your company doesn’t have a core branded campaign, you are at risk of your competitor manipulating your messaging.

It is important to ensure a seamless experience by creating compelling ad copies, persuasive call-to-actions, and engaging landing pages. This ensures that the Core Branded Campaign will deliver a consistent and memorable brand experience, which can further enhance customer trust and loyalty, resulting in increased conversions and long-term business growth.

Tier 2: Competitor Branded Campaign

The Competitor Branded Campaign is a strategic marketing initiative that allows you to target keywords related to your competitors’ brand names. By doing so, you can capture the attention of users who may be actively searching for your competitors but are open to exploring alternative, and hopefully better, options.

This campaign captures the search intent of your competitors’ clients and their leads. Leveraging a Competitor Branded Campaign presents a unique opportunity to position your brand as a viable, and potentially superior, alternative. It showcases the distinctive value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors. In other words, when users are actively seeking solutions or alternatives, you can be right there, offering your brand as the superior choice.

In addition to attracting new customers who are considering alternatives to your competitors, the Competitor Branded Campaign also serves as a defensive strategy. It helps protect your market share by intercepting potential customers who would have otherwise chosen your competitors. By actively targeting their brand keywords, you can ensure that your brand remains visible and top-of-mind, ultimately diverting potential conversions in your favor.

It’s critical that you do your homework. The Competitor Branded Campaign enables you to leverage the existing brand awareness and consideration associated with your competitors. Review your competitors’ ads, and ask yourself questions. How are their ads better? How are they worse? How can you use their ad information to create better ad copy and better landing pages? The more you research your competitors’ offerings, the better you will be at closing their leads and clients. By positioning your brand alongside theirs, you have the opportunity to showcase why your products or services may be a better fit for the users’ needs, ultimately influencing their decision-making process.

While competing on your competitors’ brand terms is a common and accepted practice, be aware that your competitors may (and probably will) notice. If you have a collegial relationship with your competitor(s), consider open dialogue about your marketing strategies, or decide whether it may not be worth competing on their branded terms. The balance between aggressive marketing and maintaining good industry relationships is key.

To execute a successful Competitor Branded Campaign, meticulous keyword research, ad optimization, and ongoing monitoring are crucial. Stay vigilant and proactive in the competitive landscape by making data-driven adjustments and continuously optimizing your campaign’s performance. This isn’t just about maintaining your position, but about actively expanding your market share and maximizing your return on investment.

Tier 3: Product or Service Branded Campaigns

Product or Service Branded Campaigns are an effective marketing approach that involves developing individual campaigns for specific products or services within your brand. By creating dedicated campaigns for each offering, you can tailor your messaging and targeting to provide a highly relevant and personalized experience for users.

Product or Service Branded Campaigns allow for targeted ads that directly address users’ needs and interests. You’re not just broadly promoting your brand; you’re showcasing the unique features, benefits, and value propositions of each offering. This granular focus heightens the potential for conversion.

By customizing ad copies, and importantly, landing pages for each product or service, you create a user experience that is both compelling and persuasive. Each campaign’s tailored messaging and visuals align with the unique characteristics of the offering, highlighting specific benefits and advantages. We cannot overemphasize the need for the landing pages to be seamless in their messaging with the paid search ads.

These campaigns present a valuable opportunity to drive conversions and enhance brand perception. They underscore your expertise within specific product or service categories. Consistently delivering targeted and relevant messaging can position you as an expert, making your brand the go-to for users seeking specific solutions.

The key to the success of these campaigns is continual monitoring and optimization. Analyze the performance of each product or service branded campaign closely, asking questions like “Is one performing better than another?” or “Are there seasonal adjustments?” etc. Make data-driven adjustments to ensure your ads remain relevant, engaging, and effective in driving conversions. Stay proactive, track your metrics, and adjust your strategy as necessary to maximize your long-term returns on investment.

By structuring your branded PPC campaigns into tiers, you can allocate budgets and prioritize your efforts based on the potential impact of each campaign. The key here is to continuously review the performance of these campaigns. Importantly, make sure you are reviewing data from both your advertising platform, such as Google Ads, and your analytics platform, like Google Analytics. Take into account various metrics, including conversions, sales, revenue, ROAS, CPA, and overall cost.

Achieving The Sweet Spot In SERPs

When it comes to branded PPC campaigns, it’s important to remember that achieving the top position for every keyword may not always be necessary or cost-effective. While being in the absolute top position can generate high visibility and click-through rates, the returns begin to diminish once you reach around 90-95% of the top position. Therefore, striking the right balance becomes crucial.

Instead of solely focusing on securing the top position, consider optimizing your bids to find the sweet spot where you can maximize the return on your investment. This requires a careful evaluation of your campaign performance, click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per click. By analyzing these metrics, you can identify the optimal bid position that provides the best return for your budget.

Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the success of your tiered branded PPC campaigns. Continuously monitor and analyze the performance of each tier, making adjustments as needed. Keep an eye on keyword performance, click-through rates, conversions, and other relevant metrics. This data will help you identify areas for improvement and optimize your campaigns to achieve better results.

Additionally, don’t forget to align your branded PPC campaigns with your overall marketing strategy. Ensure that the messaging and visuals used in your ads align with your brand identity and messaging across other channels. Consistency in branding helps reinforce brand recognition and builds trust with your audience.

Testing and Automation in Branded Campaigns

When deciding how much to spend on your PPC campaigns, consider testing different ad formats and messaging strategies within each tier you identified earlier in your marketing plan. Experiment with ad copy variations, extensions, and landing page experiences to find the most compelling combination that resonates with your target audience. A/B testing can provide valuable insights and help you refine your campaigns for better performance.

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Exploring automated bidding options

Test various bidding automation methods to find the best fit for your brand. Automated bidding can be useful, but testing is necessary to align with your specific goals.

In PPC marketing, automated bidding can be transformative. It employs machine learning algorithms to adjust your bids in real-time, streamlining the process to achieve your desired goals. It manages bids automatically based on factors such as historical data, user behavior, and conversion probabilities, saving you valuable time and effort.

It’s important to test various bidding automation methods to find the most suitable one for your brand. Strategies can include target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), enhanced cost-per-click (eCPC), or maximize conversions, each with its own strengths and suitability to your specific marketing goals.

Testing allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of different automated bidding strategies and understand their impact on your key performance indicators (KPIs). Monitor metrics such as conversion rates, cost per acquisition, return on ad spend, and overall campaign performance during the testing phase. This data will guide you toward the most appropriate automated bidding method that aligns with your specific goals and delivers the best results.

Note that automated bidding isn’t a ‘set and forget’ solution. It requires regular monitoring and optimization to ensure alignment with your evolving campaign objectives. Continuously assess your strategy’s performance and adjust as needed for efficiency and maximized results.

Remember, testing is vital. Each brand, campaign, and industry is unique—what works for one may not work for another. By exploring automated bidding options and conducting rigorous tests, you can identify the most effective strategy, helping you achieve your PPC marketing goals.

Incrementality testing and Enhanced CPC (eCPC)

Beyond automated bidding, your PPC marketing strategy should consider incrementality testing and Enhanced CPC (eCPC).

eCPC can be a valuable automated bidding strategy, but it’s not universally beneficial for every campaign. To evaluate its effectiveness, it’s crucial to test eCPC against your specific goals. By comparing its performance with other strategies, you can determine its alignment with your campaign objectives.

Incrementality testing is another essential aspect of PPC marketing. It involves measuring the additional value that bidding on brand terms brings to your campaigns. While bidding on brand terms often yields positive effects, turning off branded PPC terms doesn’t necessarily eliminate all traffic and conversions. This testing lets you assess the incremental lift in traffic, conversions, and overall campaign performance, informing your bidding strategies and budget allocation.

Remember, incrementality varies across campaigns and industries, so careful analysis and interpretation of results are required to refine your bidding strategies effectively.

In summary, exploring automated bidding options, including eCPC, is crucial in PPC marketing, but these must be tested for their relevance to your campaigns. Equally important is incrementality testing, which helps you understand the additional value of bidding on brand terms. By conducting careful testing and analysis, you can optimize your bidding strategies for the best possible results in your PPC campaigns.

Best Practices and Collaboration in Branded Campaigns

Implementing best practices and fostering collaboration in Branded Campaigns are essential for optimizing your marketing efforts. By leveraging industry strategies like using relevant keywords, crafting compelling ad copies, and refining landing pages, you can boost your campaigns’ visibility and engagement. Working closely with key stakeholders, such as your marketing team, creative designers, salespeople, and copywriters, guarantees unified messaging and consistent branding across all touchpoints. Collective insight and shared expertise help create resonant branded campaigns that drive impactful results for your brand.

Updating ads and working with partners

Beyond embracing best practices and collaboration, certain factors should be taken into account during ad updates and partner work in branded campaigns. While promotions are useful marketing tools, frequent ad updates can disrupt ad history and consumer intent. Instead, leverage promotion extensions or sitelinks to spotlight offers without changing the core ad, thus preserving ad history and user experience consistency. Additionally, partnering with selected affiliates and resellers offers a strategic advantage. By permitting them to bid on branded terms under proper restrictions, you can guard against competitors and present consumers with diverse, intent-aligned options, enhancing campaign performance.

Evaluating success and ROI

Evaluating the success and return on investment (ROI) of your branded campaigns necessitates a broad view of their business impact. Success isn’t just immediate metrics but also the halo effect branded campaigns produce, including increased brand visibility, improved brand perception, and potential long-term customer loyalty. Regular monitoring and analysis of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as click-through rates, conversion rates, cost per acquisition, and overall revenue are vital. These insights should drive your data-based campaign adjustments to optimize performance and maximize ROI, thus ensuring your branded campaigns align with and contribute positively to your overall business objectives.

Reasons to Bid on Branded Terms

There are compelling reasons to bid on branded terms in your PPC campaigns. First and foremost, it helps protect your brand by securing top positions in search engine results, ensuring your brand is prominently displayed when users search for it. Bidding on branded terms also allows you to maintain control over the messaging and user experience, ensuring accurate representation of your brand. Additionally, bidding on branded terms often results in higher click-through rates, as users tend to have a stronger intent when searching for specific brands. It provides an opportunity to capture valuable traffic that is actively seeking your products or services. Furthermore, bidding on branded terms can help fend off competition by preventing rivals from occupying valuable ad space and diverting potential customers. Overall, bidding on branded terms is a strategic move that reinforces brand visibility, drives relevant traffic, and strengthens your overall PPC performance.

Compensating for poor organic search results

Bidding on branded terms serves various purposes beyond compensating for weak organic search results. It mitigates the impact of negative content by giving you control over your brand’s messaging and positioning, and preserves critical conversion path links. Your brand’s visibility in paid search results ensures multiple engagement touchpoints for users during their decision-making process. Moreover, it’s an effective way to support low-search products or services struggling with organic visibility, driving targeted traffic and increasing exposure. Given that organic results can’t entirely replace the impact of branded ads, including branded terms in your PPC strategy becomes a worthwhile investment, maximizing your brand’s visibility and conversion potential.

Conclusion: Navigating the World of Branded Bidding in PPC

In conclusion, bidding on branded terms in PPC can significantly enhance your campaigns, offering numerous benefits such as increased click-through rates, improved account health, and effective competition with affiliates, partners, and competitors. Adopting strategic approaches, testing automation options, and following best practices can optimize your branded campaigns to maximize ROI and align with your business goals. Remember, the decision to bid on branded terms should be based on your unique account and objectives. Therefore, continually evaluating the net impact on your business is crucial for long-term success.

If you’re seeking expert guidance to navigate the complexities of branded bidding, consider partnering with Ad Science Lab, a data-driven marketing firm dedicated to optimizing online advertising strategies. Our team of experienced professionals will work closely with you to develop tailored solutions that drive results. Contact Ad Science Lab today and take the first step towards transforming your advertising strategies.

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