Last week Bing released data on brand term bidding for the retail and travel industries, following on from their study on the topic last year. Here, unsurprisingly Bing found that there is incremental benefit to owning both the organic and top ad listings, and that when brands did bid on brand terms they received overall more clicks and kept clicks from going to competitor listings.
The main argument against bidding on brand terms is that your organic listing should be picking up on this traffic. Following this logic, it is only worth bidding on brand terms when competitors are bidding, and in fact this can be an effective strategy, albeit with several key deficiencies.
We need to look beyond competitor bidding and go back to marketing basics – why do you want people to see your ad? Why do you advertise? Regardless of whether an ad is clicked on, we want people to see our ads and to engage with our brand, to increase presence and awareness. Just as remarketing reiterates your brand to your consumer, when your ad appears in branded search results, you are enabling your brand to be as visible as possible and to gain maximum impression share.
So while this somewhat tired debate continues, let me address one further issue with the topic – that there is no clear conclusion or consensus. How do I explain in simple marketing terms, and to the not-so-search-savvy, the benefits of bidding on brand terms? My approach is to break it down into 4 simple yet pertinent points.
- Claim the space – search marketing can be all about claiming real estate. This is your brand, own the space around your search terms, the more space you can claim on the page when someone searches for it the more visible you are. Even if people are not clicking on your ad, therefore no cost, this helps perception and awareness, helping to shape a stronger brand presence in market, with the potential of a kick on effect for your rankings later on.
- Control messaging – and quickly. You can change and test various adcopy, ensuring that the message that you want to show to your prospects, who are already interested in your brand, is optimized to ultimately convert higher when they reach a point of conversion. It is easier to sell to someone who already knows your brand – you may even want to push specific offerings at a specific time.
- Competitor bidding – even if your competitors are not currently bidding on your brand terms, this can quickly change. By bidding on your terms you are ensuring that you are not giving competitors the opportunity to capture your brand traffic. Here, there is also the option to have a brand campaign ready to go on pause, to set live when you do notice competitor bidding, this is however a more risky strategy as you will have to monitor your terms closely.
- Cost – brand terms are generally much more cost efficient than generic terms, so not only do you get all of the above perks, but it should be relatively in-expensive, depending on your brand search volume.
Not convinced? For more on this much debated topic, I recommend checking out these pieces: