What should you consider when deciding whether to bid on brand terms or not? Most of my clients have asked whether they should be brand bidding or not at some stage in their PPC lives, and we always do extensive data research before making a decision and we always take it down to a keyword level as often the results are surprising. The 2 key things we consider when analysing are:
1. Competition: Are there other people bidding on your brand name? Then you have to brand bid, otherwise you may lose sales, clicks and lose valuable SERPs real estate.
2. Natural Listing Placement: Where are you on the SERPs for your brand term? In theory you should be at the top for your brand name unless you have a generic name, a domain that doesn’t match your brand name or you are a new website. If you aren’t top then you need to be bidding on brand otherwise again, you’ll be missing out on potential sales.
From the work I’ve done for various companies analysing sales with brand bidding compared to sales with brand bidding turned off, it showed that you do lose sales if you don’t brand bid. But this does include factors that are hard to measure, such as rises in sales and clicks when a catalogue mails, seasonal fluctuations, sales etc.
From my experience I definitely would say for the most it’s beneficial to brand bid. Here’s some reasons why:
Affiliates: Whilst most people that opt into affiliate PPC programs will state that affiliates cannot bid on brand terms, affiliates sometimes like to cheat! It’s true, we’ve seen it a lot, if you don’t keep an eye on who is bidding against your brand terms and check the link url of the PPC ads that are showing, then affiliates using their tracking codes can be earning big amounts of commission off you. If you are bidding on your brand terms this would stop this.
Security: If you slip down organic rankings, your paid ranking will maintain your presence and could save you losing a lot of money and embarrassment. Also, If you took a look at the SERPs for your brand term, saw you were no.1 in organic, no competitors were bidding and thus decided to not brand bid, there is nothing (apart from trademarked terms) to stop a competitor jumping in and bidding on your name at any time.
Cheap: CPC’s on branded keywords are generally very small, is it worth this small cost to ensure your customers get to your site?
Most importantly if you do go ahead and start testing brand bidding, use google analytics to anaylse at a keyword level, take a good look at the results and work out what the best action to take is as each company will act differently. Another quick point is to make sure that if you do bid on brand terms and you are using an agency, make SURE the agency have split out the reports they give you into brand terms and non brand terms. Branded terms convert much better and have a much lower cpc, if brand and non brand results are thrown together, you will not see a true picture of how your campaigns are performing as the results will be highly skewed into a much more positive light.