Paid Search

One Thing We Learnt This Week

“That switching off PPC brand terms doesn’t automatically divert traffic to organic”

I’m often asked the question by our clients “is my PPC brand campaign cannibalising my organic performance?” If I could give a straightforward answer to this, then I’d probably be working for Google’s Algorithm Team quietly going crazy having to adhere to secrets I’d be sworn to keep.

The short answer is we can’t really say whether this is the case or not, it depends on the client’s business objectives, market position and ultimately, their own personal opinion on the matter.

If we believe the stats, around 90% of online journeys begin with a search engine and almost ¾ of users do not scroll past the first SERP.

So clients need to ask themselves, how much of the first page real estate is important? How much space are they prepared to potentially give away?

For clients to make this decision, they need to understand their brand awareness and competition. Can they own the space naturally without using PPC? Facebook, Amazon and Argos (3 of the most visited sites in the UK) aren’t currently bidding on their brand term, which suggests they’re comfortable with the level of organic traffic they are receiving from search engines.

What’s interesting is that Uber, a company that you’d argue has a monopoly in the UK market at the minute, are bidding on their own brand term. As they are experiencing an aggressive period of growth it would appear that driving traffic to the site is their main priority regardless of the channel.

So what do clients need to consider when they look to switch their PPC brand campaigns on or off?

Switching a PPC Campaign on

  • Are we prepared to see organic traffic potentially decrease over time?
  • Do we have the additional budget to pay for traffic which comes through PPC?
  • Do we need a separate strategy for different devices i.e. mobile?
  • Can we measure attribution effectively and understand the relationship between PPC & SEO and how they can work together?

Switching a PPC Campaign Off

  • Accepting that you are “giving up” a space within the SERP that you could easily own (we all know that SEO is not easy to crack). 
  • Are we prepared for competitors theoretically appearing above us in the SERP?
  • With Google’s continuous developments in favour of paid placement over organic, are we comfortable with our natural listings appearing further down the page?
  • Understanding that we won’t be able to communicate key messages as quickly and effectively as we can with PPC.   


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