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Why Brand PPC is a Good Bet

Some marketers use a solid SEO strategy to justify not bidding on their brands for paid search ads. Are these affordable and flexible ads really a waste of money?

As a PPC Manager I have heard many times: "why should I spend money on ads when searchers can click on my organic link for free?” or “but it won’t generate any new customers since they were already looking for my brand.” In fairness, it does sound logical.

However, in my humble opinion, this is an oversight of the value that branded PPC ads can provide.

And here is why;

Low risk, high reward.

Spend on these types of ads is minimal and the return is always positive. Branded clicks tend to be the cheapest clicks you’ll get since the CTR and Quality Score will be extremely high due to the fact that people are already searching for your company.

Own More.

Bidding on your brand terms ensures you’re ranking on the top of the page. It also helps you own more of the search results page and pushes any competitors further down the page, sometimes shutting them out completely. So why not to double your visibility to searchers by showing up twice on one SERP.

Also, organic listings limit your flexibility to express yourself in the SERPs. After all, there is only so much you can do with meta tags. Brand paid ads give you a lot more control, allowing you to create specific messaging to grab searchers attention and encourage click-throughs.

Search Term Mining.

If you work with Google Analytics you know the “not provided” very well which has seriously limited marketers from knowing which organic search queries lead searchers to the website.

Fortunately, these search terms are still available for AdWords advertisers. Running ads for branded terms is a good way to do search term mining to see what other modifiers searchers are including when they’re looking for your site (i.e.: top products, locations, etc.). Using this info, you can tailor ads to best serve what the customer are looking for.

Your Competition.

Failure to secure a paid ad on your brand name could lead to a situation where your plain old organic listing is preceded by a competitor’s eye-catching ad.You wouldn’t like that,would you?

Sadly it is becoming common to bid on your competitors’ brand terms to hijack their traffic (and unfortunately it is not possible to trademark keywords). So do bid on your brand name and be at the top of the pile, where you belong!

Higher Total Click Yield.

Paid ads do increase the total amount of clicks. In 2011, Google released a Search Ads Pause research study which showed that on average, 50% of the ad clicks that occurred with a top rank organic result are incremental, i.e, they would not be recovered organically if the ad campaign is paused.

The number is even higher if the organic result isn’t ranking at the top of the search results. Google has shown below the affect stopping PPC can have on organic traffic. 

paid search

Now, imagine half of your brand ad clicks and conversions going to someone else. This point is usually enough for me to decide to continue with brand search.


As a marketer you probably already pay to have your brand visible to customers: in newspaper ads, via TV or radio commercials or by putting print ads in magazines. Have you ever figured out what the cost per conversion is for that media?

The return on investment from the paid branded keywords is exceptionally high. I'm positive that you are unlikely to find a less expensive cost per acquisition (CPA) anywhere else, unless it’s word of mouth. So if you care about profit, why wouldn’t you pay for the most profitable conversion you could?

That’s my story! I accept that some marketers don’t want to cannibalize organic (free) clicks and they want to focus PPC spend on more competitive, generic keywords. I’ll however stand by bidding on brand terms as a solid strategy. Because if I asked you to invest a euro and told you you’d get 100 back, would you do it?

What are your thoughts about bidding on brand terms? Tweet us.