Should You Spend Money on Branded Search Ads?
From mom-and-pops to global brands, we've all felt frustrated at times with paying money to Google, Microsoft, Amazon or any number of other paid search platforms for your own brand name.
The biggest question that everyone has is, "Why should we pay to show ads on our own branded terms? Shouldn't we be investing in ads that help us compete for all the other non-branded terms people search for?" Fair questions. After all, if someone is searching for the name of your brand or product in Google already, don't they already have intent to buy from you? Why should you "throw away" money (as some have said) to show ads for your brand terms when your website already ranks as the first organic result on the page?
It's true that non-branded search ads can drive a lot of clicks and conversions, but if you're not allocating any of your budget to branded search, you're probably making a mistake.
Here are four reasons why you should be spending money on branded search ads:
1. You have greater control over messaging
Branded search ads give you much more control over the message you're presenting and where you're directing people to when they find you on Google.
To a certain point, with organic listings, you're stuck with whatever title, description and site links the "Google gods" want to display.
With branded search ads, you can test provocative, conversion-driven and timely messaging that you might not want to put on your website yet. You can also decide where you want people who click on your ad to go. Instead of sending them to your homepage or products page, you could send them to a landing page that aligns with the copy you're using in your ad. Or, you can prompt users to fill out a lead form and collect valuable information about them before ever reaching your landing page.
2. It's easier to keep competition at bay
Without branded search ads, you risk losing your customers to another brand who's more than happy to spend money on search ads that reference your brand name or the names of the products you sell.
Markets are saturated. People are hungry for success. There are resources and tools and processes out there that make it easier than ever for competitors to pop up quickly. And even if every single brand agreed to "play nice," they still might unintentionally show up for your branded terms because of things like Dynamic Search Ads. For all these reasons, you have to be willing to go on the defense and do whatever you can to hold your competition back.
Branded search ads allow you to compete and ensure that when people are searching for your brand and product terms, they aren't getting distracted by someone else's message — a message you have no control over. Thankfully, Google recognizes that you're likely more relevant for your branded terms than your competitor, so it should cost you a lot less to bid on them than for your competitor.
If this seems to be a real problem for your business, you can take one other step to stop competitors from poaching your customers with branded search ads: You can file your trademark(s) with Google Ads. Going through this process won't stop your competitors from bidding on your brand name, but it will stop them from using your brand name in the ad copy.
3. You get improved visibility and coverage
Running branded search ads can teach you a lot about your customers and prospective customers.
"The greatest value provided by running brand paid search campaigns is the data that gets acquired from doing so," says Brett Bodofsky, Senior Paid Search Specialist at Elumynt. "Running branded-search campaigns can provide you with greater visibility into your users' questions, behavior and interests via the search terms report and observation audiences."
You also can ensure more coverage on the search results people see when they type your brand or product names into Google.
If you've done a good job with SEO, your website should be the first result that shows up when someone searches for your brand. If you've done a great job with SEO, the first page of results should be flooded with links to your website or social media profiles. But that's an unlikely reality for many brands.
Branded search ads allow you to extend this coverage by taking up more white space at the very top and very bottom of search results pages. What this does is ensure that users have to do a lot more scrolling to find a competitor's organic or paid result.
And while each brand's results might vary, a large study by Google demonstrated that "even when advertisers show up in the number one organic search result position, 50 percent of clicks they get on ads are not replaced by clicks on organic search results when the ads don't appear." That's not something you should quickly dismiss.
4. It's better for seasonality and specials
Branded search ads are great ways to promote seasonal specials, and limited-time offers that you're running for your ecommerce business.
"While you may already be showing up as the first result in the SERPS, what happens if you are running a flash sale?" asks Bodofsky. "Are you going to change your meta title, description and page content in hopes that your organic result changes? Probably not. A quick and easy way to promote this sale would be through a branded search ad where you can quickly make changes to your messaging, add a countdown and lead users to the landing page of your choosing."
It's a smart way to grab the attention of users already searching for your brand and drive action through urgency.
Without branded search ads, your search strategy is incomplete. You miss out on the ability to learn more about your customers, you can't play defense very well against your competitors, and you have less control over the message you want to present to people and the actions you want them to take.
If you aren't already, start investing in branded search ads to build a stronger overall search strategy for your business.