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Bid on your Own Company Brand Name?

     
10:06 am on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Quite a few companies we have worked with, I have noticed that they bid PPC space on their own company brand name, i.e.

Search for: SuperWidgetSupplies

Result 1: SuperWidgetSupplies.com (natural)

Then also the top 1 and/or 2 positions are ppc ads ran by the company also directly to their site even though they already have spot 1 on natural search for free, and the person searched directly for their company name so you woulnd't expect them to click elsewhere...?

A wise cost do you think, paying for clicks on your brand when natural search would be expected to capture the clicks? I'm really not sure if it's worth it, sure, you're limiting competition, but its on your brand word, so why would people be interested in competitiors and is it worth paying for uneccessary clicks?

- Adam

11:03 am on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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They will appear on some AdSense advertisers who mention their brand in articles.
11:58 am on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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i think it is a good idea to bid on your own company name.
Not only are you nearly guarantee the visitor from the search, but it really re-inforces the company brand as well.

we do it for all the sites we've got. and as the search was for "your name" the CTR is above average, so doesn't cost a lot.

12:22 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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as the search was for "your name" the CTR is above average, so doesn't cost a lot.

Hmmm.. good point I never thought that might be the case, it just kinda seemed a waste of money as people already searched for the brand.

3:56 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

In one case I found it to be a waste of money, and stopped doing it.

YMMV.

Rgds

Damon

4:03 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Some of our best converting PPC traffic is for our brand name. Cost is almost negligable so I say go for it.
4:07 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There's also the fact that appearing in both the free listings and an Adwords spot makes one less place where a competitor can appear.
4:24 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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buckworks, that is the best answer I have heard yet!
6:02 pm on Nov 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

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In a couple of industries in which I work, everyone takes out their own name plus all their competitors - so we all show up for all the same words anyway.
1:46 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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We advertise on our company brand name. We get at least as many hits from the ad as we do the organic (#1) listing.

Amazon.com also bids on our brand, and while I'm happy to sell goods through our store there, I hate to pay the 15% commission when I can pay 15 cents for the click instead.

11:36 am on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well yes, getting as many hits as natural is fair enough, but surely the chances are they would simply click on the natural link if the ppc link wasn't there as they have searched on your brand term - and you're paying for that ppc click.

And obviously it will be your best converting advertising, they are searching on your brand so why wouldn't they be interested and convert!

Taking a place off a competitor is another fair issue, but these guys have searched on your company, why would they click a competitor?

Just fueling the fire.

For some of our companies in particular it would be very expensive to run ppc ads on their brand name due to the sheer volume of traffic they would receive.

Still not sure! Part of me thinks it would be a total misallocation of resources :/

3:33 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Taking a place off a competitor is another fair issue, but these guys have searched on your company, why would they click a competitor?

Happens ALL the time from what I can see in my accounts.

3:36 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have some affiliates bidding on our domain name in order to cash in on our existing returning customers. Maybe that's what you are seeing.
3:52 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well yes, getting as many hits as natural is fair enough, but surely the chances are they would simply click on the natural link if the ppc link wasn't there as they have searched on your brand term - and you're paying for that ppc click.

Why would you think that?

The top three PPC links for our brand name are:

Brand X (ours)
Brand X at Amazon (Amazon's)
Brand X (Shopzilla)

All three answer the searcher's query - why should we give Amazon or Shopzilla an extra shot at the sale? Both cost us more than our own bid price and both offer many brands similar to our own which might catch the customers interest.

The cost per conversion on our brand name is around 1% of the sale price. It just takes one lost sale per gazillion years to make not bidding our own brand name into 1st place a bad deal.

Furthermore, some of our best converting keywords are from people searching for competitor brands. They come to our site, like what they see, and decide to buy. If we get customers on other brands, its logical to assume that other brands might get some customers who start out looking for our goods. Why make it easier?

3:56 pm on Nov 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I have some affiliates bidding on our domain name in order to cash in on our existing returning customers. Maybe that's what you are seeing.

Why would you let affiliates bid on your domain name?

5:14 am on Nov 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If the affiliate payout is less than the 15% Amazon charges, it might make sense to let affiliates bid on the brand. Affiliate pages can also help to present different views of the products and highlight things people might miss by entering on the homepage.
1:48 pm on Nov 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sorry for not explaining, in our case we have no affiliates taking places, just competitors of different brands, so we are the only people selling our product, if you like.

Make more sense? With no affiliates it doesn't sound like money well spent? I can understand the need to do it if you have affiliates offering your identical product however.

2:06 pm on Nov 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Why would you let affiliates bid on your domain name?

I decided not to limit PPC strategies of the affiliates in any way as a semi-PR action.

2:19 am on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've thought about this topic a lot over the past year, and I've ended up in favor of placing ads on my branded keywords. Here are three reasons why it makes sense to me:

1. Don't rely only on natural listings exclusively.
- This ignores the fact that ~30% of clicks take place on ads. Often, your "top" natural listings end up below two or three ads shown at the top of the search page.
- You have more control over copy content, placement, landing page, and optimization of ads than natural listings. Improved conversion rates alone can often pay for ad costs. Search on "Dell", you'll get my point.

2. Don’t outsource your branded keyword advertising to Affiliates and Resellers
Affiliates:
- You have more direct control over content and positioning by running ads directly.
- You have a better sense of the economics on your keywords, helping to coordinate and optimize affiliate commissions.
- Almost always a better ROI by running your own ads.
- Use affiliates to help “own the space”, driving out competitors.
Resellers:
- The true value of resellers is the new markets they tap into, driving more customers to your brand. Running PPC ads directly allows you to divert existing traffic from resellers, preserving price integrity and margin.
- A sale right to your store also allows you to more directly capture the name for future marketing opportunities.

3. Defensive strategy against competitors.
- Searchers who type in a branded name might be perfectly happy with a different brand. Or they might be somewhat committed to one brand, but willing to switch, given the right offers. Which are two reasons why competitors bid on one anothers' keywords, hoping to steal away customers and clients.
- Look at it this way - competitors wouldn't be on your keywords if they weren't diverting traffic and generating sales!

8:13 pm on Nov 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

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And one more reason - if you want your brand to appear on the content network.
11:53 am on Nov 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Wow, monster post Houndstooth, think you've nailed it for me there, some excellent points! :)
5:05 am on Nov 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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There are a couple of reasons why bidding on your own brand name make sense, even with a top listing (above the fold 1-4).

1. Check Google's distribution partners and see how the SERPs are laid out. Many of these put natural below the fold, so even with a top ranking a portion of clicks is going to the paid listing (typically 15-30% depending on the engine). Same is true on Google.com too. Having your brand name prominently placed ensures that you don't lose that percentage to a competitor, reseller that will use it to sell other products, etc.

2. Typically, if you are the "Official Site" and police your listings, you can work Google to ensure that they don't allow others to include your brand name in their titles. This is their offical policy, albeit selectively enforced. Get on them and they will start to enforce it. What this means is that you will be able to use the brand name ini the title, get the best click-through and generally get the term for a low CPC. In other words, it won't cost you much over the long haul if you do it right.

3. Your SERP, even if highly ranked and optimized, is limited to the user's query/page content and META description (yes, these do matter on Google if they happen to trigger a word from the user query, this will often make up some or all of your SERP description). With an AdWords placement, you control copy and you can change it and the destination URL, meaning you can use it to promote short term specials, conduct testing, enforce brand messaging, etc. Think about a # 1 AdWords placement on Google for a major brand name. This gets lots of searches typically. What is that worth from an advertising perspective? What would you pay for that in the offline world?

4. I have tested this using an approach of lengthy on/off days with top 4 natural rankings, comparing sales via keyword referals in natural only and natural+paid. Typically, ROI is well worth it, returing on average 10-15:1 in incremental return. Pretty good in anyone's book.

I hear lots of people claim that if you have a natural top 1-5 ranking, you don't need to pay for it. If you are a major brand, however, you probably have the budget to carry the cost and the return is well worth it.

If you are a smalller/lesser known brand, do your own test. It is difficult operationally, but if you do it right you can minimize the impact of time as a variable (i.e. don't go one week on, one week off, but rather do it daily and build your weeks mixing the days).

Good luck!