Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: Which One Should You Bid on?

Published: 17 March 2023

Updated: 18 July 2023

Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: Which One Should You Bid on?

When it comes to online marketing, you must ensure that your content reaches the right people most effectively. When you search for a specific company online, you’ll often see the company’s ad above the organic search results. The questions that logically come up are:

  • Do you need to bid on branded keywords?
  • Why should you bid on branded keywords?
  • Do you need to pay if somebody is already searching for you?

The decision should be made after carefully considering all the factors involved and weighing the pros and cons. Let’s break down what bidding on branded keywords entails and why you should start investing in your branded keyword strategy.

Table of Contents:

  1. What are Branded Keywords?
  2. What is Brand Name Bidding?
  3. Why Does Bidding on Branded Keywords Matter?
  4. Case Study: Should You Run a Branded Search Campaign?
  5. So, What Does This Mean for You?
  6. How to Improve Your Branded PPC Campaigns?
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
  8. Final Thoughts
  9. What are Branded Keywords?

    Branded keywords are words or phrases related to your company name, product, or service. These words can be used in search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns to target potential customers specifically looking for your brand. For example, if you own an online clothing store called “Next,” you could bid on terms such as “Next clothes” or “Next apparel.” By bidding on these terms, you increase your visibility within search engine results pages (SERPs).

    Next brand on SERP

    What is Brand Name Bidding?

    Brand name bidding
    is an advertising strategy that is becoming increasingly popular in the world of digital marketing. It involves purchasing keywords related to a company’s brand or product names in search engine auctions, such as Google Ads and then directing consumers to the company’s website when those words are used for searches. This way, when people search for your brand name — or include your brand name in their search query — your ads will appear at the top of the search results:

    Brand name bidding illustration

    This tactic can easily draw attention to a business and help cement its place in prospective customers’ minds. Because users automatically associate certain keywords with particular companies or products, using them guarantees more focused results than those achieved through regular keyword bidding. Advertisers can speak directly to those actively searching for their brands by investing in brand name bidding, so much so that it has become essential for businesses looking to make their presence felt online.

    Why Does Bidding On Branded Keywords Matter?

    Before we enumerate the main advantages of bidding on branded keywords, we’d like to highlight one important thing. Staying in tune with the latest Google trends and tactics is vital for any business using Google Ads to compete in the market. With frequent changes to their algorithms and the introduction of new campaign types like Performance Max, it’s essential to stay on top of these changes or risk losing out to the competition. When it comes to branded keywords, winning this critical space requires a thoughtful bidding strategy – without this, you can easily be left behind. Utilize your knowledge of the latest trends and technologies to advance your campaigns.

    Benefits of Running a Brand Search Campaign

    Running a branded search campaign is one of the most effective ways to promote your business. It can help raise brand awareness, increase website traffic, and generate more leads and conversions. Let’s examine the various benefits of running such a campaign.

    1. Generate more leads & conversions

      A successful branded search campaign will increase the leads and conversions you receive. By optimizing your SERP performance for branded terms, you will maximize the number of people who see your ads or click through to your website. Furthermore, by using relevant keywords that are closely connected with what you offer, you can ensure that those who visit your site are actually interested in what you have to offer. This increases the likelihood of them converting into customers.

    2. Send traffic to a specific landing page

      When somebody is looking for your brand name and sees your organic listing, they’re likely to be sent to your homepage upon clicking. However, a searcher may be looking for your organization because they’re close to the conversion point. And your task is to capture those high-intent searchers. With branded keyword strategy, you can run dedicated promotional campaigns and send traffic to the pages relevant to these promotions.

    3. Improve brand awareness

      A well-executed branded search campaign can also improve brand awareness among potential customers. By targeting relevant keywords and phrases related to your brand name, you can ensure that when someone searches for those terms, they will be presented with content about or from your business. This drives more traffic to your website and helps potential customers become aware of who you are and what services or products you offer.

    4. Increase relevance & visibility

      Another benefit of running a branded search campaign is that it helps improve the relevance and visibility of your website in SERPs. When someone searches for a branded term related to what you offer, they’re likely looking for something specific, meaning they need quick access to accurate information about it. A good branded search campaign will make sure this information is easily found by optimizing it for these queries so that it appears near the top of SERP rankings. This improves both relevance and visibility — two key elements of SEO success.

    5. Expose brand on SEPR

      Bidding on your branded keywords allows your company to dominate the top of the search result page by showing more listings. And owning as much as possible between PPC ads, organic listings, and the knowledge panel sets you apart as an authority. And authority means trust and credibility that ultimately leads to clicks. Look at how Amazon does it:

      Amazon brand exposure on SEPR

      Also, consider how high news and review websites can rank and how competitors might bid on your brand name. By achieving brand SERP domination, you can avoid the risk of having negative reviews, news, or competitor ads shown above your brand listings.

    6. Block competitor bidding

      This is the most crucial reason for running a branded paid search. Nothing stops your competitors from bidding on your branded keywords and showing their ads at the top of the results. This is the main point that people talk about when it comes to bidding on branded keywords.

    7. Blocking competitor bidding

    8. Get more control

      If you bid on your brand, you have more control over the search results. And with organic SERP listings, you can optimize your meta title, description, and meta tags for higher ranking and better click-through rate. But with paid search ads, you have more control over that. Brand name bidding allows you to manage your message to your customers fully. For example, you can:

      • Insert a specific CTA
      • Highlight a current promotion
      • Add unique details

      What’s more, you can change your ad message at any time. And if you want to change the title or description of an organic listing, it’ll take several days. Changing a paid ad, on the contrary, is immediate, and you can use scheduling to specify certain days or hours you want your ads to be shown.

    Case Study: Should You Run a Branded Search Campaign?

    In this section, we’d like to showcase how running a branded search campaign may be pivotal for our brand. A few months ago one of our big clients requested to run a test. The aim was to find out whether the client needed to bid on branded keywords or if they could cover this with SEO efforts.

    As the client was operating in multiple regions, we decided to exclude one region from our branded campaigns on Google Ads to avoid paying for branded traffic, assuming that it goes organic.

    Here’re the results:

    Branded campaign test: Cost comparison

    Branded Campaign Test: Clicks comparison

    Branded campaign test: Impressions comparison

    Branded campaign test: CTR comparison

    The client spent roughly $16k per month on branded keywords. But due to competitor bidding on their brand keywords (both targeted and untargeted), their business name being almost a generic term, and the potential loss in revenue, they determined that SEO couldn’t capture all the lost revenue at that point. And our hypothesis was right.

    So, What Does This Mean for You?

    If you don’t control or buy the space related to your brand, you can bet that someone else will take it over and use it to their advantage. By creating and maintaining a presence in this space, you ensure that customers know who you are and help build loyalty with users by engaging with them directly. Taking steps to remain visible in your relevant arenas is one of the best investments any business can make if they want long-term success. So don’t waste your dollars, act now.

    How to Improve Your Branded PPC Campaigns?

    Setting up a branded search campaign doesn’t lead to immediate success. According to our research, many companies make mistakes by overspending on both branded and general terms. The good news is that you can fix it by following our tips for maximizing your branded PPC campaigns.

    Step 1. Check if you’re not competing against yourself

    If you run both brand and general campaigns, ensure your campaigns aren’t competing against each other. To do this, you need to understand what search terms trigger your general and branded Google Ads campaigns.

    To find search terms, open the Search Terms Report in Google Ads:

    • Open your branded campaign
    • Click the Keywords tab
    • Click Search terms

    Branded campaign in Google Ads

    From this report, you’ll see data for which search terms triggered impressions and clicks.

    Search terms in Google Ads

    Then repeat the process for general campaigns and compare the results to see any overlaps. If you see the same keywords in both campaigns, you damage your results for both campaigns and raise your overall price.

    The only things that should trigger a brand campaign are your company name, services, or your products.

    If general terms trigger your branded campaign, the click-through rate is likely to drop, raising the price of your campaign and lowering the relevancy score.

    Step 2. Use negative keywords to purify your branded campaign

    If you discover that you compete with yourself, use negative keywords to clean up your branded campaigns.

    Negative keywords Google Ads

    When you neaten your branded campaign, you increase the relevance of branded keywords and notify Google that you are the company to serve these branded keywords.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Should I bid on branded keywords?

      Bidding on branded keywords can be a strategic move for businesses looking to increase their online visibility and drive more traffic to their website. One of the biggest advantages of bidding on branded keywords is that these terms tend to have a high click-through rate and a lower cost per click than non-branded keywords. By bidding on terms associated with your brand, you can ensure that your business appears at the top of search engine results pages when potential customers search for your name or products.

    2. Why pay for branded keywords?

      By paying for branded keywords, you can ensure that your website appears at the top of a search page when someone searches for your brand directly, increasing visibility and driving more traffic to your site. Plus, with the right strategy, investing in branded keywords can even positively impact your SEO efforts overall.

    3. How much should I spend on branded keywords?

      Determining how much to spend depends on various factors, such as the competition and the value of the keywords to your business. However, it’s important to remember that branded keywords can significantly impact the success of your digital marketing efforts. While organic search results may show your website as the top result for your brand name, investing in branded keywords can boost your visibility and ultimately drive more traffic and sales. Consider your budget and the potential return on investment to determine how much to spend on branded keywords. Remember that while it may be tempting to go all in and invest heavily in all branded keywords, a more strategic approach may be more effective in the long run.

    4. How to see if competitors are bidding on your brand keywords?

      One way to see if others are bidding on your brand keywords is to use a keyword research tool. This tool will show you the keywords your competitors are targeting and whether they’re bidding on your brand. Additionally, you should take a look at your Google Ads auction insights report, which will provide details about your ad’s performance, the competition for particular keywords, and the ad position of your competitors.

    5. Can I stop competitors from bidding on my brand?

      You can take steps to protect your brand and limit the impact of these ad campaigns. For example, you can research your competitors to see which keywords they’re bidding on and adjust your own campaigns accordingly. You can also consider using negative keywords to ensure your ads don’t appear when someone searches for a competitor’s brand.

    Final Thoughts

    Overall, deciding whether or not you should bid on branded keywords depends largely on how competitive your market is and how much money you’re willing to invest in advertising efforts. Ultimately, businesses need to carefully weigh all of these factors before making a decision about whether or not they should bid on their own branded keywords.

    If you still feel hesitant to bid or not, book a free consultation with our PPC experts, and we’ll help you find the right solution.

    Branded keywords strategy

Get in touch

Got a question? We'd love to hear from you. Send us a message and we'll respond as soon as possible.

    By clicking submit, you agree to our Privacy Policy

    Latest Insights

    Get the tips from our experts to optimize and scale your campaigns

    14 September 2023

    How Much Do Google Ads Cost in 2023?

    In 2023, Google Ads costs are expected to rise by 20%-30%, up from a 5%-19% increase in 2022. This article breaks down Google Ads pricing, helping you budget effectively and understand key cost factors.

    Learn more

    7 September 2023

    7 Microsoft Advertising Tips to Boost Your Results

    Want to maximize your Microsoft Advertising results? Here are 7 essential tips to help you improve your ROI, increase your reach, and get more out of your advertising budget.

    Learn more

    6 September 2023

    Demand Gen Campaigns: What’s New and How to Use Them?

    Learn about the new Demand Gen campaigns from Google Ads and how you can use them to generate more leads and sales.

    Learn more

    1 September 2023

    How Marketing Teams Can Take Advantage of Generative AI

    Generative AI is a game-changer for marketing. Discover how you can use this technology to create more personalized customer experiences and drive more conversions.

    Learn more

    25 July 2023

    10 Effective Ways to Use Social Media for eCommerce

    Social media is a powerful tool for eCommerce businesses. Learn 10 effective ways to use social media to grow your brand.

    Learn more

    12 July 2023

    5 Must-Have Skills Every Digital Marketing Manager Should Have

    Want to be a top-tier digital marketing manager? Then you need to master these 5 skills.

    Learn more

    10 July 2023

    How Google AI Can Supercharge Your Business Results

    Learn how Google AI can help you improve your business results, from increased sales to better customer service.

    Learn more

    28 June 2023

    7 Tips for Boosting Bike Sales in Your Online Store

    Looking for ways to boost your online bike shop sales? Our 7 tips will help you attract more customers and increase your profits.

    Learn more