The Pros & Cons of Bidding on your Company/Brand Name With AdWords

Over the last few years, Google has released various documents which explain the value of AdWords advertisers bidding on their own company name &/or brand name.

According to their studies, bidding on these keywords are a great way to get more clicks at a lower price and increase the leads you can generate, while not cannibalizing too many organic clicks from their natural SEO listings.

However, there is a side of the market which feels this is actually not a good idea, and so today I want to discuss the pros and cons of doing this vs not doing it, to give you some things to think about.

So, let’s kick off with the cons, as I see them.

1) If your organic rankings for these keywords are really good (i.e. Position #1 can be common in these scenarios), then paying for AdWords clicks can be a waste of money.

After all, if you rank #1 for your name, why suddenly start paying for clicks that you usually get for free?

2) One BIG problem with paying for these sorts of clicks is that you are paying for non-buying searches – such as existing customers looking for your contact details, or salespeople looking to telemarket to your firm.

Because I have worked a lot with campaigns tied in with phone call tracking, you can listen to the calls people make to your firm, and plenty of those calls are NOT from people looking to buy your products or services.

Dodgy SEO firms from India clicking on your ads to make a sales call are extremely common, as well as people looking for employment opportunities.

With some firms, these clicks can add up to a fairly sizeable chunck of your daily AdWords budget, and will NEVER lead to a sale.

3) Another example in this category is existing customers looking for your phone number just so they can ring to confirm an appointment or ask on the status of their order.

That’s not so bad as the annoying salespeople calling you, but since this info is on your site and your organic listing can still lead them to your site, it can be very frustrating and wasteful of your ad budget when these sorts of clicks occur.

One example in my past was when I was running an ad campaign for the travel insurance product line of rac.com.au.

Because the RAC sells lots of different products and services (including vehicle loans, car insurance, breakdown services, etc.) there will be a LOT of people wanting to contact them for things other than travel insurance.

Yes, there will be non-travel insurance customers that come from those clicks, BUT every cent wasted on non-travel insurance clicks reduces the ROI of the campaigns overall, and that is not a desirable outcome.

In this sort of scenario, you need to use a judicious combination of negative keywords and enhanced broad/phase/exact match keywords to ensure your ads don’t show up for search terms containing your brand name but not containing your targeted keywords (such as ‘travel insurance’).

For example, I would consider added an exact match negative keyword of the company name (in this case, it would be [rac]). That way, if someone is just searching for your company name but is not adding additional keywords to their searches to help you narrow down their intention, you want to block your ads from showing in this sort of situation.

An additional tactic would be to add negative keywords to this campaign that cover off products/services you don’t want to trigger your ads.

So, going back to the RAC, I would look at adding negatives such as: -loan, -car, -vehicle, -breakdown, -job, -employment, etc.

That way, you’re not just blocking out ALL search terms containing the company name, only the non-relevant ones.

So, if we now move over to the other side of the road, we get to reasons for advertising on your company/brand names.

There ARE some good reasons for using your brand/company names in your campaigns, such as:

1) It helps push competitors who are using your names to trigger their ads down the page, since you should normally rank at the top of the ad slots for your name.

By the way, a quick tip to help reduce this issue is to register your business/brand names as trademarks, and then register those with Google.

That way, Google will not let advertisers use your trademarked names to trigger any of their ads, nor will they let them use your names in the actual ad text either.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Google recently made changes to their AdWords Trademark Policy which you should read about here: https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/177578?hl=en&rd=1

Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding use of trademarks as keywords. Starting 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Brazil.

While we will not prevent use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions, trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.

2) It allows you to promote targeted messages for searchers of your name that cannot be easily done using SEO techniques.

For example, at different times of the year, you could change your ads to target specific events or popular holidays (i.e. christmas, easter, end of financial year, etc.)

3) It’s fairly common for clicks on your own brand/company names to be cheap. So, if it costs a lot less than it would cost other advertisers to run ads for your names, then why not take advantage of the opportunities this gives you.

In Conclusion

So, we’ve looked at the pros and cons of advertising on your company &/or brand names.

As you can see, there are good points on either side of the fence.

At the end of the day, you have to evaluate which side of the fence best suits your needs.

And, if you’re not sure which option is right for you, be sure you get phone call tracking and recording up and running, so you can evaluate whether a lot of the calls are on or off-topic.

Good luck in making this decision and remember, luck is short for:

L = labouring
U = under
C = correct
K = knowledge

In other words, get the facts first before making a random decision with no real data.

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