Should you bid on your brand name in PPC?

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of PPC clients ask, “Should we bid on our own brand name? Or is it a waste of money?”

Here’s my take on it – the good and the bad:

#1: Bidding on your own name WILL mean that you’re paying for visitors who, if you weren’t advertising, would have clicked on your organic listing and come to your site for free.

#2: However, you will also get visitors who WOULDN’T have clicked your organic listing. 

#3: If you don’t advertise on your brand terms – but your competitors do – your site might not even show on the first fold of the Google results. This means, if someone wants to get to your site, they’ll have to scroll down to find it.

Think about that: your prospect will see a page of ads from your competitors before they see your organic listing.

Do you really want your prospects – who are already interested in you – to have to go through your competitors to get to you?

#4: Brand bidding is incredibly cheap. This is because you will have very high quality scores (usually 10/10) and high conversion rates. 

By contrast, competitors bidding on these keywords will have low quality scores (maybe 4/10) and low conversion rates.

#5: Just because someone types in your brand name doesn’t mean it’s a navigational search (one where they’re trying to get to your site). If they search on “[your brand] reviews” or “[your brand] coupon code,” those searches are informational or transactional.

Bidding on your brand name gives you the opportunity to serve ads that are tailored to such searches.

#6:  You could use negative keywords to block your ads from showing for exact match searches on your brand name. 

Exact match brand searches tend to be navigational – someone is looking for your website. In which case, they’re probably willing to ignore your competitors and skip to your organic listing.

#7: You can use audiences to block certain searchers from seeing your brand ads – for example, past customers. After all, past customers are more likely to be navigating their way to your site.

In the last dozen years, Google has put out a couple of reports that “show” bidding on your own brand name is profitable.

But, let’s be honest, Google puts out a lot of reports that “show” giving Google more money is a good thing. So they’re hardly trusted advisors.

My own thought is that, if there’s traffic for your brand name, you should probably advertise on it. It’s going to be dirt cheap, and it prevents competitors from showing ahead of you.

But for subscription businesses – like SaaS – I might block current subscribers from seeing the ads.

(There are pros and cons to this.)

Hope this helps,

Steve Gibson