Our clients often ask, “Why should I bid on my own brand keywords when my organic listing will pick up the traffic?” And the answer is: We recommend it for many reasons, and all have to do with improving the effectiveness of your marketing investment. Here they are:
Brand keywords drive more leads at a fraction of the cost
The most obvious reason is that pay-per-click (PPC) targets buyers who occupy lower stages in the funnel—that is, those who are ready to purchase —and who consequently have a high intent to convert because they are searching for a brand they already know, which could be you!
Brand campaigns typically have the highest conversion rates, and you pay a fraction of what you pay for non-brand or competitive keywords. This is because publishers like Google and Bing reward you with discounted cost-per-click (CPC) rates for being the most relevant result for those queries.
More leads at a lower cost per lead? That sounds pretty good to me.
Competitors will bid on your brand if you don’t
If that doesn’t convince you, I’d like to add that just because you’re not bidding on your brand keywords doesn’t mean your competitors aren’t. Imagine that the first result people see when they search for your company is a listing for your competitor. While you rely on your organic listing further down the page, your competitors are stealing some of your click traffic by showing above the fold in top positions. That obviously isn't a good thing.
Get specificity and flexibility with SEM
By having brand keyword coverage, you can encourage searchers to click by using unique messaging and value propositions that you can’t specifically call out in your organic listing.
Paid search is incredibly valuable in this regard; you can test different messaging to see what resonates with your target audience, call out specific promotions, highlight what makes your offerings unique in comparison to competitors, and get in front of any possible negative attention your brand may have garnered in recent news.
Plus, organic data can take more than 30 days to update, which is troublesome if you’re concerned about brand safety, if you update your site regularly, or if you have short-term offers or events you’d like to promote.
Expand and increase the impact of your search real estate
You would think that organic captures traffic in the absence of a paid ad, but in fact, studies show that both channels see an incremental lift in volume when they play together. So you not only double the space you take up on the results page with both a paid and organic listing—you improve the impact of both. In general, searchers think brands are more legit when they’re sprinkled throughout the results page rather than showing just one listing.
Know what your leads search for and use it to segment your audience
When Google started encrypting organic search results a few years ago, marketers lost the ability to see which search terms and phrases were used by named leads generated from organic search. To be more explicit—your marketing automation platform can tell you that Jane Smith landed on your website through organic search, but you don't know what the phrase was, whether “cloud software solution” or “xyz brand name cloud software.” If Jane used the branded search phrase, you could use that data to segment her into a later buying stage because you know she is familiar with your brand.
Imagine applying that data and insight to the rest of your audience! With paid search you can, because companies and advertisers do receive data on the terms and phrases used to generate clicks on their ads, which is subsequently passed through to a marketing automation or CRM platform.