Are branded keywords a waste of money?
Our research concludes, “no.”
Running paid search ads off of brand terms is cost-effective. Recently, we performed an incrementality test to see how much traffic and purchases were truly incremental when bidding on brand terms versus running organic search alone. No competitors were present, so it was certainly understandable why the client was curious.
Using Google Search Console (linked with Google Ads) and Adobe Analytics, we measured traffic and purchases for brand terms when paid search was running and turned off.
The results? When paid and organic were both running, we saw tremendous lift:
- 39% increase in combined paid/organic traffic
- 75% increase in combined signups
- 104% increase in combined purchases.
Why do you need a brand bidding strategy?
Tailored messaging grabs your audience’s attention
It goes without saying that paid ads have much more control than organic search results. Paid ads can more easily feature promotions, main benefits, and attention-grabbing messaging. In addition, paid ads typically direct users to higher converting landing pages whereas organic listings typically direct to a site’s home page.
Higher intent means better conversion rates
Of the searchers who intend to buy, 65% will click on a paid ad vs an organic result. When those same users are pushed through an organic result, they often find themselves either on an advertiser’s home page or elsewhere on the site. With a paid ad, the post-click experience can be tailored for an optimal conversion experience.
Trust is needed for credibility
Trust is a major contributor to users clicking any search result. Given that 77% of users can distinguish between the paid and organic ads, controlling the top spots in both groups builds credibility which then results in a lift in overall traffic. Without this reinforcement, and especially if a competitor appears on top, trust in the search results tends to falter.
Competitors are lurking, even when you don’t see them
Finally, even though you don’t see competitors when you search, are you sure they aren’t there? We often see competitors lurking in places that make it difficult to see. For example, one competitor was only showing up on our client’s mobile results. Another was showing up only for select cities and a third was only showing up during off-hours. So even if you aren’t seeing competitors on your brand terms now, odds are they’re showing up somewhere and stealing valuable traffic from you.