Many recognizable brands launch advertising campaigns only for product items or service categories. They believe that it is not worth spending the budget on click-throughs for branded queries from contextual advertising.
A bit of theory
Brand query – a phrase containing the name of the company in different variations: Cyrillic or Latin, together and separately (if the name is made up of more than one word).
Brand queries reflect the company’s awareness and audience’s interest in it. But do you need advertising on them if the company has top positions by name in organic search results? Opponents of brand promotion justify their position by the fact that paid advertising simply eats up the budget, and instead of free transitions, the advertiser gets paid ones.
But branded queries can work in favor, it is enough to understand how they work and set up contextual advertising correctly.
Features of brand promotion
The main conditions for a branded advertising campaign:
- The first rule is that your company must be known, and people entering its name into the search box should be looking for you. Otherwise, most of the visits will be inappropriate.
- It’s important to keep track of realities. If your name is consonant with the names of new films, computer games, the names of movie characters, etc., it is necessary to add negative keywords in a timely manner.
- It is useful to track the actions of competitors. If they start using your brand name in their ads, you have two options: push them out of the top of the paid SERP with your ads, or contact the ad system with a complaint about the use of your name. But in this case, you must be the owner of the registered trademark. And your name should be used exactly in the form in which it is registered.
You should always be on the lookout with competitors, because the use of someone else’s brand for your advertising is found even among international companies.
Brand traffic in numbers
So, branded queries will take away some of the organic conversions. But at the same time, they will add traffic to you. How much will go to a minus, and how much to a plus, will depend on various factors. But you can turn to research results that will tell you what to count on.
In 2014 the company Bing conducted a study that included 3 million search results.
The main conclusion that was made: 31% of additional clicks are received by the company that launched advertising for brand queries. At the same time, only 11% of clicks were “stolen” from their own organic search results.
Features and benefits of branded traffic
In addition to quantitative indicators of the effectiveness of brand advertising, there are also qualitative ones:
- High CTR at the expense of a loyal audience. Here we have an almost 100% hit: the user is looking for you and finds you.
- Media traffic growth. Display campaigns tailored to your brand queries can help you increase your visibility. Their cost is much lower than the search network, but the CTR here will also be lower.
- Low rates. Clicks on such ads will be inexpensive, due to low competition for brand queries, and in Google Ads, they will also have a high quality indicator and relevance. The cost-effectiveness of these ads will justify some of the clicks stolen from organic search results.
- Possibility to show up on requests with a typo or error. If 10-20% of your audience spells your company’s name with a mistake, and the pages of your site are not tailored for this option, then you will be out of sight of customers. If there is such a possibility (for this you need to analyze requests), then it makes sense to include a request with an error in an advertising campaign.
But don’t forget about the so-called traffic cannibalization. It can be either negative or positive.
Note the three main types of cannibalization:
- Destructive: Paid traffic generated fewer clicks than organic traffic.
- Constructive: Paid traffic took less from organic than it brought visitors.
- Enhancing… The context has increased the number of organic conversions.
Two main strategies: defense and attack
The protection strategy aims to push competitors out of the top of the ad.
The first four search results (which is more than 60% of the screen) are occupied by ads, pushing the organic search results to the second screen and below, even with a perfectly optimized site. This applies to views on a PC. In the mobile version, the first place in advertising always wins. In this case, brand queries become a “magic wand” and make you more visible to the audience.
How to behave within the strategy:
- Use selling queries: combinations of the name of the company and the product or selling word of interest to the buyer (discounts, promotions, sale …);
- In the ad text, indicate that this is the official site. Be honest and build trust with your audience.
- Use as many characters and extensions as possible to take up as much screen space as possible.
- And most importantly, worry about your reputation and make sure your landing page is as relevant as possible to the information in your ad before launching your ad.
As for the attacking strategy, the main goal here is to take the first positions before competitors do it and thereby increase the number of clicks on brand queries. The ideal option is to get an ad unit and one of the positions on the first page of organic search. At the same time, the lower the organic search results within the first page, the more clicks the brand context will bring.
This conclusion is confirmed by a 2011 study by Google based on 390 case studies. Half of the clicks from advertising come additionally when the company is in the first position in the search, 82% of the clicks are added by brand advertising when the company is in 2-4 positions, and 96% with a natural fifth and below positions.
The attack strategy is also supported by the results of a study by Bunnyfoot, which shows that 36% of users do not distinguish between advertising and organic search results. The same source claims that 27% of netizens are unaware of Google running ads at all. The study was conducted in 2014. The numbers may have changed in four years, but not much.
Strategies have only a conditional distinction and can be combined within one advertising campaign.
After launching a brand context, it’s imperative to track the results:
- calculate how much contextual advertising took and what total brand traffic we received;
- compare the conversion rate by brand search and context;
- trace a behavior map to see what traffic leads to a purchase. This will provide an assessment of the cost-benefit of the context;
- track the growth of brand queries: how their number is growing, with what additional words they are looking for a company.
If your site is not yet on the first search page (for example, due to its recent launch or rebranding), but the name of the company is already well known, it is also advisable to launch branded advertising. This is confirmed by the already mentioned research from Google, conducted in 2011.
If there is no mention of the brand on the first page yet, then branded advertising can bring 81% of views and 66% of clicks to the site.
How to work with branded traffic correctly?
The main conclusion to be drawn: by abandoning the context for brand queries, you leave the first screen to competitors, which means that you give them your customers.
When faced with a choice whether to launch a brand context or not, rely on real research results, and not only on the recommendations of friends or your own speculations.
Before running ads for brand queries, be sure that your brand is known and ready to advertise.
If there is no such thing yet, you should first take the time to PR. For easy tracking and correct conclusions, it is worth launching a separate advertising campaign for brand queries.
The article used research data:
- Brand Term Bidding: An offensive + defensive strategy
- A lot of people really don’t know that Google contains advertisements
- Impact of Organic Ranking on Ad Click Incrementality