It’s the age-old question that every search marketer has heard from their clients at least once: why should I bid and pay for trademarked brand terms in paid search when a user would find our site through the organic listing?
The answer really depends on the client, but in general it’s important to have both paid and organic presence on branded queries for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, bidding on branded queries helps you to own the search engine results page, making it more likely that a user will click and giving your business increased credibility.
However, clients’ concerns about this topic are certainly valid. A notable example comes an Acronym client in the health insurance sector. A recent analysis found that almost 40% of PPC traffic from the trademarked term comes from current members. This is despite the fact that our ads clearly state “Apply for a Plan” and are geared towards prospects.
The implication is that paid search campaigns focused on driving in new members, prospects and/or customers could be accruing significant click costs on branded terms from current members/customers, who may only want to go to the site to do something like pay their bill.
The good news is that there are a number of tactics that advertisers can take to handle this traffic more efficiently:
Utilize sitelinks directed at current members/customers
A sitelink such as “Log in to Your Account” would allow you to direct current member traffic more efficiently and provide a better user experience. In addition, you can track spend against the links to see how much of your overall click costs are coming from current members
Utilize Google’s Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) to more effectively target traffic
With RLSA, marketers have the ability to negatively target current member or converted user lists so that their PPC ads don’t show up for these audiences when they search for specific terms.
An even better option would be to utilize these lists as an opportunity for cross-sell or upsell. For example, a credit card company could send current member traffic to a landing page promoting upgrading a card. Or an e-commerce site could develop tailored ad copy to existing customers offering a discount on their next purchase.
Branded traffic is an essential component to a successful paid search campaign, as these clicks tend to be relatively cheap and convert well. A sophisticated strategy with different audiences in mind can help to ensure that you direct branded traffic effectively and maximize every click.