4Ps Marketing

Bidding On Brand Keywords

Every PPC Manager faces the dilemma of whether or not to bid on your own brand and trademarked terms. Many presume that a searcher will simply click on the natural listing so there is no point in spending money on a PPC listing. But there is more to it…

I was thinking about this recently when I was looking for a BT Landline. When I searched for ‘BT landline’ the first message I am greeted with is a BT PPC advert, which is exactly what I was looking for so that is where I clicked. However, if BT turned around and decided to cut costs by removing their brand PPC ads, the first message I would take in is that there are many other options available. The reason I specifically searched ‘BT’ was because I didn’t know what other options were available. I now know that Virgin also offer landlines because they told me in their PPC ad (which I clicked for more information) but not before I had already checked to see what BT offer. If the BT ad was not there and I clicked a Virgin ad first then I think we all know the impact that this could potentially have for BT.

The next thing I noticed was that there is an affiliate bidding on BT’s terms. If BT removed their ad then one would presume that the affiliate site will pick up a lot more traffic and the cost BT will pay in affiliate commission would most likely be higher than the cost of bidding on the terms themselves.

Here are a few other important factors to take into consideration:


In terms of cost, bidding on brand terms is inexpensive. This is because brand terms often have a high quality score as they are highly relevant to the website that the searcher is being directed to.


when bidding on brand terms you are in control of the initial message you are delivering – should you really leave this for affiliates to decide?

Consumer decision making

Several studies show that having both natural and paid listings can impact a consumer’s decision making process. One in particular comes to mind –“When a brand name is the top result in both natural and paid search results, 83% of consumers looking to buy would consider a purchase. Without paid search, however, the same brand name as the top result in organic search only obtains 73% purchase consideration.” Enquiro Research in partnership with Ipsos Mori, April 2008

Organic rank

If you do not rank organically for your own brand terms then you could be completely missing out on traffic that is specifically looking for your site.

If you are still not convinced then why not measure it yourself. The simplest way would be to remove your brand PPC ads and measure the increase in the amount of organic traffic from brand terms. If the increase in organic revenue makes up for the decrease in PPC revenue then it is best to save the money by not paying for the PPC traffic.

Historically, in my experience, this has rarely occurred as there is every chance that a competitor will be picking up revenue somewhere from your brand keywords. If that is not enough to convince you, why not have a look at the traffic you are generating from bidding on competitors keywords and think – ‘would I be happy if my competitors were receiving that level of traffic from my brand terms?’

4Ps isn’t just another PPC management agency. To discuss how advertising and brand perception are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and search, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and user behaviour across all inbound channels. What could a 4Ps search marketing consultant do for your brand?