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The Daily Stream

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Branded vs. Non-Branded Keywords: How to Build a Powerful PPC Strategy

September 11, 2014 // By: Stream Companies

A company’s brand can be a big part of what makes or breaks it. That’s why it is so important to own your brand and make it an important part of your marketing efforts. Inevitably, those efforts can lead to paid search. One of the most important questions I come across is “do we bid on our own brand?” to which I personally say, yes; however, there are a few strategies you need to know to maintain ownership of your brand within the PPC space without spending your entire paid search budget on company keywords.

First off, let’s be clear what I mean when I say branded terms. In this case, I mean your brand or the brand of your clients business. For example, suppose I own a store called Dales Apparel. We sell several brands of tube socks such as Manes or Boot of the Room. These brands would not be the focus of any branded campaign we wanted to run. Instead, our branded campaign would focus on the Dales Apparel name, not the brand names of the products we carry. Those would be targeted in separate campaigns broken down by category such as a sock campaign, a shirt campaign, etc.

With that understanding, back to the question at hand. Should we bid on our own name? In my opinion, yes. Remember that if your competitors are bidding on your brand, you should do likewise. Many marketers think that it’s not worth your budget to bid on your own name because you’ll likely appear in a SERP organically.

But suppose competitors bid on your name and are able to get their ad at the top of a SERP. They could potentially get the clicks of users that specifically queried your name! That should really drive home the importance of owning as much real estate on a SERP as possible. It increases the chance that a user will be directed to your site via organic listing or your paid ads. The best part is that these searches tend to be farther down the conversion funnel and thus much more likely to convert!

Now that you’re bidding on your brand, how much should you spend on branded terms? That’s actually the most important part. Branded terms typically have a much lower cost per click than non-branded terms, so you should be able to scale your branded campaign spend alongside your non-branded. Typically I would say no more than 25% of your total budget, but I’ve often gone as low as 10% if the budget is large enough.

Remember, your primary focus should be on your products and/or services; but each month, you should be allocating some of your budget to owning your companies terms.

In closing, branded campaigns are another very important part of any successful paid search initiative. Just remember that while they are important, don’t waste all of your budget on them – use those keywords to supplement your primary campaign to generate the highest ROI. As always, good luck!


Dale Harley is a PPC Strategist at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia area advertising agency.PPC-Marketing-Secrets_Webinar-Replay

Topics: Digital Marketing, Paid Search, paid search, ppc