I get asked by clients time and time again about bidding on their own name(s) as well as their brand terms. Some agencies advise against it citing a lower ROI, poor click through rate and wasting resources. We have found that this is just not the case. There are many reasons to bid on your own and/or company name, but I will outline what I feel are the most important.
1) Search Engine Real Estate
The more space your name and message occupy in a search engine result page, the better. Eye tracking studies have shown that visibility above the fold of a search engine result page is vital.
Thanks to Enquiro for the image and tests. As you can see, there are some small differences with each search engine. Enquiro did a fantastic job with their research into these studies. Below you can see the “Eye Share” according to the respective positions.
As you can see from the eye tracking report, bidding on your company name or your branded terms is one less piece of screen real estate that your competition can show up in.
The more your name is out there the better. Most PPC search engines also have a content network where your company name and ad can be seen across thousands of websites. Obviously there are some caveats to this, but in general, the more a customer sees your company name, the more trust that instills. If someone blogs about you or mentions your name in an article, there is a very strong chance that your ad will appear on the page with the reference. Scott over at Marketing Pilgrim has some useful ideas on using PPC for branding. Some may be less than savory methods (Bidding on your competitions names and weaknesses) but there is some useful starting points.
Just like any PPC ad, you control the message. You control where the user goes. A generic company name search usually brings up the home page in the organic results. With PPC, you can promote special offers and bring users to a target sales page customized to their demographic or region. You can also add phone numbers and time sensitive information to your ad.
I cannot tell you how many people come to our site searching for our name so misspelled that it does not even show up in the “Did you mean…” results in Google. When you are bidding on your own name, you can bid on variations and common (and obscure) misspellings and snag those loose end searchers.
In many markets, brand name trademark holders have a constant battle against their competition tactically outbidding them on their own trademark and branded keywords. Bidding on your own terms allows you to actively “counter attack” any negative ads being run by your competitors. While you can request that your trademark not be used in your competitions ads, you cannot stop them bidding on the keywords themselves.
We bid on our own keywords, site name and some branded words. Why do you or don’t you bid on your company name or brand keywords?
Hat tip to Christine Parfitt who runs a wonderful Australian Search Engine Marketing Company for some clarity on some of the points.