STUDY: 60% Say Google Not Doing Enough to Protect Brands

Bret Lehnhof Posted by Bret Lehnhof

Adthena recently surveyed over 200 search marketers to better understand the state of brand protection in search, uncovering the responders’ confidence, or lack thereof, in Google to protect their brand.   

The survey was timely as Adthena has seen a sharp uptick in brand bidding, which occurs when a competitor advertises on the brand terms of a competitor or rival (e.g. Lowes running Google shopping ads when consumers search for ‘Home Depot’). Brand bidding along with trademark infringements, result in billions in lost revenue annually and is largely unchecked in the industry.

Find out if you agree with the survey findings.

#1: Is Google Doing Enough to Protect Brands on Search?

Nearly 60% of those surveyed said that Google was not doing enough to prevent illicit brand infringement in search. Furthermore, when asked to characterize how Google had responded to alerts about illicit brand infringement activity, 38% of respondents said Google’s response was either ‘weak’ or ‘non-existent’, while 50% said it was ‘average’, while only 12% said it was ‘strong’.



These results indicate that advertisers aren’t getting the proactive service from Google that they expect.  Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing, Adthena, echoed these sentiments “Unfortunately, however, many search marketers feel as if Google itself is not doing enough to protect their brands — and spends — which, if left unrectified, could prove to negatively impact Google in the long run as search dollars migrate to other platforms such as Amazon.”

#2: Marketers Struggling to Detect Infringement

Per the study, 60% of marketers ‘rarely’ uncover instances of illicit brand infringement on their own.  Moreover, 63% said that they are either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned that they are missing competitive infringement instances beyond what they are detecting.


“From our findings it’s clear that brand infringement is on the minds of search marketers, yet they are finding it very difficult to cope with it,” added Fletcher. “Pair that with the fact that they don’t feel Google is doing enough to help them, and marketers are desperately in need of outside solutions that can help them better identify illicit instances of infringement and then help them force action to have them remedied.”

#3: Brand Protection a Priority for Search Marketers, but Budgets Lag

Per Adthena’s findings, 95% of search marketers said that proactive brand protection is either ‘very important’ or ‘somewhat important’ to their organization’s search strategy. That said, 50% of respondents said that less than 10% of their organizations search budgets are spent on brand protection.


“With budgets and competition hitting all-time highs in search advertising, protecting investments is incredibly important,” said Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing, Adthena. “However, given the complexities of keeping up with brand infringements at scale and that more needs to be done by platforms such as Google in remediating infringement, advertisers need to embrace AI and other modern tech to empower their teams and effectively monitor brand bidders and infringements.”

For additional reading on this subject, download the Brand Bidding Impact Report and gain a better grasp of the magnitude of brand protection issues and how you can take the first steps in reclaiming your lost brand clicks.

Brand Bidding Impact Report

About the author

Bret Lehnhof
Bret Lehnhof
Bret is Sr. Manager of Demand Generation at Adthena and is based out of the Austin, Texas office. He can be reached at