Complete Guide to PPC Brand Bidding

Do you understand PPC Brand Bidding, what it is, the benefits, and how to optimize your brand bidding strategy? This guide delves into its intricacies, so you can prepare to strategically craft your online identity and protect your brand.

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What is PPC brand bidding?

PPC brand bidding is the process of bidding on specific brand-related keywords to gain greater visibility on the search engine results pages (SERP) of search engines such as Google.

Here’s the twist: brand bidding isn’t just about promoting yourself. Businesses can also bid on their competitors’ brand names to grab attention and potentially win over interested customers. Done right, this can lead to a surge in website traffic, leads, and ultimately, sales.

Is brand bidding the same as trademark bidding?

In short, no. Brand bidding and trademark infringement are not the same thing. Here’s the key difference:

  • Brand bidding: This is a legitimate tactic in paid search advertising where businesses bid on keywords that include their own brand name or the brand names of their competitors. The goal is to have their ads appear at the top of search results pages (SERPs) when users search for those terms.
  • Trademark infringement: This is a legal issue that occurs when someone uses a trademark (like a brand name, logo, or slogan) in a way that is likely to confuse with the original owner of the trademark. This can happen if they use the trademark in their advertising, product names, or website domain name in a way that suggests they are affiliated with the original brand owner.

While brand bidding is generally legal, there can be some overlap with trademark infringement in specific situations. Here’s when it gets tricky:

  • Bidding on competitor trademarks: While it’s not strictly illegal in some cases, it can be a grey area. If your ad copy uses the competitor’s trademark in a way that suggests you are affiliated with them, or if it disparages their brand, it could be considered trademark infringement.

What are the benefits of brand bidding?

PPC brand bidding offers many advantages for your online presence. Here’s how:

  • Brand domination: Repeated exposure to your brand name in search results strengthens brand recognition and establishes your presence in the digital marketplace.
  • Control the narrative: Craft targeted ad copy that speaks directly to users already familiar with your brand. Highlight new products, special offers, or key selling points to nudge them towards conversion.
  • Increase Click Through Rates: People searching for your brand are likely pre-sold on your offerings. This translates to a higher chance of them clicking on your ad compared to generic keywords, boosting your website traffic.
  • Brand protection: By strategically bidding on your brand name, you prevent competitors from hijacking your online space and potentially stealing clicks or customers.

What are the challenges of brand bidding?  

Branded keywords signal high purchase intent and convert well, making them appealing to other advertisers. This can lead to a party crashers scenario, where you find yourself competing with:

  • Marketing partners and affiliates: These collaborators might bid on your brand name too, hoping to capture a piece of the action. However, their messaging might not always be aligned with yours, potentially confusing customers with different language or unrealistic discounts.
  • Third party hijackers: Hijackers might bid on your brand to redirect users elsewhere, creating friction in your marketing funnel.
  • These unexpected party crashers can have a negative impact on your brand bidding efforts:
  • Reduction in traffic: Increased competition makes it harder for your ads to stand out. This translates to fewer clicks and a potential drop in website traffic and revenue, especially if your brand receives high search volume.
  • Bidding wars: With more advertisers in the mix, the cost per click (CPC) for your ads goes up. The  automated auction system for paid search dictates that more bidders equal higher prices.
  • Customer confusion: Conflicting messages from various ads can leave customers confused. Partners might use different language or mislead users with exaggerated discounts, potentially damaging your brand reputation and attracting regulatory scrutiny.

Even if you choose not to brand bid yourself, trademark bidders can still affect your organic traffic. Their ads will appear above or beside your organic listing, diverting some clicks and potential revenue. Additionally, customers might still be exposed to the negative experiences mentioned above.

How to optimize your brand bidding

Don’t let the challenges deter you! Here are some effective strategies and techniques to help optimize your brand bidding campaigns:

  • Leverage match type: Utilize different match types to target specific user searches. Use exact match for precise brand name searches, phrase match for close variations, and broad match for broader searches including your brand name.
  • Negative keywords: Exclude irrelevant searches that wouldn’t convert, like “[your brand] vs competitor” to avoid wasting your budget.
  • Landing page optimization: Ensure your landing page aligns seamlessly with your ad copy. A smooth user experience takes them from click to conversion effortlessly.

Brand bidding compliance

Brand bidding is a powerful tool, but with great power comes great responsibility! Here’s how to ensure your brand bidding practices are above board:

  • Trademark territory: Only bid on your own registered trademarks to avoid legal disputes.
  • Transparency is key: Your ads should clearly represent your brand and not mislead users in any way.
  • Respecting your competitors: Avoid using competitor trademarks in a deceptive manner. It’s a bad look and could lead to legal trouble.

Brand bidding and affiliate marketing

If you work with affiliate partners, clearly outline brand bidding practices in your agreements. This helps prevent them from bidding on your brand name and potentially driving up your costs unintentionally. 

Learn more about what is Ad Hijacking and how to protect your brand integrity

Tools for tracking and protection

Brand monitoring tools, such as Adthena, continuously scan search results for instances of your brand name, trademarks, and variations being used in ad copy. 

Adthena goes beyond just brand monitoring however. It provides in-depth competitor analysis, including insights into competitor activity, market seasonality, and average CPCs. This allows you to identify potential brand hijackers and understand their strategies.

Measuring success: Key metrics

To gauge the effectiveness of your brand bidding campaigns, be sure to track these key metrics:

  • Impressions: The number of times your ad is displayed.
  • Clicks: The number of times users click on your ad.
  • Cost-Per-Click (CPC): The average cost you pay for each click.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that convert into sales or leads.

Beyond the buzzwords

These trends represent a shift towards a more data-driven and dynamic approach to PPC brand bidding. The goal will be to not just win auctions, but to deliver the right message to the right user at the right time. This requires a deep understanding of consumer behavior, brand perception, and the ever-evolving digital landscape.

By embracing these innovations, brands can expect to see improved campaign performance, increased brand awareness, and ultimately, a higher return on investment (ROI).

Brand bidding next steps

Brand bidding isn’t just about securing prime real estate on the SERP; it’s about strategically crafting your online identity and protecting your brand. By understanding the nuances of brand bidding, you can start to dominate your digital space, nurture brand loyalty, and drive conversions.

Adthena can play a huge role within your brand bidding strategy. To speak to a search consultant about your specific challenges and needs, request a personalized demo

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is brand bidding on PPC?

    Brand bidding in PPC is where you advertise on keywords that include your own brand name or those of your competitors. This helps you control your online presence, attract high-intent customers, and potentially win them over from rivals. But brand bidding isn’t just about promoting yourself. Businesses can also bid on their competitors’ brand names to grab attention and potentially win over interested customers.

  • Can I stop competitors bidding on my brand?

    No, you can’t entirely prevent competitors from bidding on your brand name in PPC. Platforms like Google allow competitors to bid on generic terms, which often includes your brand name. 

    However, Adthen can help you fight back, equipping you to win against brand bidding:

    • Outsmart, not outspend: Optimize bids based on competitor insights.
    • Craft winning ads: See competitor tactics to create more relevant messages.
    • Protect your brand: Identify trademark infringement attempts.
    • Dominate landings: Learn what messaging converts users searching for your brand.
  • Can you bid on competitor brand terms?

    Bidding on competitor brand terms in PPC ads is legal and lets you target high-intent customers searching for your rivals. This can boost brand awareness and potentially win them over with strong ad copy that highlights your unique offerings. However, the cost can be high due to competition, and it might not align with your brand image if viewed as aggressive. So, weigh your budget and brand strategy before considering this tactic.

  • What is an example of brand bidding?

    Consider a company that sells athletic shoes. Here’s an example of brand bidding:

    • Company: “Swift Kicks” (athletic shoes)
    • Brand Bidding: Swift Kicks might bid on keywords like “Nike running shoes” or “Adidas sneakers” in their PPC ads.

    This way, when someone searches for those competitor brands, Swift Kicks’ ad could appear alongside them in the search results. The ad copy could then highlight the benefits of Swift Kicks shoes, potentially convincing the user to choose them over the competition.

  • What are the rules for brand bidding?

    There aren’t exactly strict rules for brand bidding, but here’s a quick guideline:

    • Do: Bid on competitor brand terms if you have a compelling offer and can write clear, non-infringing ad copy.
    • Don’t: Use competitor trademarks in a misleading way, make false claims, or rely solely on their brand name for relevance.
  • Should I bid on my own brand?

    Bidding on your brand name in PPC is a no-brainer. It lets you craft targeted messages to those already familiar with your brand, leading to higher click-through rates. Plus, it protects your online space from competitors who might try to steal clicks or customers.

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