PPC Tip: Should You Be Bidding On Branded Keywords

Posted by justinfreid 1 Comment

Bidding on branded keywords is a debate that goes back to the beginning of SEM campaign management. Some SEM managers believe it is a great way to drive traffic that is ready to convert to your website and other believe they will arrive at your site via organic results, if they truly are looking for your brand.

Let’s break it down:


When a potential customer goes to a search engine they are their to:

1. Ask a question

2. Look for a product or service

SEM purchase cycleIf a user is looking for a product or service, chances are they are somewhere within the purchase cycle. If that user is looking for a specific brand name chances are they have moved along and are in the end of the research phase and are moving into the buying phase of the purchase cycle.

There is a finite amount of real estate within a SERP. With SERPs now containing videos, news, tweets and other forms of media, organic listings and paid search ads do not attract as much attention as they used to. So taking up as much real estate on a SERP as possible is a great way to combat this.

If you are working with a good agency or have an quality in house internet marketer, you should be ranking well for your branded terms. By attacking both organic and paid search results for branded terms you increase the chance of the potential customer fulfilling their origanal intent, getting to your site. If not you increase the chance of the searcher being driven to one of your competitors’ sites.


One factor that can play a large role in deciding to bid on brand related terms is budget. When a user searches for a specific brand term, there is a good chance they will click on your organic listing. While we at Front Street recommend bidding on your branded terms, if you are only running a SEM campaign of around $50 to $100 a day, focusing on getting new customers through unbranded search is a better option. With situations like this, you should be trying to attract new customers for your business through unbranded search terms.

Cheap Clicks, High Conversions: 

Branded terms tend to have less competition, so the clicks you will be paying for on your branded terms will most likely be significantly lower then unbranded terms. Branded terms often convert at a high rate as well, since the user is most likely familiar with your company. If these two factors are true, your cost per conversion for branded terms will be on the low end.

Recommendation: Bidding on brand terms can boost the performance on the account, so if you have the budget and would like a solid return on investment, bidding on brand terms is a great option. If you do not you could easily be missing out on potential customers to competitors and affiliates.


One Response to ‘PPC Tip: Should You Be Bidding On Branded Keywords’

  1. Troels Kjems says:

    Hi Justin.

    My take on this is that you should always be bidding for your own brand keywords.

    Firstly because you often can get cheap clicks that will improve your average CTR which affects positively on your entire campaign.

    Secondly because you otherwise expose yourself to the risk of somebody else snatching your customers because they squeeze themselves into top position above your organic search result by including your brand names as keywords in their campaigns.

    I know from my own experience as an AdWords consultant that it’s a quite familiar practice.

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