Guest post from Tam Doan, Optimization Manager at Four15 Digital
A lot of groundwork is done to ensure that your website is designed well, runs smoothly, and ranks well organically. Now, on top of that you have to pay to bid on your own brand name? Shouldn’t all of this work related to SEO ensure that you are ranked organically at the #1 spot, especially if people are literally searching for your brand name? Well, not necessarily. You’ll see that more and more companies are now bidding on their own brand names to ensure priority placement in search results.
Initially, I thought this tactic seemed redundant, and overall just a big waste of money considering your audience will eventually find their way back to your website… right?
Yet here’s a great example of why this is absolutely necessary, especially if your product can be purchased from retail stores:
See here in Example A, Nike bids on their own brand-related keyword, because otherwise the competitor here (Example B) would have been listed above organic search results alone. If Nike had not been advertising on their own brand-related term, revolve.com could have likely taken up most of the page with sitelink extensions similar to what Nike is doing here already.
What could go wrong if I didn’t advertise on Brand related terms?
Let’s pretend that Nike was not advertising here; instead you had seen Example B first, read the headlines, and clicked on the ad. At their site, you found a pair of Nike shoes that you liked. Would it really matter to you all that much if you purchased from any other website besides Nike.com? Honestly, you might have not even noticed that you weren’t on Nike.com since the landing page was so relevant.
That would have been a loss of a potential buyer for what – a few $0.10 clicks?
To consider a use case outside of retail, let’s say you were advertising for an educational bootcamp, and your competitors were buying your brand-related keywords while you weren’t. They would be capturing an in-market audience, and possibly poaching business that easily could have been yours — considering they were already searching for you!
Pro Tip: Don’t forget about shopping ads!
If you look back at my screen cap at Example C, you’ll notice lots of images of shoes. Those are shopping ads. Not only are they extremely eye-catching, but they also take up a lot of real estate on the SERP (search engine results page).
I noticed that Nike was not advertising here at all, where they could have taken up even more real estate with the use of shopping ads.
Notice in the above screenshot that Under Armour took full advantage of their brand marketing strategy by not only advertising using search ads, but also shopping ads — leaving absolutely zero room in the SERP for anyone else to advertise.
Ultimately, it is entirely up to you whether or not to advertise for your own brand-related terms. However, leaving it all up to chance and hoping users eventually navigate to your website seems like a missed opportunity to me. For a relatively low-cost click, you can add in the insurance policy of bidding on your own keywords and maximizing your Brand — which seems like the clear winner to me here every time.