Ah, the age-old debate.

  • Should I bid on my model phrases or not?
  • Why do I need to pay to get the site visitors I earned?!?!
  • Why are Google and Bing holding my model hostage?

These, together with a myriad of different questions round model bidding, appear to pop up each few years.

Rising CPCs, an evolving SERP, and some lawsuits have led us to a brand new breakpoint.

I’m going to do my greatest to reply the most typical questions I’ve encountered over my profession.

This ought to assist information you on how (and if) it’s best to bid on your branded phrases.

(For the sake of consistency, I’m going to fake my model is Seinfeld all through this publish. Many references to observe.)

1. Should You Bid on Brand Terms in PPC?

Yes. And additionally a bit bit no.

But principally sure.

But not all the time, and never the whole lot.

It’s not as binary a choice because it’s made out to be, nor ought to we deal with all branded phrases equal.



We should view model phrases the identical as another phrases in SEM.

They must have a objective, KPIs, and a technique to attain success.

Don’t bid phrases to the ceiling and difficulty a clean test since you need a 100% impression share.

There are smarter (and extra worthwhile) methods to function.

Ask your self: would I make this resolution if the question was “best tv show ever” as a substitute of “Seinfeld”?

If the reply is not any… properly, you get the purpose.

2. How Should I Structure My Branded PPC Campaigns?

Structure your campaigns… properly, the identical manner you construction the whole lot else: tiered in order of quantity and finances precedence.

My suggestions will (doubtless) be in opposition to engine suggestions, however so be it.

I’m a grownup and I do what I need.

Generally talking, you’d wish to have 4-5 “sets” of branded phrases.

It’s as much as you whether or not you construction them into campaigns or advert teams, however I’d suggest breaking them out both manner.



Isolate Core + Navigational Terms Should Into Their Own Areas

By navigational, I’m speaking about phrases like “www Seinfeld com” or “Seinfeld com”.

When I say core, I’m talking about issues like “Seinfeld show”, “Seinfeld”, “Jerry Seinfeld show”, and so on.

These are the very best quantity, the very best propensity to transform and certain decrease incrementality.

Promotional or Discount Queries

These ought to be addressed however not essentially by you… extra to return on this.

Brand Adjacent/Sub Brand

This contains names of merchandise or phrases with a branded intent.

I’m considering issues like “Kramer’s lobster shirt”, “Jiffy Park t-shirt”, or “Urban Sombrero”*.

These aren’t your model in the standard sense. But, if a client is trying to find a particular merchandise by identify, they need to fall in this bucket.publish

*For those that don’t know, these are Seinfeld attire gadgets worn by characters.

Branded Research

This covers queries like “Seinfeld reviews” or “Seinfeld vs. Friends”.

These are nearer to mid or backside funnel and should not characterize an individual who’s prepared to purchase proper this second.

I might see arguments we shouldn’t take into account them branded phrases in any respect. That stated, whereas these could not convert as properly, they’re prone to have a excessive degree of incrementality.

3. Should I Be in the Absolute Top Position, 100% of the Time, for Every Brand Mention?

No. I outlined this in-depth a while in the past in a publish round forecasting.

Every click on (branded included) is dearer than the final.

As you get nearer and nearer to 100% impression share, these clicks will get exponentially dearer

The construction above presents a sound framework to maximise environment friendly quantity.

If you want a goal (large blanket assertion warning) usually someplace in the low 90-95% mark is the place returns begin to diminish.

That’s not saying you can’t make a revenue above that degree, however you’ll doubtless see ROI/ROAS begin to diminish.

But once more, check.

4. Should I Automate Bids on Brand Campaigns?

Yes, however check which can work greatest for you.



Most types of smart bidding have their place relying on your objectives.

Target Impression Share has confirmed fruitful with an goal in direction of that 90-95% candy spot.

It retains CPCs at an affordable degree and handles a lot of the aggressive variables properly.

By the identical token, tCPA or tROAS have been useful in the correct eventualities relying on our shoppers’ objectives.

Make positive to set caps to forestall your CPCs from spiking an excessive amount of.

This stands out as the solely state of affairs the place I nonetheless endorse (considerably) guide bidding as properly.

Variance for model campaigns is decrease than different broader phrases so your bids doubtless received’t want to alter as a lot.

Basically, it’s as much as you.

5. Should I Use Enhanced CPC (eCPC) for Brand Keywords?

Test it, however I don’t suggest it as a blanket “must do.”

Think of it this manner; eCPC goals to extend conversions by bidding extra when a conversion is extra doubtless and vice versa.

Say you have already got 97-99% prime impression share on your greatest phrases.



eCPC will (nearly) all the time assume a conversion is prone to occur and can (nearly) all the time bid up.

You then pay extra for a similar end result.

I have seen it work properly in aggressive industries the place impression share is, shall we embrace, tougher to return by.

But, check it, don’t assume.

6. If I Turn off Branded PPC Terms, Wouldn’t I Get All the Traffic & Conversions Anyway?

“Well these people were looking for me anyway, so they’ll find me no matter what.”


This is the most typical argument in opposition to bidding on model phrases.

It’s one of many tougher issues to check, and the more than likely to show a case for bidding.

Incrementality is the proportion of outcomes that might occur with out intervention. That is, what number of conversions would we get if we did nothing.

Incrementality testing has various in each one of many dozens of brand name turnoff assessments I’ve run in my profession.

I’ve seen incrementality as little as 15-20% (e.g., 80-85% of conversions would’ve occurred with out adverts) with a unadorned SERP.



Though, the frequency of a really bare SERP is subsequent to zero these days.

I suspect this incrementality determine is increased in trendy instances.

I’ve additionally seen it as excessive as 85% for aggressive industries like mattresses, health, and residential companies.

I’ve outlined a couple of examples under, showcasing how we ran the assessments and the end result.

We Tested for a Supplement Company with a Short Purchase Path

Automated guidelines turned off branded adverts each different day for 60 days.

The whole return on search funding was our success metric: (natural + paid income)/search spend.

Days with model adverts on yielded 28% extra whole search conversions.

Factoring in the margin and the price of adverts, model funding was ROI optimistic, albeit nearer to 2:1 vs. the 10:1 reported in the engine

A National Home Improvement Company Left the Decision to Invest or Not During COVID in the Hands of Franchisees

  • Approximately half turned off branded adverts whereas half remained on.
  • Franchises that paused model search carried out 50% worse than those that saved it turned on throughout all engines.
  • The staff carried out a regression evaluation to determine what occurred to natural adverts throughout the identical time. Those who saved adverts on noticed extra natural leads than those that turned off (R2 = 0.45), indicating there was a optimistic influence whereas adverts had been on.
    • The direct end result was ROI optimistic – the halo impact made the choice a no brainer for franchisees.



A Well-Known Marketplace Wanted to See If They Could Save a Few Dollars by Removing Brand Terms

  • Their CPCs had been low (in the five-cent vary) and a unadorned SERP outdoors of procuring adverts. We ran a geo-holdout check for a interval of six weeks. We excluded ~100 ZIP codes from branded adverts and in contrast in opposition to the efficiency of 100 like ZIP codes. The findings had been dramatic:
    • Approximately 44% of branded clicks had been incremental, vanishing with out adverts operating
    • CPCs on incremental clicks had been 7x increased than the price of non-incremental clicks. It’s price noting in this case non-incremental clicks value underneath a penny every.
      • ROAS on branded phrases in the engine UI was round 80:1 (which is insane) – iROAS, that’s the incremental income/whole spend) was round 12:1.

I might go on, as there are dozens of examples round.

TL;DR: The incrementality of branded phrases varies however is (in my expertise) all the time optimistic.

7. Should I Update Ads for Every Promotion?

I wouldn’t suggest it.

There are two most important challenges, one psychological and one PPC-ical:



  • Search engines favor advert historical past. When you throw a brand new advert for each 10% off sale, you’re resetting historical past and making the engine guess what’s going to occur. Generally, there’s a CPC “blip” with every new advert till the engine figures out what to do with it. If you may have a short-term sale, that blip could final the entire sale and cut back effectivity.
  • Consumer intent from a branded question is completely different from a sale advert vs. a non-sale advert. First-time clients from a promotional advert doubtless have decrease incrementality and a decrease LTV. They’re extra prone to develop into “sale only” clients who solely purchase low-cost.

You’re a terrific PPC-er so that you’ve been testing for years – odds are your evergreen branded adverts are fairly sturdy.

Unless your sale has a dramatic impact on efficiency, persist with promotion extensions or sitelinks.

If you should run a promotional advert, hold your present branded advert reside in tandem.

8. Should I Let Resellers & Affiliates Bid on My Brand Terms?

Controversial opinion time!

Yes, with restrictions.

Allowing a couple of chosen companions on your branded phrases accomplishes three issues:

  • It builds a moat for rivals. That’s not saying rivals can’t or received’t usurp your branded phrases, however there are extra layers of protection.
  • They current choices which might be extra prone to align with client intent. I have a sneaking suspicion that somebody trying to find “Seinfeld Coupons” already meant on shopping for. Let an affiliate take that click on – it’ll doubtless be the next CPC that you just wouldn’t make a lot cash on. Plus, it’s a greater reflection of client intent and a greater expertise.
  • When completed properly, they received’t increase your CPCs. You maintain the playing cards in the connection with associates. You can set the phrases of their presence to make sure CPCs don’t spike.



So Should I Bid on Branded Terms?


But as with all issues SEM, you can’t consider your success and ROI in a vacuum.

Instead, take a look at the web influence on what you are promoting (together with the halo impact) to verify your branded bidding technique aligns with objectives.

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