Last month, eBay released a study suggesting that showing paid ads for your brand terms on Google is a complete waste of money.

As an experiment, eBay paused their paid ads for the keyword ‘ebay’, and found that the reduction in clicks from their Google paid ads was made up for by an increase in clicks from their Google organic listings. eBay therefore concluded that bidding on your brand name is a complete waste of money.

Wrong. If, like eBay, you simply provide an ad message for your brand name as a mere navigational link (i.e. so that your simply appear in the paid listings), you will probably notice that any increase in paid clicks from your brand keywords is met with an equal decrease in organic (natural) clicks from your brand keywords, with no added value being created.

However, paid ads for brand terms can create significant value for your business if the execution of your brand ad strategy is more involved than simply providing a mere navigational link, for example:

  1. Messaging Control

    Run promotions and specials that the customer might not have known about.

  2. Landing Page Control

    Take visitors to a landing page of your choosing for offers, promotions, testing of conversion rates etc.

  3. Sitelink Ad Extensions

    Use Google’s sitelink ad extensions in your paid ads to promote parts of your website which are important but are not appearing well in your organic listings.

  4. Immediacy

    Activate and pause your brand ad messages and landing pages quickly.

  5. Scheduling

    Schedule different ad messages for your brand to run on different days of the week, or different hours of the day, using Google’s ad scheduling – great for time-sensitive offers, day of week promotions, product launches, new store openings etc.

  6. Geo-Targeting

    Show different location specific messages based on the location of the searcher – great for businesses whose prices depend on the location, or advise people in a certain location of a new store opening near them.

  7. Price Discrimination

    Provide special offers, discounts, or coupon codes only to the geographical areas of your choice – searchers in other locations would be none the wiser.

  8. High Impact

    Use brand ads on Google to cut through the noise of your website and communicate a desired message of your choice in a place where all imagery and clutter is removed, and all customers have to process are 25-35 character messages in a standard Google font.

  9. First Touch Point

    Use brand ads to push a desired message at the first touch point in the visitor’s engagement session with your business (their search for your brand on Google).

  10. Website Savings

    Save on expensive design and content changes to your website by instead communicating a promotional message in your Google brand ads.

  11. Message Testing

    Rotate different styles and wording of messaging in your brand ads, to see which messages result in the best click through rate and conversion rates – these insights can then be used across your website and business.

  12. Message Consistency

    Use your Google brand ads to maintain consistency of messaging across all customer touch points with your business – very useful if your company is losing its voice.

  13. Message Reassurance

    Use your brand ads to reinforce your offline messaging or promotions – great for businesses who also advertise on TV or radio.

None of these strategies are possible by relying on Google organic listings for your brand name. If, like eBay, you simply provide a generic navigational link as a paid ad for your brand name, and fail to realise the full potential of paid ads for crafting and influencing the behaviour of your new and existing customers who search for your business Google, then you will probably come to the same dire conclusions as eBay – that brand ads don’t work.

However, if you can be creative, intelligent, and strategic, your brand ads can create enough additional value to your business to more than make up for any additional rise in click costs:

  • If you’re an airline, why not promote your daily fare specials when someone searches Google for your brand? If you’re struggling to sell seats on your Melbourne to Auckland flights, why not use your brand ads to promote Auckland specials to searchers in Melbourne. Why not show tailored promotional messages for people in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin…
  • If you’re a restaurant, why not advise customers of your meal deals for that evening? Customers searching for your restaurant on Google might be interested to read, ‘Steak Night Tonight!’ And if they’re searching on Tuesday but booking for Wednesday, they still might be pleased to know of your Tuesday steak night spectacular when they’re hungry next week.
  • If you’re an established ecommerce brand, and want to promote your new product lines, why not create a set of sitelink ad extensions to raise awareness of those product lines? Making major changes to your homepage to promote your these new product lines might be expensive and time consuming, so your brand can be a great quick fire strategy to drive extra traffic to your new pages.

Don’t blame the tool, blame the workman.

Brand ads on Google are just another tool PPC advertisers have at their disposal. Don’t just show a generic brand ad, so that you simply ‘appear’ in Google’s paid results when someone searches for your brand. Instead, realise that someone searching for your brand probably already knows about your business, and either wants to visit your website or find out more about you. This is your opportunity to influence your new and existing customers behaviour at their first touch point. Use paid brand ads on Google to connect and engage with your audience and stand out from your competition. Be unique and interesting with your brand ads, and show eBay how a profitable return on investment can be achieved.

Alan Mitchell

Alan Mitchell

14 Years Experience. 10,000 Hours Research & Innovation. Exclusive Self-Built Technology. World-Leading PPC Marketing by Alan Mitchell

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Melbourne, Australia