Should You Run Brand Keywords in Google Ads?

Should You Run Brand Keywords in Google Ads?

Working at an agency, one question I get from clients all the time is, should we be running branded keywords? Branded keywords (often run as part of a designated brand campaign) are keywords that include your brand’s name.

We get it. It’s easy to think that running brand keywords is a waste of time, that it will only bring in paid traffic you would have gotten for free anyway through your organic listing, right? Well, that may not necessarily be the case. I believe running branded search is an important part of any Google ads marketing mix. Here are the top 5 reasons to do it.

1. Running Brand Ads Allows You To Control Your Messaging

This is the most important reason to run brand campaigns in Google Ads. When your organic listing shows up in Google search results, it's automatically generated based on your website. You have no control. Running brand ads allows you to cater your messaging based on what you want to say to the consumer. Maybe you’re running a 20% Off promotion and you want everyone who comes across your listing to know about it. Maybe there’s another reason to choose you over a competitor and you want every searcher looking at a search results page to know about it. Messaging is everything in marketing, and brand keywords allow you to control yours in the most important digital marketing channel of all: search.

2. Running Brand Allows You To Fight Conquesting

The second important reason to consider running brand keywords is fighting off conquesters. Conquesting is a term used in pay-per-click (PPC) spheres that refers to competitors who bid on your own brand keywords. The last thing you want is someone typing in your brand name, and the first result that shows up is your competitor using creative headlines to draw them away from your business. Running brand keywords helps ensure that when someone searches for your business, they actually end up on your website. 

3. Accidental Conquesting Is a Common Threat in Broad Match

A third aspect to consider is accidental conquesting. Now that broad match is working stronger than ever (for better or worse), it’s increasingly likely a competitor could show up for your brand name. For instance, say your brand name is Example Charlotte Plumber. Chances are, most of your competitors are running keywords like ‘plumber’ (in broad match). They’d all be eligible, potentially, to show up in your brand searches simply because the searcher used the word ‘plumber’ in their search term while trying to search for ‘Example Charlotte Plumber.’ Prevent this by running branded keywords.

4. Running Brand Gives You More Real Estate in the SERP

As a 21st-century marketer, you probably already know the most valuable real estate of all is SERP space. This is the reason we engage in the PPC bidding war in the first place. If it’s common sense that this real estate is so valuable, then why is it controversial to say you should be showing up twice every time someone searches for your business?  This has a number of effects. First, it pushes one of your competitors down below the fold completely. Second, it leaves the impression you’re a large, legitimate business since you’re running ads and you show up twice on Google. Third, it improves the chances someone will click through to your website, since they have two options to click and your business is taking up so much space on the SERP. All of these are reasons enough to run branded keywords.

5. Running Brand Is Usually Dirt Cheap

This is the reason that definitely speaks for itself. Running brand keywords is not expensive. It will almost assuredly cost a fraction of your other keywords. Not only are branded keywords so much cheaper on average, but you can show up for your branded terms for less than your competitors who are running conquesting on them. This is because your quality score will be so much higher on your ads for your own branded keywords, so you pay less to show up in first position. Branded keywords should take up just a tiny portion of your overall budget, but they slug way above their weight class. 

If you were on the fence before about running brand keywords, the reasons above should be making a great case to do it. You can protect yourself from conquesting, dominate the SERP with customized messaging, and using branded keywords won’t take up a significant portion of your total budget. At the end of the day, you don’t want to be vulnerable to the risks of not using branded keywords as part of your PPC marketing plan.

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