Bidding on your brand keywords is a common discussion, both with clients & between individual service teams. Opinions are always divided on the subject and it can be seen as a way of cheaply improving overall account performance, while adding no value to the site overall.

But is it really worth paying for traffic that would most likely be secured organically?

The highly controllable nature of paid advertising does hold some benefits and it should be a strong consideration for most accounts for that very reason.

Here we take a look at other methods that are just as – if not more – effective than PPC brand bidding:

1. Dominate SERPs

While most brands will be the sole focus on their own searches, results will be from mixed sources giving opportunity to lose traffic to sites such as eBay, Facebook and Wikipedia. This may not be huge threat but it does risk users getting site tracked, or ending up a marketplace who will take commission for the sale.

More worrying is brand terms that closely touch on generic keywords, adding other competitors to the mix. This can cause confusion with similar named websites and present opportunity to further research products before making a purchase.

2. Control Messaging

The biggest opportunity of running brand based AdWords campaigns is the control over messaging. While organic listings can take time to index and have limited control over what is actually displayed, we can choose the exact messaging in paid adverts with instantaneous changes and scheduling.

This can work excellently for short-lived promotions, such as a bank holiday weekend sale. Over the long term, ad testing would allow varied messaging to be used, determining which resonate best with customers. Feeding this information back into the overall strategy could also benefit other channels through promoting your strongest message.

3. Extensions

Following for controlling messaging extensions are an excellent tool to improve value and get the right information in front of yours. Sitelinks are a great addition to guide users towards priority pages, such as sale sections, new arrivals and promotions. Ratings would strengthen trust and allow visitors to read reviews before making a purchase

Call extensions may also be relevant for some business who operate call centres, or are service focused. With trends in mobile traffic continuing to rise, this would be a huge opportunity to tap into that, delivering more leads, bookings & enquiries. Ads can also be made click to call only, highly valuable for the likes of taxi services & restaurants.

4. Deter competition

Bidding on competitor’s terms is a profitable strategy for many accounts. Relevant users can be reached at a fraction of the cost of generic keywords within some industries, and strong selling points can entice customers close to making the purchase.

Having an AdWords presence with history behind campaigns can make it difficult for competitors to enter that space by increasing expected CTRs and CPCs. That makes it difficult to gain any traction to develop quality score, pushing up the required bids making to strategy unprofitable.

Auction insight reports are key to monitoring this activity to identify who is bidding & when. A simple Google search can be misleading if someone has taken the time to block specific locations or IPs in an attempt to stay under the radar.


Overall there isn’t a definitive answer for if a brand campaign should be run as part of the paid search strategy. It should however be a considering in all cases to determine if competitors are a risk and if control of messaging would outweigh the click cost.

For further insight on PPC brand terms, brand campaigns and the work we do for our PPC clients here at Silverbean, contact us – we’d love to share more insight with you!