Branded PPC campaigns are a difficult concept to swallow for many marketers. Why would someone pay for a branded term they already (and will always) rank first for in organic search?
In the B2B world, paying for terms surrounding your brand can yield numerous benefits. Here are the top 13 reasons you should consider building a branded campaign for your B2B brand.
Having multiple listings on one search engine results page (SERP) is a way to deliver a wider range of brand messaging to searchers. It also creates more opportunities for searchers to click through to your website.
By appearing in both organic and paid listings, you will be the prominent player in your space. Paying for keyword listings is also the only way you can guarantee yourself that first spot.
One of the downfalls of organic listings is that certain guidelines need to be followed to keep in best practices with current SEO trends. Since keyword targeting is a must for organic listings, you are limited in how you can deliver your brand messaging.
With paid search, you can craft your brand messaging to grab the attention of searchers and drive them to your site.
An effective PPC tactic that has been used for a while now has been bidding on competitor branded terms.
If a competitor is bidding on your branded terms, the best way to fight back is to bump them down a peg by buying your own branded terms. After all, your bids will be much lower and quality scores much higher, whereas competitors have to shell out a lot of dough to compete for your terms.
Some of the cheapest keywords you’ll ever bid on are those of your own brand. Bidding on your own brand usually costs pennies per click. These dirt-cheap clicks will also generate high click-through rates (CTRs) and quality scores.
Aside from being cheap, having high CTRs and earning high quality scores, this level of performance will also help build account equity.
Although account history doesn’t directly affect ongoing quality score, it has long been speculated that maintaining an account over time that follows best practices, gets good quality scores and achieves high CTRs does have an effect on the success of your future campaigns.
(A few things I have noticed that may be related to account history are keywords starting out with higher or lower quality scores, and quicker approval on ads.)
Users searching for your brand already have some level of familiarity with your brand and products, whether it’s from a colleague, tradeshow, direct mailing piece or other channel. These users may be anywhere from the beginning to the end of the sales cycle.
By bidding on branded terms, you have the ability to send these prospects to a landing page to get your company messaging, thought leadership material and other assets in front of them to move them further down the sales cycle. An organic listing just sends them to your site, with little control of what content you want to put in front of them.
PPC landing pages are usually optimized to drive users to complete a conversion action. Because of this, conversion rates tend to be higher on these landing pages than on regular website pages.
As mentioned in my previous point, people who click on ads for branded terms are already in the sales cycle, and well-optimized PPC landing pages can accelerate that buying decision.
One of the biggest challenges in search for B2B marketers is having to compete with your own affiliates and distributors.
Your affiliates and distributors want to use your brand equity to their advantage, so they will often bid on your branded terms — especially for product-related branded terms.
If your sales culture has a strong interest in making sales in-house instead of relying on distributors, creating a branded campaign is imperative.
If you plan on creating advertisements and other collateral to promote through other channels, branded PPC campaigns offer a cost-effective way to test new brand messaging.
For pennies per click, you’ll be able to determine if a new brand message is effective before spending thousands of dollars blindly sending it out through other marketing channels.
Every time a new product or service is created, you have to add new content on your site, create collateral and thought leadership, and use multiple marketing channels to promote the materials. It takes a while to gain momentum through those channels. Ranking in organic search for keywords around the new product or service may take anywhere from several weeks to several months.
Paid search offers an opportunity to rank first in search immediately for both branded and non-branded terms around the new product.
Google likes to make money, and AdWords is one of their primary drivers of revenue. With that in mind, they are constantly testing new ways to make ads appear in SERPs.
In the past, they have highlighted the ads with a yellow, blue and pink background color to make them stand out above organic listings. Their latest tactic seems to be making them blend in with organic listings. Either way, Google will constantly be testing new designs to drive more ad clicks, because that’s how they make their money.
Let’s hope this is never necessary, but if your company makes a big “oops” and becomes the target of negative press coverage, a branded PPC campaign is one solution to push that negative press down the SERPs.
Looking at the example below, you can see that Feedly, a company that recently became the target of a cyber attack and does not currently run a branded PPC campaign, is dominated in SERPs with negative press. This negative press has taken the top position in the SERP, and includes attention-grabbing elements like the thumbnail, timestamps and border.
One of the most devastating things that can happen to your brand in digital marketing channels is the inability to appear for your own branded terms as a result of a penalty from search engines. Recovering from a manual or algorithmic penalty can take several months before rankings are restored.
A branded and non-branded PPC campaign is one solution to retain search traffic until you recover from the penalty.