Welcome to Part 6 of an eight-part series on PPC brand bidding, where I answer the biggest question facing PPC advertisers in 2016: How do I get meaningful growth numbers out of a crowded and competitive PPC market?
The answer is surprisingly simple: Brand Bidding. Advertisers at The Search Monitor (disclosure: my employer) currently enjoy tremendous growth from PPC brand bidding. I created this series to show you how they do it. Let’s make sure you’re caught up with the first five parts:
Remember how we highlighted Avery’s tremendous results from brand bidding in Part 5? Avery monitors their brand heavily, and the results are indeed worthy of the word “tremendous.” After removing unwanted competitors from their brand terms, Avery realized these gains:
Today, in Part 6, I will review the important topic of brand bidding enforcement. More specifically, once you detect unwelcome competition, what can you do about it from a legal standpoint?
I won’t bore you with case law here, but you should be aware of a few basic principles and how the law views brand bidding.
Trademark registration. To maximize your enforcement rights in your brand name and slogans, you must register your trademarks with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
Brand confusion protection. The main purpose of a trademark is to uniquely identify your product. It serves to prevent another business from promoting a product in a manner that is confusingly similar to your branded product. In order to win a brand bidding case, one of the proofs you must show is that your competitor’s ad is likely to confuse consumers. This single concept is really tough to prove and is why brand enforcement using the law and courts is very, very difficult — more on that in a moment.
Fair use. This term signifies that your registered marks can be used in special circumstances by advertisers such as resellers, news outlets, reviewers or product comparisons.
The law and brand bidding. Numerous lawsuits have been brought by brand owners against the ad sellers (Google, Yahoo and Bing) and the ad buyers (your competitors). The main finding has been that these lawsuits have gone virtually nowhere as a group. Unfortunately, we still don’t know where the law stands completely. Eric Goldman, a law professor specializing in advertising law, does a nice job of covering this issue in his “Forbes” articles on this topic. Here is a brief recap from some of his recent articles over the past four years (the law moves slowly!):
To enforce compliance against competitors and affiliates, you have three options: 1) Search engine complaints; 2) pacts or agreements; and 3) lawsuits, explained below.
Filing a complaint with Google, Yahoo or Bing is the recommended option because it’s cheap (free to file) and easy, especially if you use an ad monitoring platform to automatically detect and file the complaints on your behalf. Before you get super-excited, however, there are some limitations:
Another method to enforce protection is with agreements. Agreements give you stronger and more reliable legal recourse than just complaining to the engines alone.
A lawsuit based on trademark infringement should be your last resort. Trademark lawsuits are expensive and challenging to win (as noted earlier). The caveat is if you have a pact or agreement that prohibits brand bidding, and you have proof of the advertising activity through date/time stamped screen shots, then you have a stronger chance for victory.
The enforcement component to a successful brand bidding strategy is well within the reach of any marketer or agency. This article has shown that enforcement is attainable with a foundation of always-on ad monitoring, coupled with complaints to the search engines (who do listen!), strong agreements to clarify what’s permissible within your industry and with partners and (as a last resort) lawsuits.
Each data point I see from my company’s search marketing clients continues to support that brand bidding is the most effective tactic for achieving meaningful PPC growth to your 2016 ROAS (return on ad spend). By following the practices discussed throughout this article series, you can achieve results that will impress any manager or client.
Stay tuned in two weeks for Part 7 of my series, where I get to the meat of how brand bidding produces results similar to what Avery experienced. That article will explain how to effectively bid on other advertisers’ brands and will show a few examples of larger brands that have figured out the winning formula. We’re nearing the finish line in our brand bidding series — hope to see you soon!
The post Brand bidding & PPC optimization: enforcement options (Part 6 of 8) appeared first on Search Engine Land.