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Should You Pay for Your Own Name?

brandedkeywords spotlight LinkedIn 2-01


The Surprising Pros and Cons of Bidding on Branded Keywords

JJ Zoch , Media Planner & Buyer at The Karma Group


We often get asked whether it's beneficial to include your brand name in paid search keywords or not. Why spend money on my branded keywords when my audience is already searching for them?

Imagine you own a popular burger joint and a new burger spot opens right across the street. You wouldn't let them steal your customers by having a bigger sign, right? Branded keyword ads work similarly. By claiming your top spot in search results, you push competitors down the page, ensuring your loyal customers find you first and potentially discouraging curious eyes from wandering the online street.

Keep reading for our reasons why you should or shouldn't utilize branded keywords in your paid search campaigns.pros LinkedIn 2-025 pros to using branded keywords in paid search campaigns:

  1. Real Estate – The more you show up on search engine results pages (SERPs), the more visibility and better chance someone clicks thru to your website. This can be organic or paid.
  2. Defend – Your competitors are likely going after your branded keywords, so you’ll want to make sure your ad shows up higher than your competitors. Your quality score should be much higher than your competitors, making it harder for them to steal your customers.
  3. Cost Effectiveness – Your branded terms will have less competition and a very high-quality score. This will lead to a low cost-per-click (CPC).
  4. Control Your Message – Craft the message you want your customer to see by highlighting an offer, promotion, or other aspect of your brand. This can be done by adding site links and a compelling ad description.
  5. Build Brand Recognition – Consistently showing up on the search page will help build brand awareness and keep your brand top of mind.

We always recommend breaking your branded keywords out into their own campaign. This will help control the budget, and it won’t skew the data in your non-brand campaigns. It’s also important to add your brand name as a negative keyword on your non-brand campaigns to prevent your branded keywords from showing up.

In most cases, you should be going after branded keywords. However, there are some reasons why it might not be beneficial for your situation.

cons LinkedIn 2-035 cons to using branded keywords in paid search campaigns:

  1. No Competition – You have a niche product or no one else is bidding on your brand's keyword. No reason to waste money.
  2. Small Budget – If you don’t have the budget and you would rather focus your money elsewhere.
  3. Too Much Competition – If you’re in a highly competitive field, with many others bidding on your name, it could get expensive bidding on your brand name.
  4. Strong Organic Listing – If you have a strong brand name, low/no competition, and already show up organically at the top of the results page.
  5. Missed Opportunities – If people are already searching for your brand, you might be missing out on the opportunity to bid for other non-branded keywords that could get new customers that aren’t already familiar with your brand.

It's tempting to skip bidding on your brand name because people are already searching for it, but doing so can hurt your reach and brand control. Bidding on your branded keywords increases visibility, defends against competitors, and lets you craft targeted messages at a lower cost. However, consider skipping it if you have no competition, are on a tight budget, or are in a highly competitive field.

Ultimately, the decision to bid on branded keywords is a nuanced choice that is dependent on the unique circumstances of each brand. You'll need to delve into factors such as brand visibility, competition, and audience behavior, in order to tailor your approach to align with your specific brand objectives. Not sure where to start? Let's connect.

JJ Zoch , Media Planner & Buyer at The Karma Group

With 11 years of experience navigating the ever-evolving media landscape, JJ specializes in digital advertising campaigns that deliver maximum impact. He blends data and industry knowledge to identify the right channels and optimization strategies for measurable ROI. Outside of work, he's an avid Green Bay Packer fan, husband, father, and occasional golfer.