If you’re not bidding on brand terms, you could be making a huge mistake. Find out why brand keywords are a must to compete in the paid search market.

The world of paid search marketing has come a long way. The days of having a campaign filled with keywords that cost you five cents per click are long gone. The market has become more saturated and competitive. Many brands face the decision of whether to bid on their brand terms, wondering whether it’s worth paying for something that they can rank organically for.

To save you some time, we dug into the details of why bidding on brand terms is a must in today’s paid search market. These keywords are on the less expensive side with a higher likelihood of converting, leading to a high return on ad spend  – a no-brainer in terms of profit. 

Here are four strong reasons why you should bid on branded keywords.

Prevent Competitors From Stealing Your Brand Traffic

Just because you aren’t bidding on your brand terms doesn’t mean your competitors aren’t. Tweet this!

Keyword competition for branded queries  is on the rise. Companies are finding they can acquire customers by bidding on their competitors' names. If you have a strong brand, chances are competitors will want to dip into your success.

How can you beat competitors who are bidding on your brand terms

Be better than them. You will have the top quality score over your competitor, and your bid won’t have to be as high as your competitor’s. If you place your bid a bit higher, the maximum bid for your competitor will rise, eventually chasing them out of the spot once  it is   no longer profitable for them.

Maximize your paid real estate. Make sure to increase ad size by including ad extensions such as callouts, sitelinks, and reviews. Ad extensions play two roles: they take up more real estate, and they further educate the searcher. Your ad will take up more space, pushing your competitors' lower on the page. The additional ad extensions also provide the user with more information to learn about why they need/want to click through to your site. Ad extensions give different sets of information: from value added propositions in callouts to deep linking with site links, and showing customer contentment with reviews and ratings to exact location with location extensions. Use as much information as possible to educate searchers and move the competition further below you.


Take this screenshot of a Google search for “grandview dentist.” Taking up real estate is crucial on mobile. In order to see organic listings, a mobile user has to scroll past shopping ads, search ads, and local listings. Typically,  only 1.5 ads appear   before a user starts scrolling. You can’t rely on a user to be that diligent to get to mobile organic listings. Make sure the first ad they see is you, and not a competitor.  

Fight the legal battle. Stay up to date with search engines’ trademark policies. If your competitor’s ads are infringing upon your brand’s rights, file a complaint with the search engine to have the ads removed.

Maximize SERPs Real Estate on Branded Searches

You can’t rely solely on your organic rankings anymore. 

At the end of 2015,  Bing    released data demonstrating that, when advertisers bid on their branded terms, they gained 30% more clicks, versus when they only had a top organic listing. While there is an 11% overlap that would have been captured by the organic listing, the overall gains are much greater.

It is important to have strong strategies for both paid and organic that work together. In today’s market, it is  no longer possible only to rely on your organic listings to capture all branded clicks.

Running paid ads on branded keywords can often lead to constructive cannibalization, or when the presence of an ad increases the overall traffic volume. Some of this traffic may be stolen from the organic listing, but there are incremental clicks. Data shows that only 11% of retail brand ad clicks and 18% of travel brand ad clicks would have gone to organic listings, so the overall gains are clearly beneficial to running both.


Deter Competitors from Bidding

In addition to gaining more clicks for yourself by running both organic and paid listings, you will chase away competitor clicks. Bing found that when you have no brand ad running, you lose 34% of clicks to a competitor ad, and 6% to competitor organic listings. Compare that to when you run a brand ad + strong organic listing, you will only lose a total of 9% of clicks to competitors.


In addition to winning more clicks, you can control your messaging more easily with paid ads than with organic listings. Try deep linking your users to other pages, and promoting sales and seasonal messaging with ad copy to achieve this. 

Make it Easy for Customers – And You'll Capitalize

Consumers love branded searches - and if they are looking for your brand, they want your product. These users are typically further down the funnel, and therefore more likely to  make a buying decision.

Consumers can be lazy, so make it easy for them to find, and ultimately purchase, your product. Many consumers mistake the search engine bar for the browser URL bar, and will need additional guidance to find your site if they end up searching for it by mistake. 

While the thought of not spending on branded terms because your organic listings are capturing all branded searches was once relevant, it is no longer the case. A strong dual strategy of both organic and paid listings for branded terms is the best way to capture your potential customers, push competitors out, and be the most successful in the digital advertising market.