Editor's Note: Back in the day, the lovelorn and lost could turn to Dear Abby for guidance. Well, we want you to know that if you ever face a search advertising dilemma that's getting you down, our devoted Yahoo! Search Account Management team is here to listen and help. Below, we enlist one of our AMs to answer a common search advertiser quandary.
Dear Search Expert,
My website, CatHoodies.com, is optimized for SEO, and we get great algo results for our brand terms. Should I pay for these keywords if I already get a good position for free?
Dear Cat Lady,
Great question. In my opinion, the answer is yes. If you don't, it could be a catastrophe! (See what I did there? Funny, right? … right? …)
Some think that if your site is at or near the top of the organic search results, there's no point in bidding on your brand term. Well in the words of the great English philosopher John Locke, "That ain't right, yo." At least I think he said that. Anyway…I recommend that my clients bid on their brand name, misspellings of their brand name, and common phrases that include their brand. Here's why:
Outclaw your competitors
You don't want to get into a cat fight, but competitors, resellers, and affiliates can bid on your brand term and have their link appear in premium advertising positions above the organic results (Check out our editorial guidelines for trademarks for details on this). This could result in a loss of traffic and, more importantly, a loss of revenue. However, if you bid on your brand term, your ad should garner a much higher CTR and quality score than your competitors due to relevance and should easily have prime real estate at the top of the search results page. Plus, because of the potentially higher quality score, you'll be paying a lot less than your competitors (take that, CatsInTheHood.com - Meeeow!).
Put it this way: it's better to spend a tiny bit of money protecting your brand than to not spend at all and lose possible conversions to your competitors.
Purrr-fectly target and customize ad copy
Another reason to bid on your own brand terms is the fact that you can determine the messaging that your potential customers see first. As I mentioned before, including your brand terms in your SEM account will put your ad at the top of the overall search results page, and you can dynamically adjust the copy to share key messages. For example, if you wanted to inform searchers of a sale going on right now (50% off all Bill Belichick cat hoodies. Today only!), you can easily modify the text within the ad and get it active in seconds! On organic, it's not as easy.
This can also provide you with a terrific opportunity to test out various marketing messages and "calls to action" to identify which ones resonate the best with your customers. When you advertise on your brand terms on the Yahoo! Bing Network, you also have the ability to create Rich Ads in Search. Using images, videos, multiple page links, and other interactive features, Rich Ads in Search create a more engaging experience for your prospective customers—and can help drive more of them to your website. These dynamic ads are the perfect complement to existing search ad campaigns, and average a 45-55%1 higher CTR when compared to a standard text ad.
Protect your turf
Finally, bidding on your brand term will give you some protection from any negative ads being run by your competitors. Even though there are policies in place to avoid infringements, it is the trademark owner's responsibility to monitor and address any issues. Additionally, you can't prevent other businesses from bidding on the brand related keywords.
At the end of the day, Cat Lady, bidding on your brand term will protect you from your competitors and may provide you with incremental revenue. It'll leave you feline good! (Better? Wait … don't go!)
Arran Gimba, Senior Creative Strategist, Yahoo!
1 Internal Yahoo! and Microsoft Data Q1 2012