Should you bid on your brand keywords for paid search?

Surprisingly, many people unfamiliar with how paid search works are adamant that bidding on brand keywords is an unacceptable practice in search marketing.

The logic sounds simple enough: why would you pay Google for a click when they would just go to your website anyway?

This logic is dead wrong

The truth is that while many searchers will click on the top organic result (somewhere around 44%, more or less depending on your source), organic search results are likely only drawing in less than half of the clicks for a brand keyword. That leaves 56% of all searchers not finding a brand website - either going to a competitor or stopping their search altogether.

Search marketers shouldn't be satisfied until they capture 100% of those brand searchers.

There are plenty of advantages to bidding on brand terms for paid search, including: 

  • These clicks are dirt cheap. Your quality score will likely be a 10 for your brand name (unless your site is in flash), and there is often lower competition than category keywords, so you can get clicks for cents on the dollar.
  • Your click thru rates are astronomical, often 10% or higher. Would you rather receive 60% of the clicks for your brand or just 44%?
  • It's incremental! Google has published studies showing that brand search provides incremental value to the tune of an 89% increase in clicks by relying only on organic search results
  • Sitelinks extensions allow you to help the user navigate to your most important pages. While sitelinks exist in organic search as well, you have a lot less control over what shows up
  • Above the Fold. Google is pushing organic search results below the fold, which will force your natural listing even lower over time
  • Paid search is transparent, so you have the metrics available to tell the exact impact of advertising on brand keywords

We know that you have worked hard to build your brand, so it is our duty to explain to you how much your brand will help your results, lower costs, and bring you more business.

It's time to stop thinking small when it comes to bidding on brand keyword terms. It's time to start thinking about incremental business at a very  low cost per acquisition.

That is what makes the most business sense.