Company Name Bidding, or Brand Name bidding on Pay-Per-Click is a very common practice within the Digital Marketing arena. I mean, why wouldn't you want to place ads on your brand or organisation name? In this article I would like to challenge the convention that company name bidding on PPC is a necessity and an obvious choice when selecting your keyword basket.
Firstly, the pro's.... By placing ads on the SERP that displays your company name sounds obvious; more exposure, more Google "real-estate" taken up and more chance of a click-thru. Also, competitors cannot take up this space if you occupy it. If your PPC ad occupies the top space, and you are ranked 1st organically, then everything is rosy.... right?
Yes, your branded ad works great, the click-thru, the conversion and the CPA are all high. The quality score is very high, digital marketers would be silly not to bid and bid highly on these keywords, right?
Well, I beg to differ, and for one key reason. Think about the intent of the user when they key in that search term of your brand. Think of the keywords "British Airways" as shown in the picture attached. They rank in the top position organically and paid, their excellent structured data is displayed as well, they monopolise the entire page above the fold... perfect isn't it? Well, not when you think about the intent of the user. They user hasn't searched for "compare flight prices" or "flights from Belfast to London", they have searched for "British Airways", they have already made up their mind that they want to go to this site, their intent is to go to British Airways only. Sure a small proportion may be distracted by a KLM ad at the top of the Paid Search ads, however this will most likely have a very poor conversion rate for KLM and will cost them a fortune. And KLM can do this regardless of whether BA bid on their brand name anyway.
Digital Marketers will tell you that branded PPC has a very high CTR/Conversion/CPA rate, and it makes PPC campaigns look great, but the reality is that they distort the organic search performance and haemorrhage budget because they don't drive any new traffic to the website. Digital Marketers, engrossed in their own digital hemisphere, also believe that consumers know the difference between Paid and Organic search results, or even care. When they search for a company name, they don't even want a SERP, they intend to go directly to the website, and thus click on the fastest route.
The keyword tells us all. Someone searching for a company name (British Airways) is much further down the buying process than someone searching on a generic term (cheap flights). Therefore searching for "British Airways" tells us that they are decided... they want to fly British Airways and are ready to book. This is why PPC on the company/brand name performs so well. Measure the organic search conversion results without the PPC and you will most likely find that it more than makes up the difference, provided infact you rank number 1 organically and have your schema metatags pulling though on the SERP page.
Spend your money on keywords where the intent of the user is clear.
Company name bidding is akin to handing someone a flyer for shoes while they queue at the till of your store, with a pair of shoes in their hands, ready to pay. Give a flyer to potential customers when they are undecided, but have decided they want to buy shoes.