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Don’t be part of PPC horror stories by stop bidding to branded keywords

Hey digital folks! Have you ever thought about what the most common question have you get on Google Adwords? It will probably be one of the following. What’s the quality score? What’s the best attribution model to grow your business? What’s the best targeting strategies? (Nope it’s trending nowadays)

Those are valuable questions, but in this post, I would like to share my experience on the question “should I bid on my branded keywords?” This question was probably asked within one week after Google launched the ads services.

It’s a very popular question because the effects on bidding or not bidding branded keywords are so changing depending on your brand value, competitors and the device user search on. I would like to keep your attention to not giving you an answer without proper testing first.

So let’s start with looking at the hypothesis is if you stop bidding (investing) on your branded keywords in paid search ads, the user may have been listed on Google search organically for free. (Paid traffic cannibalize to organic traffic)

Let’s imagine your Google search experience on a mobile device. You prefer to click on the first result, instead of scrolling down even you search for branded keywords. But, what if the first result is not user looking for.

(The right screenshot shows the result of Booking.com if it wasn’t listed on the Google ads.)

The screenshot shows the result when you insert the word “booking” isn’t listed on Google search ads, the traffic can go to a different website that did list on Google search ads. (The one on the right side of screenshot)

Amazon, Booking, eBay can be an outlier. The user will quickly realize if they miss clicked (because of the well-know branding of these big brand names), but it’s not the same for most other eCommerce websites. Even though a company might have a high brand value, it should be tested to ensure that your brand name and keywords find the best possible search result. The user clicks the ads (miss click), starts browsing the products, and then they start with the checkout process. But wait a minute, it’s not the website he/she has searched on Google, it’s a new one. And also probably the user doesn’t have an account on this particular website. What should the user do in this situation? Go back to Google and search again or create a new account for the website he assessed with a miss click? This is the decision he/she is confronted with. Also, please don’t ignore the user on the checkout page, he/she so close to churning for you. It’s a user you gained and took away from your competitors.

Let’s think about a user searching from a desktop. The experience is completely different from a mobile device. The screen is big enough to see multiple other websites that are listed. So it’s a bit much more difficult to gain traffic the miss clicks.

(The right screenshot shows the result of Booking.com if wasn’t listed on the Google ads.)

As you see, it still possible to lose traffic to Airbnb if you don’t list on the Google ads results.

Next critical question is, “Are you sure to be listed as a first result?” If you don’t or Google prefers to list your videos, images, location rather than your web sites, then you likely lose the traffic intended for your website.

The right screenshot shows the result of Booking.com if wasn’t listed on the Google ads.

As you see, the traffic goes to the Google hotel search if the word “booking” isn’t listed on the Google ads.

Or do your competitors bid your branded keywords? If not, there is no need to worry about that. You can check on Google ads auction insights report.

Amazon looks so lucky, right?

But the question is, how you can get the Google ads auction insights reports after you stopped bidding on Google search ads? (Please share your comments below)


In a nutshell, mobile, and desktop, Google search experiences are different. Even your existing customers’ behavior is not the same as the new user. So you should consider the different cases before you go ahead with deciding if you should or shouldn’t bid on keywords.

Would you like to get more insights? Check it out Neslihan’s posts👇

 

I love digging through data to get answers to marketing questions. Please say hey! on Twitter and lets surf in the data ocean together 🏄

Sahin Secil

Backed by 10 years of agency experience, Sahin Secil helps companies make more money through digital marketing by turning data into insight and knowledge.