Why and How to do Branding in Search? | Articles

Very often advertisers that need to build brand awareness will first think about Display Advertising. Of course it makes perfect sense. Display allows a broad reach with the possibility to accurately target the audience based on your offer and on your positioning. It allows you to visually communicate on your brand in a unique way.

But it’s very uncommon that advertisers think about doing Search… Indeed they very often associate Search with direct lead/transaction generation which is making this channel useless when considering running a Branding campaign...

Why doing Branding in Search?

It’s not a secret if I’m saying Google Search is an engine used by billions of people. Billions of searches are done everyday. It’s a huge network in terms of reach. But reach is not only incontestable. It is also particularly qualitative. All those users running searches are potentially ready to take actions or at least to get informed for a future action.
Very often when you launch your new brand or when you have awareness issues you’re not part of the first consideration set of brands in user mind. It means your traffic on keywords linked to your brand name/offer is very limited. People don’t search for you because they don’t know you. But then how to do search advertising?

You need to capitalize on other kinds of keywords to first make users aware of you and second to make them consider you as a potential supplier. What kind of keywords could you buy to increase your brand visibility?

  • Generic Keywords directly linked to your offer. Let’s say you’re a new low cost electricity supplier. No doubt it would make perfect sense for you to buy keywords such as “electricity supplier”, “low cost electricity”, etc
  • Out-of-scope Generic Keywords. Now let’s think about your audience and about when they would be the most likely to change electricity supplier? What about buying keywords around moving? Or about renovations? Or even about solar panel installations?
Of course performance on such generic keywords will be lower vs. brand related keywords, especially for the out-of-scope keywords. But imagine the qualitative search volume potential and the visibility it can give your brand if you’re well enough positioned...
However don’t expect to generate direct leads. The click rate will be lower, position might be lower as well, same for the impression share. It’s very important to follow some basic rules:

5 Best Practices for a good “Search Branding Campaign”

  • Understand your audience and properly identify their “purchase/lead moments” in order for you to generate good Generic Keywords lists.
  • Quality score and thus positioning: as mentioned above performance of such generic keywords might be poorer vs. other keywords. As you certainly know 3 factors will impact your quality score: Click rate, Relevance and Landing Page. How can you optimise on those factors? Make sure your ad text is adapted to the “purchase/lead moment” you’re targeting. Make sure your site is adapted as well. Don’t hesitate to create new landing pages that are directly related to those moments. And in case you really don’t want those keywords to impact your whole account you can buy them in a specific account.
  • Visibility: don’t forget your initial goal: generate brand awareness. To do so your ad needs to be visible. But as mentioned above visibility is a challenge. It requires a thorough work on ad texts, landing pages, etc. That’s why it’s clearly recommended to be present only on keywords categories that really matter to you. Maximize and optimise your presence on those keywords instead of spreading yourself on too many topics with in the end very poor results. Using all possible Ad Extensions in AdWords will help you to achieve a higher visibility. Adding this extra and relevant information will enable you to use more space in the Search Engine Result Page.
  • KPI’s: accurately select your campaigns KPI’s and as mentioned above don’t expect direct leads/sales or a 100% impression share but rather assisted conversions and a rational impression share given your investment and your relevancy level for the keywords you’ll purchase.
  • Competition: a recurring question when discussing branding is “should I buy my competition brand/product names”? It’s a very touchy topics. Despite it might be tempting it’s usually not recommended to do so. Why?
    • Your competitor could decide to do the same. In this case you’ll start paying a lot for your own brand keywords and the only winner will be Google or Bing.
    • Based on our experience such keywords generally give very poor results in terms of click rate unless you have an adapted ad text and a dedicated landing page (with an offer comparison for instance).
Now you have the main keys to build a good Search Branding campaign. But be careful, I’m not saying branding in Search is replacing branding in Display. Both are complementary. It’s vital to catch user attention with visual banners to present him the brand colour code and to present him your offer. Especially as with bannering you can expect a high reach and thus generate a good visits volume on your website.
Visits generated through the Search Branding campaign will be even more qualitative. As mentioned above, user is busy doing a search, he was not considering your brand but he clicked on your ad so he definitely demonstrated an interest for your brand.
Finally it’s important to note that Display & Search will mutually influence each other. Indeed a user who saw a well targeted banner of your brand (even if he didn’t click on it) is much more likely to afterward click on your ad when conducting a search on Google or Bing…
Author: Doriane Magnus


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