How branded keywords (and non-branded keywords) can help you make the most of your PPC campaign

Branded keywords refer to search terms that usually include your brand or product name exactly, such as “Embryo,” “Needle”, or “Intermingle”. They can be really useful for being savvy with your ad budget in PPC campaigns, but it’s important to understand the impact they can have on your website’s rankings and overall performance to determine if they’re worth the extra investment.

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How do branded keywords relate to PPC?

When you initiate a PPC campaign in order to boost traffic to your website, you’ll most likely have an ad budget that Google will either use throughout the day (standard) or quickly (accelerated) depending on which Ad Delivery Option you select.

By making use of branded keywords in your campaign, you’ll have a lower CPC (cost per click) and higher rate of conversions, but you’ll have paid more to bid on that keyword initially. This means effectively that you spend more in the first instance to sell more in the long run.

However, it’s important to assess whether branded keywords are worth the extra investment; often they can increase your CTR (click through rate) but generate a lower CPA (cost per action), which can ultimately offset your overall performance.

Let’s start by looking at when branded keywords can boost your PPC campaign.

Boosting your business with branded keywords

When it comes to bidding on branded keywords, how important they are to your rankings and conversion rates depends on the goals of your business and how established you are on SERPs (search engine results pages) already. If a branded keyword is central to your brand identity and conveys a unique selling point that sets you apart from competitors, it could be worth the investment.

Amy Phelan, our Senior PPC Executive here at Embryo advises: “The most common reason why a PPC specialist may decide to bid on brand names is to protect their brand presence. This typically happens when competitors also bid on your brand name, hoping to divert your traffic.”

Often its relatively inexpensive to bid on your own brand name, making it worthwhile to reclaim your traffic in these situations. However, if your company is called something generic, or makes use of a homonym, like “Embryo” for example, this can make it more difficult to build your rankings organically. By bidding on your brand terms, including your name, your company is more likely to turn up prominently and frequently, instead of biological reports on prenatal development.

By including these significant keywords in your ads, you also reduce the potential for customer confusion around exactly what your product or service is, which increases the likelihood of conversions. These key terms also give you more control over the positioning of your brand and exactly who your target audience are. This is especially useful if you’re targeting a specific audience who you want to engage with your ads and your product.

These key terms are also useful to supplement rankings for a certain product or service you offer if it’s especially important or relevant to your brand identity. In the same vein, by paying more for certain keywords, you prevent other businesses from blocking the lead generation process by targeting your terms.

On the other hand, there are occasions when branded keywords might be considered a waste of your ad budget.

Blasting your budget on branded keywords

For example, a higher demand for certain terms can potentially lead to a bidding war which in turn could provoke a huge increase in CPC. While these priority terms can be good for protecting your brand image, your company might have a high search volume but low competition. This could apply to your business especially if you’re not in a particularly competitive industry, you have a mutual agreement with your competitors, or your company offers something particularly unique.

If this is the case for your company, paying extra for specific keywords is effectively throwing money away at a competition that isn’t a real enough threat to warrant using up your ad budget in this way.

We recommend being especially cautious about this if you have a low PPC budget. If you’ve not got many funds allocated to PPC, your company’s priority should be focusing on SEO in order to maximise your site’s rankings and customer engagement through organic traffic, rather than PPC ads. This will allow you to grow your business through new users first, and focus on a broader brand campaign later on.

So you’ve decided to cast your bid

If you do decide to bid on branded keywords, there are some useful things to remember so that you’re not aiding competitors, and you can get the most out of your investment in your website.

Although you have to be prepared to spend a bit more in a bid, it’s easy to fall into a trap of paying too much for PPC traffic. Make sure you research bidding strategies so that you’re not overpaying and cutting into your potential revenue more than you’re prepared to.

Negative keywords can come in useful when buying traffic because it means only your ads come up for that search term, rather than you paying for your competitors’ traffic by proxy.

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