Three Reasons Why Brand-Bidding Against Your Competitors Isn’t Worth It

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Brand bidding is the practice of bidding on brand names in order to advertise on a search engine’s (like Google Ads) search results for a particular search term. Though it makes sense to bid on your own brand, it’s a common tactic to bid on your competitors’ keywords in order to “steal” traffic from them. This article is about whether or not the practice of brand bidding is indeed worthy of your investment

The basis for Google Ads is that you can place an advert at the top of a search results page for a specific keyword or term. So, if you sell a particular brand in your shop then it definitely makes sense to bid on this keyword. However, if you’re bidding on brands that you don’t carry (like your competitors’ brand), then is it really worth it just to get a little more traffic on your page? Here are some problems that you could run into it.

Problem #1: Dissatisfied visitors

With brand-bidding, your strategy might be to simply gain more traffic to your site by advertising under a competitor’s keyword. This could be problematic if you don’t really carry the brand or even if you don’t keep much of that brand in stock.

For example, imagine you sell sneakers. Your shop carries mostly brand X, which isn’t very popular. You also carry a few models of brand Y sneakers, a much more well-known sneaker company. Because you know that “sneaker Y” is a more popular search term than “sneaker X”, your strategy is to advertise your shop with the keyword “sneaker Y”. Your ad would look something like this:

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With this ad, you’ve definitely gotten the shopper’s attention and they’ll most like visit your shop. In fact, you’ll most likely get a few visitors with this ad- and probably also disappoint them all. When someone searches for something specific and is led to your shop, only to be disappointed, they will most likely not buy anything and will probably leave with a bad impression of your store.

Problem #2: Bad quality scores & higher CPCs

Through the disappointed visitor, we get our second problem: Google Ads can recognise when visitors don’t stay long on your website and click back to the search results page. Through this, Google will adjust your quality score for this keyword.

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Since the actual CPC (cost per click) is factored by the bid and the quality score, the CPCs go higher when the quality drops. This is to discourage advertisers from bidding on irrelevant keywords. Another quality score factor is whether or not the brand you bid on is in your advert. If you bid on that brand and it’s also in your advert, then the link is stronger in Google’s eyes. However, you may be taking a legal risk by mentioning their brand in your advert, depending on the country you’re in. If the brand isn’t in the advert, then your quality score will suffer due to the missing link.

Generally speaking, Google Ads will check if the keyword, advert, and landing page match thematically.

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Problem #3: Competitive rivalry

Let’s say you’re bidding on a direct rival’s brand in this next scenario. Normally, your rival would be the only one bidding on their own keywords. Now, however, they have a competitor bidding on their brand’s search terms. Since it is an auction, having more bidders will naturally drive the costs per click up.

This might sound good, but you’re really just wasting money because you’ll never have the same quality score as the actual brand owner. They’ll clearly have the strongest connection between keyword, advert and landing page, therefore having lower CPCs than you would. Besides that, your rival might now consider bidding on your keywords, which will naturally raise the CPCs for your adverts.

Conclusion

In the long run, brand-bidding rarely makes sense. You might try to gain more visibility by using popular brands’ keywords, but you might also anger your competitors. It might sound like a cutthroat strategy, but you won’t really win over satisfied customers this way. 

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