Monday, September 17, 2012

Does investment in paid search brand campaigns deliver incremental revenue?


This is a common question web managers ask agencies. Many marketers believe that driving transactions and revenue from brand campaigns is easy (that’s not strictly true – there are easy wins but it takes intelligent optimisation to maximise reach) and the real challenge is with generic keyphrases.
However, it’s a dangerous assumption to make that brand investment is not required because searchers will find organic listings for all brand keyphrases and click.
This is often not the case. You need to understand the implications of query type (exact vs. phrase vs. broad) and brand + generic keyphrases (where your brand name is found in a keyphrase with non-brand terms e.g. argos camping tents) on your SEO visibility. 
If you have a PPC brand campaign using broad match, it’s possible that for some variations of the matched queries, your organic listing will not be in the top position. For SERPs with high paid search/inclusion competition, being outside the top two positions means being below the fold.
Paid search can be a sensible investment to plug these gaps and enhance your search presence. This blog is a walk through of how I approached a recent Client project to try and prove the value of continued investment in paid search brand campaigns.

Setting the challenge.

There are several reasons why but proving them requires more than quoting research and ‘best practice’. The main reasons are:
  1. Some online searchers will click on paid search ads over organic listings. As the variety of paid search increases (e.g. image ads, email sign-up box, sitelinks), people are being conditioned to use sponsored ads.
  2. Protecting brand territory is important online. Paid search can plug gaps in SEO coverage and support your organic listings.
  3. Paid search is a great place to experiment with copy and calls to action, which can then be used to optimise webpages for SEO to target increased click through.
  4. Reinforcing your presence with paid search provides brand authority and can help increase the likelihood of a click on your organic listings.
  5. Google relaxed its T&Cs for bidding on competitor brand terms. In competitive markets, a lack of brand focus can mean conceding search real estate to your competitors when people most want to find you.

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