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Four Ways To Be More Strategic With PPC Brand Campaigns

“Why should I pay to rank on my own brand when organic results give me traffic for free?”

This does seem to be the eternal question facing PPC managers. Whether a client spends vast amounts per week or not it is likely that those of us working in paid search have heard this deceivingly exacting yet undeniably valid question before.

Best practice dictates that bidding on brand terms is certainly a beneficial pursuit but whilst the traditional argument will often touch upon “real estate protection”, “competitor aggression” or “event promotion”; this article will aim to suggest 4 fresh strategies in aid of justifying PPC Brand activity by demonstrating the often overlooked potential available to us when it comes to running cost effective Brand campaigns.

 Match Type Strategy

Are you still using phrase match keywords?
Swapping out Phrase Match Keywords for a thorough build out of Exact Match working in tandem with a handful of BMMs will not only provide full coverage on any potential search term but will also effectively cut your campaign management by a third.

Effect of Match Types

Effect of Match Types

Splitting adgroups out by match type is also important as it allows you to implement more relevant optimisations specific to each match type especially in relation to negative keyword strategy. Negative keywords, whilst traditionally used to prevent ads from showing against potentially unsuitable search terms, also play a vital role in preventing the cannibalisation of keywords in your account. 


Many of us are well acquainted with the traditional use of remarketing lists for search ads i.e. bidding up on more qualified users (those that have already visited your site etc.).However, a much more tactful approach to implanting RLSAs on Brand is taking advantage of negative audience lists.

New customer acquisition is important for any business’ growth but what about those returning customers who know exactly who you are? Will they not simply find their way through organic listings?

With negative RLSA audiences you can chose to exclude PPC ads from users that have already been on site, interacted with particular content or already converted previously.


The savings that can be made from having confidence in your existing customers and only showing PPC ads to new users can be very substantial thus allowing you to reinvest a stretched budget in other areas of an account.

Positional Bidding

My primary objective with PPC Brand campaigns is ranking first, isn’t it? Not necessarily. The cost of jumping up from position 3 to position 1 can be exponential. This means it is sometimes more cost effective to sacrifice the “vanity top spot” for having more affordable visibility further down the SERP.

Have faith in your potential customers. Does everyone blindly click the first link no matter what it is? Having good content in ad copy and Heavily Brand focused Headlines (including trademark symbols where possible) may be enough to guide the user’s eye further down the page beyond your competitors (the user did type in your company’s name after all) . The only way to know for sure is to test. It may surprise you where the sweet spot actually lays for Brand efficiency.

Geo/Day Of Week/Hour Of Day

With Brand PPC I need to run an “always on” approach? Maybe not.
Are there parts of the country that resonate with your Brand more than others? Find out and implement the leanings.It may be the case that intricacies specific to your business or your client’s business are effecting performance in different regions or cities. Using location bid modifiers you can drill down and be more aggressive where is may add more value and ease off or even exclude altogether those regions that are not performing . The same can be said for day of week and hour of day. When do the majority of your conversions take place? Is this in line with traffic volume? Using ad scheduling in adwords allows you to capitalise on the hours and days that really matter or to pull back on times that may not be worthwhile.

ppc graph 2

Effect of time of day

In summary, the next time you find yourself justifying Brand spend in your PPC account, before you resort to pausing activity, ask yourself first if you’ve explored every avenue available to make the Campaigns as cost effective as possible.

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