Though some search marketers think bidding on branded keywords hurts your traffic, doing so ultimately results in more clicks for you - and less for your competitors.

Search marketers have long debated the merits of bidding on brand terms, whether it's the company name or specific trademarks and products. The "pro" side of the debate? More clicks for you; fewer for your competitors. The "con"? By bidding on your own brand terms, according to some naysayers, you could just be cannibalizing your organic traffic. But, as in most arguments, hard evidence ultimately wins the day.

To Bid or Not to Bid

Bing Ads has been studying the impact of brand term bidding for some time. And we've discovered that, while performance of brand name keywords is impacted by a number of factors, this is a strategy that works - effectively letting you play both offense and defense. That means - you guessed it - more clicks for you and fewer for your competitors.

To get to that data, our researchers recently did a deep dive into two major vertical markets, analyzing 3 million impressions for retail and 400,000 impressions for travel. They looked at the majority of brand terms associated with each industry, and evaluated two scenarios: when brand terms were present on the results page, and when brand terms were not present. The results were compelling.

Bidding for Clicks

Without a brand ad, a major travel brand we studied received 61 percent of clicks from organic listings. When a brand ad was present, overall clicks increased by 27 percent, even when we factored in paid clicks they may have received anyway from an organic listing.

Retail had similar results - with 60 percent of clicks from organic listings when no brand ad was used, and an incremental click gain (Read more...) 31 percent when brand ads were used. The bottom line? Bidding on your own brand terms simply delivers more clicks.

Protecting your Turf

For many advertisers - especially in competitive verticals like travel and retail - playing defense is reason enough to bid on brand terms. The fact is, when no brand ad is present, competitors are getting a disturbingly large share of your clicks.

For travel, it's nearly 40 percent, a share that was reduced to just 12 percent when a brand term was added.


For one retail brand we studied, clicks on competitors' ads decreased from 34 percent to just 4 percent with a brand ad. That's more than compelling. It's a no-brainer.


The High Cost of Not Bidding

As it turns out, the risks of not bidding on your own brand terms are high - even if you have a strong SEO strategy in place. You'll not only get a lower click-yield, you'll also lose clicks to more aggressive competitors who are constantly looking for new ways to "conquest" your brand searches.

The good news is that when it comes to search advertising, data is power. And we have plenty of data - gathered over time and across many industries - to shut down the debate on brand term bidding. So as you're planning your next campaign, don't miss out on your opportunity to play both offense and defense as you go for the big win: Bid on brand terms.

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