Bidding on your competitor’s brand names – the names of a competitor’s company or product – is a great way to dramatically increase your company’s impressions, clicks, conversions or views. I’m sure you’ve run across related ads before. Let’s say you type something very specific into the search bar like, Nike Running Shoes, and an ad for Footlocker or Amazon appears.
Fair enough, after all they stock that product. But, you may also see ads for Puma, Adidas or Reebok. Why? These companies know that you’re in the market for running shoes and they want to capitalize on the popularity of the competition.
This popular marketing tactic can be seen everywhere from fast food chains (a different one on every corner) to malls with countless clothing shops.
1) Get Access to Clicks & Leads that are Ready to Purchase
When you offer a similar product or service as your competition, you can piggyback on the bigger brand name recognition to achieve your marketing goals – whether you want to: increase brand awareness, generate traffic to your website, take action on your site, or increase video views.
Working “with” your competitors is one of the best ways to get a qualified audience; meaning individuals or businesses who are ready to take the leap. If they’re interested in the competition and you show them how you are, not only, similar but offer something even more tempting (more on that later) they are “ripe for the pickin’.”
2) Bidding On Your Competitors Brand is Cheap
Brand names will typically cost less then other clicks because there isn’t much competition for them. Usually, it is the most relevant branded terms, that result in high CTRs that lead to high quality scores, and often the cheapest CPCs.
Even if your competitors only have a few hundred searches a month, the cost to bid on a company brand name is likely going to be very small, because the costs of targeting that particular keyword is based upon how many other people are targeting that keyword. So in most cases you’re facing very little competition which means the cost per click can be very low $0.20 or maybe $0.50 per click. A relative bargain when competitive keywords might cost $3 – $5 a click and oftentimes even more.
Try using SpyFu or iSpionage – competitive analysis tools – to get a feel for how many searches and clicks your competitors’ branded keywords are getting.
When bidding on brand names, don’t just stick with their company name, bid on specific products or even their URL or SKU’s. Not only are these terms likely to be easy on your wallet, they should also garner some of your highest click-through rates and Quality Scores.
You may be shocked to know that sometimes your competitors forget to bid on their own brand names, making it an even less expensive and more successful conversion campaign. Not only that, you can actually outrank your competitor for their own brand names.
A word of caution, you’re allowed to purchase their names as keywords, but you can’t use their name in your ad copy. Also, make sure you aren’t using Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in your headlines, which can create an infringement issue by automatically inserting your competitor’s brand name into your ads.
3) Gain More Brand Awareness Using Your Competitors’ Names
Remember the popular kids in school? The well-liked ones who everyone wanted to be friends with? Well their friends were bestowed with what is called the halo effect. By merely being associated with them, some of their popularity rubbed off on their friends and they became more popular too.
The same can happen with online advertising. You can position your brand and ads, right along side of your competitor’s brand name, so that others will view you in a similar light. You’ll want to differentiate yourself a bit and stand out if you’re going up against a respected brand and trying to get loyal followers to make the switch.
Here are a few ideas you can use to persuade searchers to give your brand a shot:
- Beat the vendors prices
- Offer a limited time discount
- Create a value proposition that they don’t address
- Offer a money back guarantee
- Offer a better warranty
- Use better ad extensions than the competition & make your ad more robust
- Make a distinct or creative call to action
- Throw in something for free
4) Brand Name Bidding is Legal and Beneficial
Advertising policies (in Google AdWords) stipulate only that you need to have permission from the owner to use trademarks in your ads. If you avoid trademarks in your ads, you’re good. You can still bid on restricted trademarks as keywords! Google clearly states: “We don’t investigate or restrict trademarks as keywords”.
Take for example this Louis Vuitton vs. Google lawsuit, and how lesser known companies benefited by bidding on his brand name…
Google’s AdWords service allowed advertisers – selling imitations of Louis Vuitton products – to bid on the keyword “Louis Vuitton.” The court ruled that Google was not responsible for the conduct of advertisers. They advised that Google would only be held responsible if the ad was misleading about the commercial relations or origin. Meaning, the ad for Luis Vuitton product imitations must not pretend to be an ad for the original product.
It’s easy to see, based on this example, how lesser-known companies benefit greatly by hitching their wagon to a legendary name.
Hire a Google AdWords Specialist!
If you’re looking for better results with your Google AdWords marketing, you owe it to yourself to have an expert review your account. Brand name bidding is a simple but effective technique you can put in place right away to lower your costs and get high quality clicks.
Our Google AdWords specialists use dozens of specialty techniques just like this, to maximize your advertising dollar. If you’re not using all of these techniques, you’re leaving money and sales on the table!