PPC campaigns bring a whole new meaning to the question, “What’s in a name?” Many clients wonder why they’re encouraged to bid on their brand name if the primary goal of a PPC campaign is to capture new renters. Conversely, wouldn’t their PPC dollars be better spent solely on location-based, non-branded search terms?
Sure, non-branded terms are great for sparking initial consumer awareness. In fact, Google has reported that purchase-related search queries containing the phrase “near me” are becoming increasingly popular.¹ For this reason, it may seem counterintuitive to split your PPC budget between generic, location based terms and brand keywords. However, nine out of 10 Google users admit that they don’t know which brand to purchase from when beginning a mobile search query.¹
To establish consideration and interest in a specific apartment community, bidding on its brand keywords is an absolute must.
Contrary to popular belief, the search engine results pages (SERPs) for queries containing a brand name can vary significantly. If you aren’t actively bidding on your brand terms then there’s a good chance your competitors are. Brand keywords tend to be cheaper than their generic counterparts, so competitors can dominate your digital real estate at little expense. Although this strategy is not recommended, bidding on a competitor’s brand terms does prompt renters to deviate from the website and listings they were originally searching for.
Worse yet, nearly 40% of Google users don’t realize when they’re clicking on an ad² and instead think of them as ultra-verified listings. This can be detrimental to your brand awareness (and bottom line) if those ads are created by someone else. However, there’s a simple solution to taking back your SERP: bid on brand. Brand keywords are much less competitive, are far less costly, and their landing page relevance is stronger in comparison to location-based or generic terms. Making a small investment in them can protect your digital real estate, allowing you to dominate the conversation around your brand name.
Let’s say your competitors aren’t bidding on your brand terms, and your website is the first organic listing on Google’s results page. You probably don’t need to bid on your brand name, right? Guess again.
Even if your organic listings are the first results on a Google SERP, you’re missing out on 89% of the clicks you could be receiving by running paid ads.³ When you divide these additional clicks by keyword type, ads containing brand terms outperform those that are strictly using non-brand terms with regard to cost-per-click (CPC) and click-through-rate (CTR).⁴ This is because non-brand, location-based keywords tend to be less relevant with your website content and are subjected to competitive bidding wars. As a result, the bid to achieve a decent quality score or ad rank with non-brand keywords needs to be higher and, if achieved, clicks can be costly.
Brand keywords have higher relevance and a better landing page experience, which enables them to have higher quality scores. Since Google favors quality over bid during auction, brand keywords can easily achieve a low cost-per-click. Essentially, this allows your campaigns to achieve high ad ranks at a lower cost, which directly (and positively) affects click-through-rate.
Brand awareness and low-cost traffic aren’t the only noteworthy advantages of brand keywords. Return on ad spend (ROAS) is considerably higher for brand keywords, as their conversion rates can be two to five times that of non-brand keywords.⁵ This is because consumers searching for a specific brand or apartment name are usually further along the conversion funnel, toward the interest and consideration phases of the renter journey.
This high-intent micro-moment can often make or break the decision for your prospective renters, as they will turn to another brand if information is not provided at the exact moment they’re searching for it. Thus, a PPC ad containing your brand keywords could successfully drive renters to a landing page optimized for conversion, and it all occurs at little cost to you.
Our digital marketing experts say, absolutely! Brand keywords offer different advantages than non-brand keywords, and they should be used in parallel with your non-brand efforts. You can (and should) continue to use unbranded, location-based terms to drive traffic to your website. However, brand keywords are more likely to convert website visitors into leads⁵ and should be implemented to push visitors through the renter journey to their final conversion. This proves that the benefits of keyword diversification far outweigh those attained from the siloed effort of using non-brand keywords alone.
When optimizing your PPC campaigns for the best return on ad spend, the simple act of leveraging your brand name is a perfect way to establish trust and consideration with your prospective renter while also protecting your digital real estate from poachers. Digital resources are growing in number, and today’s renter can easily fall victim to a fragmented buying process. Establishing a strong brand presence with your PPC campaign is crucial to guiding a renter’s decision-making process, and bidding on brand is the most effective way to do so.
*For more information on the benefits of search engine marketing, or to inquire about our team of skilled digital analysts, please call 877-394-9599 or select “Get In Touch” at the top of the page.*
By Ashley Shaw, Digital Marketing Analyst
¹“The most interesting 2018 consumer insights you should carry into 2019.” Ken Wheaton, November 2018.
²“How many web users are unaware of Google’s PPC ads?” Dan Barker, 22 May 2014.
³“Incremental Clicks Impact Of Search Advertising.” Google Inc.
⁵“Brand Bidding & PPC Optimization: The Value Of Brand Keywords (Part 2 of 8).” Lori Weiman, 10 February 2016.