Are Always-On Branded Search Google Ads Campaigns Worth Paying For?

IGNITE® Digital Agency - 09 June 2023

Understanding Branded Search

The Concept of Branded Search

Branded search is a term used in digital marketing to describe a search query that includes the name of a brand or a specific product. When people conduct a branded search, they’re essentially searching for your business directly, implying they already have a level of awareness or interest. Examples could be searches like “Apple iPhone 12” or “Nike running shoes”.

The Role of Branded Search in Digital Marketing

The importance of branded search in your digital marketing strategy should not be overlooked. There are three key roles it plays:

  • Awareness: Branded search terms indicate that the user already has a certain level of familiarity with your brand, which is a step ahead in the customer journey.
  • Intent: Users typing your brand’s name are generally closer to making a purchase decision than those who stumble upon your site organically.
  • Brand Loyalty: Regularly appearing for branded search queries can foster brand loyalty by reinforcing your presence and visibility.

For example, if a customer searches for “volkswagen car,” this suggests they are already aware of Volkswagen and may be considering a purchase, indicating a high level of intent.

What are Google Ads?

The Mechanism of Google Ads

Google Ads is a powerful online advertising platform developed by Google, where advertisers pay to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, and video content to web users. The ad service is largely focused on keywords.

Advertisers bid on certain keywords in the hope that their clickable ads will appear in Google’s search results. Since advertisers have to pay for these clicks, Google makes money from search. This process of bidding is conducted through an auction system.

For instance, if a school wanted its ad to show up when someone searches “best private schools,” we would bid on this keyword within the Google Ads platform.

Significance of Google Ads in Search Engine Marketing

Google Ads is a critical tool in search engine marketing due to its wide reach and advanced targeting options. Here are some reasons why it’s significant:

  • Reach: Google boasts an enormous user base, meaning your ads have the potential to reach a massive audience.
  • Targeting: Google Ads allows precise targeting based on keywords, demographics, location, and even the time of day.
  • Data and Insight: Google provides useful data about your campaigns, helping you to understand your audience and improve your marketing strategies.

For instance, using Google Ads, a flower shop can target their services to wedding planners in Melbourne searching for “wedding arrangements” during peak seasons, and gain valuable insights to further refine their targeting strategy.

The Synergy of Organic Results and Google Ads

Understanding Organic Results

Organic results refer to the non-paid listings that appear in search engines like Google. These are typically the results that appear under the ads at the top of the page. The order of these listings is determined by a search engine’s algorithm, which considers factors like relevance, authority, and quality of content.

For example, if a marketing manager searches for “how to improve a digital marketing strategy,” the organic results will show pages deemed most relevant and helpful by Google’s algorithm. No one can pay to appear in these results.

Comparing Organic Results and Google Ads

When considering organic results and Google Ads, it’s important to understand their unique benefits and how they differ in a few key aspects:

Control and Predictability

  • Google Ads: You have more control over how and when your ad will appear. By choosing the right keywords, setting the right bid, and crafting an engaging ad, you can predictably appear for your targeted search queries.
  • Organic Results: Your appearance in organic search results is less predictable. It depends on many factors like SEO efforts, competition, and ever-changing search algorithms.

Speed and Positioning

  • Google Ads: With a well-optimised ad, you can secure top positions in search results almost instantly, albeit at a cost.
  • Organic Results: Climbing the organic search ranks is a slower process that requires consistent effort in content creation, SEO, and authority-building.

Search Intent and Conversion Rates

  • Google Ads: Can be targeted towards high-intent search queries, often leading to higher conversion rates.
  • Organic Results: While they can capture high-intent traffic, they also cater to informational searches which may not lead directly to conversions.

The Complementary Relationship

While Google Ads and organic results each have their strengths, they are most powerful when leveraged together. This synergy can lead to improved brand visibility, increased click-through rates, and ultimately, more conversions.

For instance, appearing in both organic and paid search results can increase the overall visibility of any business. A prospective client may first come across their paid ad, then see their organic listing, reinforcing their brand message and increasing the likelihood of engagement.

The Value Proposition of Always-On Branded Search Google Ads Campaigns

Enhancing Brand Visibility

By investing in always-on branded search Google Ads campaigns, you’re ensuring that your brand is consistently visible to your target audience. Even when your organic results rank high, appearing in the ad section further reinforces your brand presence and increases your chances of being noticed.

For example, even if a design agency ranks organically for “graphic design services,” running a branded search Google Ads campaign can offer additional exposure and reinforce its market position.

Defending Brand Reputation

Branded Google Ads campaigns can also serve as a defensive strategy, preventing competitors from appearing above you for your own brand’s search terms. If competitors bid on your branded keywords, they could potentially outrank you in the ad space, but with an always-on campaign, you safeguard your brand’s reputation.

Converting High-Intent Traffic

Users who search for your brand-specific keywords usually have a higher intent to purchase. By targeting these high-intent users with always-on branded search campaigns, you’re more likely to attract qualified leads that can be converted into customers.

For instance, someone searching for “IGNITE digital strategy consulting” is likely to be interested in our services and therefore has a high potential to convert. Our branded Google Ads could be the final prompt they need to make an enquiry.

Making the Choice: To Pay or Not to Pay for Branded Search Google Ads?

Considerations for Marketing and Communication Managers

As a marketing or communication manager, deciding whether to invest in always-on branded search Google Ads campaigns can be a significant decision. Here are some considerations to bear in mind:

  • Budget: Determine the resources available for online advertising. An always-on strategy means a continual investment, so ensure your budget supports it.
  • Competition: Are your competitors bidding on your branded terms? If they are, it might be essential to run branded search campaigns to safeguard your brand’s space in search results.
  • Organic Search Performance: If your website already ranks well organically for your branded terms, weigh the benefits of additional paid visibility against the cost.

Navigating the Decision-Making Process

Deciding on whether to run an always-on branded search Google Ads campaign is not a one-size-fits-all decision. It requires careful assessment of your brand’s unique situation and goals. Here are steps we recommend:

  1. Audit Your Current Search Performance: Analyse your organic search performance and current paid search efforts (if any) to identify areas of opportunity or need.
  2. Assess Your Competition: Understand whether your competitors are bidding on your branded terms. Tools like SEMRush or Google’s Auction Insights can provide valuable data.
  3. Experiment and Analyse: Run a test campaign for your branded search terms and monitor the results. This will give you a firsthand understanding of the potential benefits and costs.
  4. Adjust and Optimise: Based on your test campaign’s results, make necessary adjustments and optimise for better performance. This might involve tweaking ad copy, adjusting bids, or refining keyword targeting.

The IGNITE team is always ready to assist if you need help navigating your branded search strategy. With our expertise in digital content strategy and execution, we can help you make the most informed decisions for your brand. Feel free to reach out to us for a chat about how we can help you ignite your brand’s potential.

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