The question that is presented to all paid search buyers at some point in their career is to whether or not to pay for branded traffic. The name of the game is to generate traffic to your website. Traffic = sales but the key is to get the traffic at the right price and branded search is one way to help solve that puzzle.
The main theory against it is: why pay for traffic when the organic listing already ranks? While that is a fair point I’m going to lay out the benefits of why paying for your branded search traffic is the correct choice.
Defending brand against competitors
Having just an organic listing is not going to stop competitors from bidding on branded search terms which would show up above the organic listing. Looking at Nike for example the brand is so competitive that if they didn’t pay to defend, three competitors would show up above the organic listing.
- The branded search term
- Nike branded paid search ad
- Competitor #1 PPC ad
- Competitor #2 PPC ad
- Organic listing
Branded search generally generates a higher quality score which results in cheaper clicks that would rank above any competitor ad. Depending on the industry branded clicks could range anywhere from 4% – 25% cheaper than generic clicks (according to search engine land data), with higher click through rates and conversion rate your ROI on these clicks is going to be favorable.
Taking up more real-estate in the SERP
When looking at the top of the search engine results page what you rather see one result or two? Especially if competition is involved having as many results at the top is not a bad thing. Another aspect of paid search ads is all of the extra extensions that can be utilized with the ad. According to Google on average, click through rates have seen an uplift of 10-15% from implementing ad extensions. Since it’s a branded search query with high quality score the ad is going to qualify to show as many ad extensions as possible.
Using Priceline as example this SERP qualified for two ad extensions based upon its quality. The promotion extensions and site link extension. With these in place the ad is double the size of the other two ads and is more attractive the user. More like than not this ad will absorb the majority of clicks. By combining both organic and paid search listing you can greatly increase the click share for all of the branded searches.
Higher Position = Higher CTR
It’s no secret that having a higher position will generally net you a higher click through rate but how does it really impact. Looking at ignite visibility data based upon non-branded queries it makes a huge difference being in the top 3 positions (all paid ads) to position 4 (first organic listing):
- Position 1 – 43.32%
- Position 2 – 37.36%
- Position 3 –29.90%
- Position 4 – 19.38%
- Position 5 –10.95%
- Position 6 – 10%
- Position 7 – 5.28%
- Position 8 – 4.13%
- Position 9 – 4.13%
- Position 10 – 3.11%
That is a 76% difference between position 1 (43.22%) and position 4 (19.38%). That is a substantial amount of traffic that would left on the table if branded paid search was not utilized.
For any good business to succeed taking advantage of branded search traffic would be my number priority when setting up the paid search account. It is a very efficient way of generating high intent cheap traffic that will boost the overall ROI of your account. Believe me if you don’t to bid on your branded traffic there will be someone else out there that will.