Using PPC for Branding

Before we dive into using PPC for branding lets understand branding first.

Put simply branding refers to the concept of making your products or services recognised from its competitors ( Branding has also been defined as a business’ promise to its customers for delivering unrivalled value.
A branding campaign in digital world needs to focus on certain branding objectives. Some of the objectives are listed below:

1. Communicating a particular brand message
2. Creating brand awareness for a new product/brand.
3. Raising brand awareness of an existing product/brand.
4. Changing a brand’s image.
5. Sustaining a brand’ image.

So far, so good, eh?

Imagine if a strong brand stopped advertising. Although it may not have any immediate affects, it may lead to other brands filling the advertising space and eating into the company’s market share. This forces most companies to keep pushing for their own brand.
When it comes to paid search. Most companies seem to restrict their paid search branding to bidding on self-branded keywords and using site links, social extensions, call extensions, location extensions and other flashy extensions to make their advert stand out, fill the top space on the page and drive competitors away.

However, branding in paid search has the potential to grow beyond just an effort to sustain your brand name. Here is a unique case study, a digital marketing company in 2010 was presented with a challenge from, a well-known lingerie and sex-toys retailer in UK. The challenge was to drive awareness of its brand and position it as ‘edgy’ with online audiences.
What Icrossing did was unparalleled in the history of paid search. While most ecommerce businesses were busy bidding on branded keywords and the ones that drove most conversions, Ann Summers started bidding on random keywords. When people searched for election 2010 here is the result they got

“Visit Ann Summers & find out why we believe in a well hung parliament” – Election 2010

The response was overwhelming. They gained national media coverage from the likes of Guardian and The Independent resulting in over 1.5 million impressions for mere £4500.00. In an ideal world even with a CPM of £1.00 they would have paid £15,000 for the entire campaign.

What this means to your brand?

1. Just bidding on your own brand keywords restricts the scope of your branding campaigns.
2. Branding campaigns can also be used to promote a particular brand message or to generate awareness in new markets.
3. Paid search can be used to promote your content marketing. Because lesser people bid on content keywords there costs is likely to be lesser than competitive keywords.

Paid search can be used in more than a few ways to support your branding strategy. Bidding on your own brand keywords is not the only thing you can do. If planned carefully paid search can be used to drive just the right quantity and quality of traffic your business needs.


Rick Tobin
Managing Director

Over 20 years dedicated PPC experience working with some of the world's biggest brands.

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