Should I target my brand terms with Search ads?

So you noticed that bidding on your brand terms cannibalizes some of your organic clicks. And you’ve decided that the best way to prevent this cannibalization is to block the targeting for those terms with negative targeting.

At first it’ll seem like a great idea, as your organic clicks go back to normal levels, and you stop paying for those clicks. However, if you take a closer look you’ll notice that you could potentially be losing incremental brand term traffic coming from PPC.

Here are some sample data from a client. The table below looks at the number of clicks for the clients brand terms for two different months—one where they had negative targeting for their brand terms, the other where they did not negatively target their brand terms:

Organic Clicks Paid Clicks Total
Period 1 (No negative targeting) 4812 2126 6938
Period 2 (With negative targeting) 6240 0 6240
Difference 698

The net number fo clicks with PPC is higher even if it does end up cannibilazing some of the organic traffic.


Why does that happen?

Your competitors are bidding on your brand term. Their ads start appearing on top of search results for your brand term.

How do you fix this?

The clear answer is to target your brand terms with PPC. The way to do it is:

  1. Create a separate campaign that targets your brand terms keywords exclusively.
    1. Use ad content that would highlight what people searching for your brand are potentially looking for
  2. Create a separate bid strategy based on what you think your competitors are willing to pay for 😉
  3. Create a negative targeting list for those brand keywords and apply that list to all other campaigns.
    1. The primary reason for this is that metrics for ads targeting your keywords are very skewed, and you don’t want that data to be conflated with more competitive campaigns.

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