If someone searches for your brand in Google, you want to dominate the results they see.

Like Jeep:

Branded search campaigns: Jeep is the top ad listing and top organic listing in Google

Branded Campaigns vs. General Campaigns

If you’re familiar with branded campaigns, you can skip to the next section, but otherwise let’s level-set some terminology and the why behind branded campaigns.

Those paid ads at the top of the search results for Jeep?

We call that a “branded” campaign. It displays when someone searches Google specifically for your brand or company.

(As opposed to general campaigns where Jeep might compete for terms like “SUV” or “new car financing”.)

There are two main reasons any ecommerce brand has to have branded campaigns running at all times:

(1) If you don’t buy this ad space, your competitors will. For example look at Infiniti showing up when I search for Lexus RX — If Lexus didn’t buy this ad space, Infiniti would be sitting in the top spot:

Branded search campaigns: Lexus lost the top spot

(2) You can control the message. Yes of course your pages will likely appear for branded terms in organic results, but you can’t as easily control those results. On your ads, you can play with different landing pages, products, deals, and more.

Now, brand campaigns should have the highest relevance and click-through rates of any campaign you have in AdWords.

Many businesses inadvertently overspend on both branded and general campaigns.

When setting up brand campaigns, however, we find that many businesses inadvertently get in their own waycausing themselves to overspend on both branded and general campaigns.

Most of the time, they don’t even realize it.

$240k in Revenue: The Financial Impact of Fixing this Problem for One of Our Clients

The good news is: finding — and fixing — this issue is a straightforward process.

Of the many things we do with Inflow’s eCommerce clients, this is often one of the first things we check — because the financial impact can be tremendous.

Recently, by fixing this problem for one client, we increased their annual return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) by 1600% — a change that amounted to an additional $240,000 in revenue per year.

For the same client, these steps lowered cost-per-click (CPC) for branded terms by $.21 per click, dropping costs by 19%.

In this article, we’re going to show you two things:

  1. How to see if you’re accidentally overspending on campaigns
  2. A simple way to fix it

Note: Want to see better performance from your branded campaign? Like results that add up to 6 figures? Let us evaluate your campaigns. Contact us here.

Step 1: How To Check If You Are Competing Against Yourself  

If you’re running both brand and general campaigns, the first step is to identify if your campaigns are competing against each other.

To do this, identify what search terms are triggering your branded and general campaigns in AdWords.

A search term is a search word or phrase that triggered the campaign to display on a user’s search.

You can find these search terms using the Search Terms Report in AdWords.

To find the report:

  1. Open your branded campaign
  2. Click the Keywords tab
  3. Click Search terms.

Branded search campaigns: Google AdWords

From there, you’ll see data on which search terms triggered impressions and clicks.

Branded search campaigns: search terms

Repeat the process for any of your general campaigns.

Most people never check this — and overspend as a result.

The only thing that should trigger a brand campaign is the name of your company, your services, or your products.

Sometimes though, Google will trigger your brand campaign for general terms.

This can happen with any branded campaign. But it’s especially likely to happen when:

(1) The name of your product or service is similar to your brand name

Brand name: “Best Costumes Co”

Service: costumes

In these situations, search terms like “costumes,” “best costumes,” or even “best costumes in New York” will naturally trigger both campaigns.

(2) Your company name is similar to a competitor’s name

Your name: “Best Costumes Co.”

Your competitor: “Better Costumes Co.”

When someone searches for your competition, you might want them to find you, but not through your branded campaign.

That’s what general search campaigns are for.

By examining which keywords are triggering your various campaigns in AdWords, you can see if you’re accidentally competing with yourself.

If you see the same keywords triggering branded and general campaigns, you’re hurting your results for both types of campaigns.

Step 2: Use Negative Keywords to Clean Up Your Branded Campaign

If you are accidentally competing with yourself, the fix is both simple and straightforward.

Use negative keywords to clean up your branded campaigns.

Branded search campaigns: Google AdWords - use negative keywords

To use our earlier example, if your company is “Best Costumes Co.,” there’s a very good chance the keyword “best costumes” is triggering your branded campaign.

If so, simply remove “best costumes” from your branded campaign by adding it as a negative keyword.

Use your general campaign to compete for “best costumes” or any other general keyword that was triggering your brand campaign.

Why Does This Matter to Google?

Google estimates the cost and relevancy of a campaign by estimating the likelihood someone will click on a certain result.

If someone searches “Best Costumes Co.,” it’s likely that the person is searching specifically for your company.

If they search for “best costumes,” they’re much less likely to be searching for you. Instead, they’re just looking for a place to buy a costume.

That’s the difference between the two types of campaigns:

  1. Branded campaigns target people searching specifically for you
  2. General campaigns target people searching generally for the things you sell

Branded campaigns should have very high relevance scores, very high click-through rates, and — as a result — lower costs.

When you purify your branded campaign, you’re increasing the relevance of branded keywords.

You’re informing Google you are the company to return for these brand-specific keywords. By doing this, you become the most relevant site for your branded terms.

Brand Campaigns Should Be Cheaper

When it comes to search, Google first and foremost wants to provide the most relevant information.

To return to our Jeep example, when users search the keyword “Jeep,” Google knows they’re looking specifically for a Jeep — not generally for a new SUV.

Even if Ford or GM runs a campaign targeting “Jeep” as a keyword, Jeep’s result is still — by far — the most relevant result, which is why Google is likely to list it first.

Not only will you be listed first, but Google will reward you for being the most relevant result with a cheaper CPC.

This is why, if you’re doing it right, your branded search campaigns should be among the cheapest — if not the cheapest — ad campaign you run.

However …

If your branded campaign is being triggered by general terms like “SUV,” the click-through rate is likely to go way down, lowering the relevancy score for the ad — and raising the price of the campaign.

That’s why you want to ensure that only your specific brand terms are triggering your branded campaign.

Leave everything else for your general campaigns.

Note: Looking to uncover other new ways to increase your ROAS and maximize your brand exposure? Contact us here.