Brand Keywords, Improving the Impact of Navigation Behavior

By Steven Bauer

To piggyback off Jeff’s recent post concerning Branded Keywords, I thought I’d disperse a little knowledge from recent research. Last year Atlas Search published a study that “…suggests a big chunk of search ad spending is wasted because advertisers pay top dollar for high ad placements clicked by consumers who are en route to their sites anyway. Listings tied to such "branded" keywords, typically a company's name or products, eat up about half of search budgets, Atlas estimates.”

The study concludes with three recommendations, which I strongly endorse, to reduce the negative impact of navigation behavior on search campaigns.

- Separate out your branded keywords when looking at clicks, costs and performance.
The structure of an account within the search engines is critical to establishing a strong foundation for campaigns to perform well. Therefore, there must be at least one campaign dedicated solely to brand keywords. Performance goals for brand keywords should be different than the goals for non-brand keywords so you understand fully the affect these keyword types have on your account.

- Test what happens if branded key phrases are bid down or removed altogether.
No doubt, brand keywords can be expensive. But they do not have to be. Test lowering bids incrementally to see what you need to pay to maintain position in the search engines.

- Consider all touch-points that led to a conversion, not just the last ad.
Much discussion is happening these days on attribution of conversion – does the last click model still work? Consumers are not exposed to just search, or just display or any other type of marketing opportunity. Therefore, it is important to be able to understand the effect of these multiple touch points have in convincing the consumer to convert.

Brand Keywords – do they belong in paid search campaigns? OF COURSE, but it is critical to understand their intent, to establish attainable goals and measure based on those goals.


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