Many auto dealerships have asked the question: why bid on my branded search terms when I rank first on search engine results pages (SERP) for those organically?
Whether you’re looking to triumph over competitors or just improve your Quality Score, including a branded keyword campaign in pay-per-click advertising adds a powerful punch to your digital advertising strategy. The following points are all reasons why a branded keyword strategy is essential for auto dealerships.
1. Don't take our word for it: Google and Bing agree.
Both search engine giants have written separate studies analyzing the effects of branded and non-branded search terms in paid advertising. After analyzing millions of impressions for paid searches, both major search engines report an incremental lift in overall traffic when branded keyword campaigns are added as part of a paid search strategy. An incremental lift means site visits generated by these branded search ads are not replaced by organic visits when paid ads are paused. This proves that brand campaigns don’t just take traffic you would already get, they add to it!
- Google: 50% of clicks are incremental. These clicks would not have occurred without the paid ad campaigns.
- Bing: 31% more clicks when a brand ad is present.
2. Combat purposeful competition by competitors.
Let’s look at an example. Here, the owner of Smith Jeep can see that John's Jeep is bidding directly on the term “Smith Jeep.” Notice the targeted competitive ad text language, the larger real estate given to the competitor, and how far down the page Smith Jeep's organic result is due to competitor and OEM level ads. On mobile devices, not ranking in the first position can be severely damaging. Your result might not even display on smaller phone screens.
By bidding on your own keywords, your paid and organic results will capture a greater percentage of searchers looking for your store. This allows you to keep competitors from stealing your audience.
3. Rebuff accidental competition.
Sometimes competitors might simply be bidding on the keyword "Jeep" so users who search “Smith” + “Jeep” will trigger a competitor ad. While not a deliberate conquest attempt by your competitor, it has the same effect of stealing traffic that is intending to find your dealership website.
4. Get cheaper clicks when you bid on branded keywords.
Let's look at another hypothetical example. The search query is "Smith Jeep Dealership" and there are 3 ways this can be parsed out:
Because Smith Jeep is owning their brand keywords as part of their strategy, the search is triggering the "Smith Jeep" keyword and costing the dealership only $1.00. If Smith Jeep were not demonstrating brand intent, the search would have triggered "Jeep Dealership" and cost $3.00. Smith Jeep would get some credit for being the subject of the search, but without demonstrating specific intent, the full benefit of a branded strategy isn't realized. Branded keyword campaigns mean same search, lower CPC, and better ROI.
5. Control the ad text.
If you are currently relying on your organic listings to pull the most relevant information for searchers, you might not have full control over your messaging. A branded keyword strategy allows you to present a dealership specific, conversion focused message in the ad text. In the example below, Smith Jeep was able to add "Select models up to $1,000 off MSRP!” to their paid ad.
6. Control the buyer journey.
With a branded strategy, you can better control the buyer journey beyond the click. This can drive people to deeper engagement within your site and to pages that are optimized for conversions like, “New Inventory” or “Service” pages.
7. Maximize your SERP real estate.
By being present in the organic results, paid results, and knowledge graph, your brand name dominates a page, reinforcing the trustworthiness and credibility of your brand to searchers. This in turn improves campaign click-through-rates, lowers cost-per-click, and brings more traffic over time than without all three pieces.
8. Increase account-level quality score.
Branded keywords are very relevant to the search query and your website, so they will have strong ‘quality scores’. This helps make clicks less expensive and can improves your overall Google Ads account-level quality score. This has a spillover effect, benefiting other keyword quality scores. This overall boost in quality score helps branded and non-branded campaign performance.
9. Crowd out others.
A branded keyword strategy pushes reviews and other directory listings where your competitors are ranking as competing services down the SERP. Customers are then more likely to find and click your auto dealership first.
10. Reduce the impact of negative reviews.
If any negative reviews show organically in the search results for your business, branded results can help minimize visibility of these reviews.
11. Ensure results.
Not ranking organically in the top position for key branded keywords is possible. Bidding on these keywords ensures that a search engine’s algorithm doesn’t occasionally bump you.
Ready to add branded campaigns to your paid search strategy?
With a branded keyword strategy, you can have lower cost per clicks, higher average positions, and improved click through rates. But deciding to include branded search terms in your digital advertising campaigns is just the first step. Next, evaluate your overall marketing budget and decide on an appropriate allocation for branded campaigns. Then, increase your investment. The data is clear that you will see more traffic, and consequently profit, by utilizing a branded search strategy.