Paid Search Strategy for Your Brand – Marketing in Sync

November 07, 2012

Allison McMenimen
I was working in the travel industry and while driving down the highway, saw one of our billboards, directing people to visit “”. Then I remembered we weren't using the same landing page redirect in our online campaigns. Agh...

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In a previous career in the travel industry, I was driving down the highway, and saw one of our beautiful, large billboards, directing people to learn more about a dream vacation at “”.  It made me smile – until I remembered that we were not using the same landing page in paid search – just “”.

The offline marketing team had not informed the paid search team that they were running ads directing people to “”. And why would they? What could a highway billboard ever have in common with paid search? A ton!

A piece of “hate mail” made me realize the problem was greater than I had originally imagined.  A man had seen the billboard while driving, and when in front of a computer, had typed in “” into the Google search bar. He printed the resulting Google search page, and made large circles and exclamation points to show how it had frustrated him to not find the page. He, like lots of others, used the Search Engine search bar rather than the browser bar.

This communication mishap necessitated a change to our overall marketing communication plan. Going forward, all internal marketing teams would notify the paid search team upon creation of fancy/fun/short (redirected) landing page URLs for magazine, TV, newspaper and highway banner advertising.  We created paid search campaigns (desktop and mobile) for these kind of promotion pages with the URLs as keywords (“” and variations). Lesson learned – all of marketing must work in sync to help your customers get to the “turquoise waters”.

Here are some additional tips to maximize the effectiveness of paid search for your brand. 

Run your brand names in paid search
I am often asked, “Should we turn off our brand names in paid search, and see what happens to organic?” While organic results may likely see a boost, there are a few good reasons and tactics for running brand names in paid search.

  • If you are a large brand and you have competitors bidding on your brand names, you must own that space. Run paid search ads to make sure your brand appears before the competitors.
  • Page one of the search results for your brand name is your real estate – own it! This also coincides with the reasoning for having branded social media pages and profiles. When a consumer searches your brand, all your social channels should appear, selling your brand value with robust content marketing.
  • Typically, the ROI on your brand is a pretty sure investment. Although organic is free, branded paid search is still a low cost investment, especially when you add in the competitors who may be stealing clicks.

Optimize the brand campaign
 Instead of pausing your brand names, take them to the next level.

  • If your brand is large and diverse, people will be searching for keyword variations such as “brand + product”.  You may have product campaigns and brand campaigns, but within your brand campaign, create ad groups that include these broad match modified combinations. This allows for you to also create keyword optimized ad copy that reaches specific product landing pages, creating brand awareness and product recognition.
  • You could also create a landing page that sells your value proposition with the product. Every large brand should have a “Why Buy Us Over Them” value prop page. Large brands typically have value props not just by brand, but also by product. Why buy one of your specific products over the others, is an equally important message, and could help your paid search campaigns.

Monitor and manage your brand with a trademark program like BrandVerity  & AdGooRoo
Just typing in your name and seeing what comes up, does not work anymore with browser, engine and paid search program geo targeting and localization settings. You will not always see all the ads. Use a program that monitors these searches in all geo targets and sends you alerts on your defined infringements.  Many times, a competitor or an affiliate will be selling themselves as your brand. I have also seen entire websites and landing pages created to appear as the brand. That said, it’s also good to monitor organic results. What previous brand names did your company own? Retain and attain those URLs, bid on those keywords, and own that real estate.

Mind your reach and frequency settings
Another important display & remarketing tactic is reach and frequency settings. Keep your frequency of display ads at a reasonable measure (the number of times one person will see your ad). Brand awareness is great, but too much brand awareness can cause people to want your brand to go away “I wish they would go away and stop bugging me!” It has been recommended to set the frequency to max 20 impressions per month per person. However, I alter this depending on the brand, how aggressive the display or remarketing campaign may need to be in shorter periods of time and display campaign targeting.

Competitive research
Know what your competitors are doing in your markets. You may have a campaign that once did great and suddenly takes a nose dive. Look at what the competitors are doing in those markets. Then, create ads and pages about your value propositions. In a competitive environment you want to sell that “why us, not them”.

A brand has their own online real estate, and they should be the top buyer and seller in this digital market. Be aware of everything going on with your brand in the online as well as offline channels. It’s your brand, own it!  All marketing teams and tactics should embrace the ideas of synthesis, sync, cohesion, synergy and conjunction.

Do you have any additional branding tactics that have been successful?

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