Tag: Microsoft

You are Losing Sales if You Don’t Buy Your Own Branded Search Terms

By Sue Brady

Clicks Based on Search Position
Consumer Clicks Based on Search Position

“But why should I spend money on my own branded terms? If someone is searching for my brand, they already are interested in my company.”

Two reasons: Competition and consumer behavior.

Competition: Anyone can buy your branded terms. It’s not uncommon for competitors to buy each other’s terms in fact so that they are showing up alongside whoever the user searched for. And, if you aren’t buying your own branded terms, chances are your competition knows that and may be seizing the opportunity to show up in a search for your brand. Why risk having a prospect click on the competition? As the graph above shows, the higher you appear on the search page, the more clicks you’ll get.

The example below shows results of a search for Ethan Allen sofas. Walter E. Smithe bought the branded term, while Ethan Allen was content to display only in the organic results.

Ethan Allen Search Yields Competitive Result
Ethan Allen Search Yields Competitive Result

Consumer behavior: According to research by Resolution Media and Kenshoo, even if you are in the top position in the organic search results, the paid ads still get over 60% of the user clicks. So you want to appear in a top spot, and you want others selling on your behalf to be visible as well.

Who Gets Position 1 in Paid Branded Search?

The obvious answer is, whoever bids the highest. But that’s not entirely accurate. One thing is for sure: you are the brand, so you want to be in first place. And if you use affiliates (aka resellers), they shouldn’t be bidding for placement above yours in branded search.  You might be surprised to learn that as the brand, you pay less than anyone else does to be in the top position because your quality score for your branded terms will be highest. This is a significant cost difference, say $.40 per click if you’re the brand, to $4 per click if you’re not. A study done by Engine Ready  shows that consumers are 3x more likely to click-thru on an ad that is in position 1 vs either positions 2 or 3 (n=192 million impressions). And position 1 garners 59% of the clicks, compared to position 2 at 15% (source: Compete.com).

Who Gets Positions 2 and 3?

Is it okay to let resellers bid on your branded terms for positions 2 and 3? It is okay, and you should allow it. Why? One primary reason is it can help you manage your competitors by keeping them out of those spots. Many companies utilize a network of affiliates and/or resellers to help them generate more customers by buying into those spots. These resellers are usually paid a bounty on an agreed upon action (sale, install, appointment). The key here is to know who is selling, how they are doing it, and to be able to manage it as best you can. If you are the brand, you get to set the rules. If others want to sell your wares, they need to play by those rules, or lose the privilege.

You probably don’t need to allow more than two resellers to bid on your brand, since there are only three paid positions in total, and you are already taking one. And your top two resellers will be more loyal if it’s easier for them to buy your branded terms over the other players.  And if they are spending more, your competition may decide not to bid for those branded terms.

How do you Enforce it?

First of all, enforcement is key or no one will follow the rules. If someone violates, you need to call them out and tell them to stop. There are a number of alarm products that can help you monitor search activity on your branded terms. Some examples are Search Monitor and  Marin Software.

What About Mobile?

The same principals apply to mobile. The big difference is that mobile only has 2 paid positions available. You still want the top position while one of your resellers can bid for position 2. With the Google Enhanced Campaigns that launched earlier this year, you can no longer create a mobile only campaign. You’ll need to manage your mobile bids as a part of your overall campaign. You can read more about that here.

This shouldn’t be minimized. You do need to be in mobile. Half (and growing) of all searches are conducted using a mobile device (source: Microsoft), and 90% of those searches lead to action, with 50% of those leading to a purchase (source: SearchEnglineLand). You can’t afford NOT to be there.

To recap, why do I need to bid on Branded Terms?

Here’s why, even if you are already number one in organic:

  1. You will pick up more clicks if you are in position one in paid and position one in organic. It’s a fact that has been proven over and over again. If you are unsure, try testing it. If your clicks (and conversions) don’t improve, then stop the campaign.
  2. Branded terms are really inexpensive when you’re the brand because your quality score on branded terms will be higher than anyone else’s. That means that you’ll pay far less per click then the next guy pays for your branded terms.
  3. You’ll be able to manage your competition better. If you aren’t bidding on your branded terms, there’s nothing to stop the competition from doing so.
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Is There Value in Bing/Yahoo! Search?

By Sue Brady

License Attribution Some rights reserved by Search Engine People Blog
License Attribution: Some rights reserved by Search Engine People Blog

Most digital marketers know about and use Google Adwords. Google has 67% of the search market share after all. With over 19 billion total searches happening a month (Comscore, August 2013) there is no question that Google is the search gorilla. Non-Google searches represent 6 billion searches a month however – no small number – and should not be ignored.  With the partnership between Yahoo! and Microsoft’s Bing, they power almost 30% of all searches.

Google is clearly more important as a search engine and should be a large part of your search plans. But you should also invest in Yahoo!/Bing. For one thing, Yahoo!/Bing will cost you less per click. It’s true you are reaching fewer people, but since it costs way less, your Cost per Click will be much lower. Your strategy can be similar on both search engines. In fact, Bing allows you to import your Google ad campaigns.

As has been reported in the past by many other studies, click-thru rates and conversions on both search engines are fairly similar if you are a small business. But for other advertisers, it seems that conversion rates are typically higher on Yahoo!/Bing.

Yahoo!/Bing is working hard to pick up more searchers and has added features to its search engine, like ad units called Hero Ads that come up when a user is searching for brand specific information (currently it’s a pilot program, only available on Windows 8).  They also offer call extensions on mobile ads and claim that those can yield up to 30% greater click-thru rates. And, Bing just became the default search engine for Siri on the new iOS7 release. Plus, search is being integrated into a number of Microsoft products such as Xbox, Windows 8, MS Office and others. Finally, while Google is no longer showing keywords that drive organic traffic to your site, Bing is not imposing that limitation in their analytics.

While this article will help you understand how much to actually spend on your campaigns, the real trick is to figure out how much to allocate between Google and Yahoo!/Bing and still be profitable. To figure out that balance, you’ll need to test. Definitely start with Google, and take your best keywords/phrases from there and test them on Yahoo!/Bing. If your profit is greater on Yahoo!/Bing, try allocating additional spend to maximize that profit.  You’ll have to play with it to get the balance to where it makes sense for your business.

The bottom line is, there are options and it makes sense to be careful about putting all of your eggs in one basket.

eggs nest