Business managers sometimes question the value of using keywords and ad copy including their company’s brand names in pay-per-click (PPC) search marketing campaigns. Why advertise if the brands rank on page one of organic search for free?

There are a number of sound, bottom-line-enhancing reasons why it’s a good idea to have an aggressive branded-term PPC search campaign. But even if you do advertise using your brands, you may be missing some opportunities, and making some common and costly execution and reporting mistakes.

Here are the most commonly cited reasons in favor of running PPC including your company’s brand terms:

  1. Paid brand terms give you more “real estate” on the search engine results page, and increase the overall number of clickthroughs on your brand terms. I’ve found this to be true in practice, and a Google-commissioned study showed that 89% of brand term ad clickthroughs are an incremental increase for the brand.
  1. Potential customers or clients searching your brand terms are ready to make a purchase or complete a lead form. You should do all you can to capture them and complete the transaction.
  1. Your competitors are probably bidding on your brand terms, so you need to take advantage of the high quality score your site has for your own brand (resulting in top ad positions) to dominate top spots. A Microsoft Bing Ads study showed that you can lose up to 50% of your overall click yield to advertising competitors.
  1. Bidding on your own brand terms is usually relatively inexpensive.

Here are some less commonly discussed but very important benefits of PPC brand advertising that I’ve learned from experience:

Achieve Higher Conversion Rates
You likely rank on page one of organic search for your brand terms, but even if you do, your PPC ad campaign, if done well, will deliver much higher conversion rates (percentage of those who have clicked through and complete a signup or make a purchase), resulting in increased overall sales or signups at a high ROI. And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Make high-converting campaigns happen with the use of dedicated landing pages.

Accomplish Marketing Objectives
Your branded PPC campaign should be well-planned and distinct from your organic listing. Take the time to make your branded PPC campaign match your marketing strategy and objectives. Don’t advertise with bland or generic copy that may duplicate your organic listing – that really could be a waste of money.

Profit From Brand-Related Topical Ad Groups
Run separate topical ad groups, with their own specially-worded ads, for brand-related terms. You may not dominate organic search for your brand plus terms such as “free shipping,” “deals,” “coupons,” “subscribe,” or “best price,” but you should be at the top of page one in a paid search position for these and many other brand-related terms.

Increase Messaging Space With Ad Extensions
When your brand terms ads show up at the top of page one, they usually include ad extensions, which increase your messaging space. Ad extensions provide extra lines to promote special offers, add a tap-to-call for mobile, and other features.

Make Paid Search Your Brand Megaphone
Use the megaphone of your top paid-brand position to promote special events and other company objectives. If you do webinars, or have a speaker at an upcoming conference, or have a big sale in the works, tout these in your ads. They won’t be in your organic listing. Leverage the power of your brands.

One important note: Branded search term campaigns should always be distinct from other types of campaigns, and their metrics should be reported separately by your campaign manager. If blended into overall reporting, strong brand-term cost-per-click, conversion, and other metrics can be used to mask poor performance in non-branded categories.

Branded-term PPC search advertising is more complex, but also potentially much more rewarding than it appears on the surface. When in doubt, try some tests.