Advanced Trademark Strategies For Large AdWords Advertisers

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Especially at larger companies, your brand name trademark and its variations are incredibly important to your overall search marketing keyword portfolio.

Go ahead and run a search query report in your AdWords account. Identify all queries that pertain to your brand name. Then, take a look at the percentage of your overall sales coming from the trademark queries. Is it a large percentage? (It should be for larger brands.) Next, look at your cost per acquisition (CPA) for your trademark queries. Sum up the costs from these queries and then divide by conversions. How does your CPA compare to your overall account level CPA? (It should be quite a bit lower, especially at a more established business.)

Your trademark is an end-of-funnel keyword so those searching and clicking your brand name are ready to buy! The bread and butter of many enterprise-level SEM accounts is your own brand name. For all of these reasons and more, it’s incredibly important proactively monitor and optimize your trademark in the world of search engine marketing. Today, I’m thrilled to share a few basic and advanced trademark management tips.

Tip 1: Bid Aggressively On Your Trademark

For the reasons discussed above, it’s so important to capture all possible clicks on your on trademark. You spend so much money advertising online. When it’s time for a customer to buy and they are searching for your website, you definitely do not want them going to the competitor because you rank poorly on your own trademark.

Bid aggressively on your trademark with PPC Be aggressive. B-e aggressive. B-e a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e.


I always recommend bidding aggressively. How aggressively? It really depends on match type. On exact, I have no problem bidding $50 or more. On broad/phrase, this gets more complex and I typically take a more moderate approach (we shall discuss this later). Because it’s your trademark, your click-through-rate (CTR) is going to be high. Even if you bid $50, you should experience actual cost per click (CPC) in the sub $1 range. When you bid this high, you are telling Google and other search engines that you want to show up in position 1.0. When you bid this high, you are also making it more difficult for affiliate hijackers to get the best of your TM (see tip 3 below).

Tip 2: Watch Your Trademark Closely

I have seen a lot of strange stuff happen over the years on brand name keywords. That said, it’s funny, the brand name is often one of the least watched keywords. Online advertising professionals focus so much on the high profile generic keywords that they sometimes take a set and forget approach with brand keywords. I advise the complete opposite. Crazy stuff can happen on your brand. I’m talking about competitors leveraging your brand name in their copy. I’m talking about advertisers impersonating your brand. I’m talking about affiliate hijackers. I’m talking about mapping issues that cause delivery issues. I’m talking about crazy broad matching (see tip 4 below). I like to watch my brand keywords like a hawk. You never know what can happen. However, if you are watching closely, you will always be in a position to make the necessary adjustments.

Tip 3: Watch Out For Affiliate Hijackers

Affiliate hijackersDo you offer an affiliate program? Do you prohibit affiliates from buying your own brand name in search marketing (you should)? Even if you do, some affiliates will break the rules and hijack your URL on search engines. What does this mean? Basically, they will advertise on Google AdWords as if they were you. They will impersonate your ad. They will direct link to your site. The only difference? They will embed their affiliate code in the tracking URL. To the consumer, the experience should be more or less the same (depending on the landing page they choose). On the back end, however, you will experience a big difference. Now, you have to pay full affiliate commission rate on conversions that would have been yours for far less. You already paid for top-of-funnel keywords that had high CPAs. You deserve to pay as little as possible on your own TM to recoup those top-of-funnel costs. Hijackers like to do all sorts of sneaky stuff such as day parting (they think you won’t be looking at night), geo targeting states outside your home territory, and bidding super aggressively. I always recommend bidding your TM high (tip 1), watching closely (tip 2), and leveraging software such as The Search Monitor to protect your trademark.

Tip 4: Exact Match Negatives Are Your Friend

Search engines are getting aggressive with broad match. If you are big in your category and bid really high, your broad match trademark will start mapping to all sorts of queries. Google’s expanded broad match can get especially aggressive when you bid really high. Now, there is a real predicament here. I recommend bidding high on your TM, even on broad match, since many of the queries on search engines have never been searched before (tip 1). There are infinite misspellings of your brand name, you want the consumer to find you. That said, you don’t want generic queries to map to your trademark. That will be quite inefficient and costly. The solution? Run search query reports in your TM campaigns regularly. If you see any strange mappings, make them exact match negatives. After some time, you may have thousands of exact match negatives in your TM campaigns – that is ok. The important point here is to keep doing this process regularly. Issues can easily get masked with TM campaigns since your overall CPA may look low. Don’t let the averages fool you, however. There is always room for optimization and improvement!

Tip 5: Cast A Wide Net With Your Trademark

For a variety of budgetary and performance-driven reasons, you may not advertise in all geos, all days/times, all networks, and all devices. 


Cast a wide net with your branded PPC terms

That makes complete sense. In SEM, we are obsessed with optimization and getting the most for our dollar. However, I wanted to close today with a tip all about going big on your TM. Especially at a large company, your TM should be very profitable. Due to this fact, even if you run at less-than-perfect times of the day or less-than-perfect geos, you should have a good CPA. Moreover, putting the economics aside (which I don’t do too frequently expect in very rare cases like this one), it’s your TM. You need to represent your brand and keep competitors from taking advantage of your brand. For these reasons, I recommend setting up your brand name keywords in such a way that you always show up, everywhere! Sometimes this requires separate campaign structures. For example, if you day part your non-TM campaigns, you will need separate non-day parted campaigns for your TM.

I sincerely hope these tips help and best of luck in building your brand name in 2013. Go big on your brand and it will pay dividends far in to the future!

Ian Lopuch

Ian Lopuch

Ian Lopuch is a digital marketer, technology executive, investor, and blogger. Lopuch enjoys educating, empowering, and helping others grow their careers.

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