One of the biggest questions that comes up when working in paid search, whether you are at an agency or in-house, is if bidding on brand terms is worth it. At Zion & Zion we believe that, aside from very few instances, bidding on your own brand terms is 100% worth it, and it is one of the many tactics we recommend to remain competitive in paid search. In this article, we will walk through why we believe bidding on your company’s or client’s brand terms is worth it, and also mention the times where it may not be worth it.

Why Should I Bid on Brand Terms?

Dominate the SERP

It is no secret that search engine results pages (SERPs) are continually changing, with new features being introduced and designs getting tested almost every month. As more and more features and designs are tested, users are shown more options (paid ads, organic listings, Google My Business, Local Service Ads) when they perform a search. If your branded SEO is solid, why not run paid ads for your brand terms as well, since these two tactics can work so well together? When a user is searching for your brand and they see your paid ad, your organic listing, and possibly even your GMB (Google My Business) profile or LSA (Local Service Ad), there is a greater likelihood they will click on at least one of these, since they can see you clearly dominating the page. When you are dominating the SERP, there is less question from the searcher on whether they are about to click on your brand or a competitor’s brand. Without bidding on your own brand terms, if a user performs a search they may see more competitor ads mixed in, and not see a brand clearly dominate the page. You could lose this searcher to one of your competitors.

Your Competitors Are Bidding on Your Brand Terms

If you have a well-known brand, whether locally or nationally, chances are good that your competitors will be bidding on your brand terms to steal your customers away from you. When a user is searching for you, it is clear they know your name, but they could easily get pulled away by a competitor if the user doesn’t see your ad. If you decide to not bid on your brand terms and assume customers will click on your GMB profile or your organic listing below and skip the ads your competitors are running on your brand terms, think again! With you out of the market on your own brand terms, a competitor can easily show in the #1 ad spot, enticing your customers to click on their ad instead.

Lower Costs & High-Quality Scores

Unless your brand name is a generic, but popular, phrase or term (like “Arizona Lawyer” or “California Plumbers”), bidding on your own brand terms will yield high-quality scores resulting in cheaper clicks. To achieve these results, your landing page (ideally) will make use of your branding, and the ad itself containing your brand name. Therefore, you will have a high ad relevance score and landing page relevance. Combine this with a potentially higher click-through-rate when searchers see your ad is exactly what they were looking for, producing a high quality score and ad rank. We would recommend giving your branded paid search campaign as much of a budget as you can, especially if you are able to track revenue from the campaign and see a positive return. Once you are able to see a positive return, you can start to increase visibility in your ads by measuring metrics such as Search Impression Share, ensuring your customers will be able to find you when they search for you.

Control Your Messaging and Test

When running branded paid search ads, you can control the messaging you want your customers to see. Since organic listings use your page’s meta description, you are left without a way to talk directly to your customer. With search ads, you can entice your customers to click, show your current offers and specials, and give them a true call-to-action to get them to convert. You can also take advantage of the many ad extensions available, to give more information and provide callouts to your customer. Paid search ads are also a great way to test brand messaging since you can track customer engagement and update the ads quickly, allowing you to see what copy or offers resonate with customers the most and then utilize that in other media campaigns for your brand.

Measure Your Brand Awareness Campaigns

If you are running a brand awareness campaign, having a branded paid search campaign gives you a way to measure brand lift from customers performing searches for your name and your ad receiving impressions. One way to do this is to chart out your brand impressions from before your brand awareness campaign started to where it is currently at, then overlay performance from when your brand campaign started. If your branded paid search campaign was running with a wide open budget and your ads were showing a majority of the time they were eligible to be seen, you can measure what impact your awareness campaign had on users searching.

When Should I Not Bid on Brand Terms?

Competitors Aren’t Bidding on Your Terms

If you are either a very large brand like Target, Nike, or Amazon, or you’re a lesser known brand in a non-competitive market, there’s a chance there are no competitors bidding on your brand terms. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones with no one bidding on your brand, you could skip running a brand campaign. With no competitors or you running ads on your brand terms, your organic listing (assuming your SEO is strong) will show at the very top of the SERP when customers search for your name.

Return on Investment for Brand Terms is Low

If you have been running a branded campaign with the ability to track revenue generated from it and you see your Return on Investment (ROI) is low, it may not be worth it (literally) to continue running. Test pausing your branded paid search ads and redirect that budget to other paid search campaigns and find out if you have a lift in non-brand revenue.  


At the end of the day, unless your branded paid search has low return or no competitors are bidding on your terms, you should definitely bid on your own brand terms in paid search. After all, your brand is just that, YOUR brand, and you want to do all you can to own YOUR brand and preserve the loyalty of the customers searching for YOUR brand.