Why you should always bid on your own brand keywords in Google AdWords

Last updated on Sep 4, 2015

During several years of working as an online marketing consultant and PPC account manager, this is one of the most frequent questions my clients have asked me:

“Why should I waste my money on my own brand keywords if I already rank on position 1 for all of them?”

Here’s my reply.

Better combined click-through rates: More traffic

The first argument for bidding on your brand keywords is a purely mathematical one. If two results (PPC & organic) show up for your brand keywords, your combined click-through rate will automatically be higher than if only the organic result shows up. A higher click-through rate means more traffic, as long as the search volume doesn’t drop.

If you doubt this assumption, you should link your AdWords account to your Google Search Console property and check out the “Paid & Organic” report, which you can find by clicking on the “dimensions” tab in your AdWords account. This report shows you the exact click-through rate for every keyword for the following three cases:

  • Only an organic result shows up
  • Only a paid result shows up
  • Both organic and paid results show up

You can test the different scenarios and you will see that your click-through rate will always be higher when two results show up.

Decorate your display window!

The next argument for bidding on your own brand keywords is related to the fact that the goal of AdWords is not only to drive traffic to your website, but also to carry a marketing message.

If your website was a store on a shopping street, the Google search result page for searches for your brand would be your display window. Bidding on brand ads is an excellent way to decorate your display window in the best manner:


I would like to share some statistics from one of my ecommerce clients to make my point. One month this year, 16% of all their customers clicked on an AdWords ad after searching for their brand and before buying their products. The customers that clicked on the ads bought products worth 40,000 USD. The brand keywords cost my client 250 USD that month with a CPC of 0.12 USD.

Now don’t you think that an investment of 250 USD is justified for greeting 16% of your buying customers with a decent and optimised search result when they search for your brand on Google? Not bidding on your brand keywords when you have a website is like not decorating your display window when you run a store in the city’s main shopping street.

Displace your competitors

Like it or not, your competitors will most likely also bid on your brand keywords. Lucky enough, you can easily displace them by joining the auction. You will have good quality scores for your own brand keywords and you will obtain top positions easily, while your competitors will struggle with bad quality scores.

Nevertheless, if you don’t bid on your own brand keywords, but your competitors do, they will show up above your organic search results and they will probably “steal” a significant amount of traffic from you. And, let’s be honest, what kind of impression does it give to your potential customers if you don’t even bother to dominate the search results for your own brand searches?

Boost your entire account performance with brand keywords

The next argument for bidding on your own brand keywords that I want to share with you refutes an argument from the question I cited in the beginning:

“Why should I waste my money on my own brand keywords if I already rank on position 1 for all of them?”

In fact, when you bid on your brand keywords, you don’t actually waste money at all. Above, we already discussed how cheap brand keywords normally are. My client only spent 250 USD on clicks from customers that brought them sales of 40,000 USD. But the best thing about this investment is that it actually helps you save money on other keywords!

Let me explain. A while ago, I already published an article on how to improve the quality score of your AdWords keywords. One thing I didn’t mention in that article is the fact that quality scores also depend on account-wide factors. This means that badly performing keywords and ads can have a negative effect on your entire account performance, just as well as well-performing keywords and ads can boost your entire account performance in a positive way.

Your brand keywords, which will most likely all have a quality score of 10 and awesome click-through rates, will thus have a positive effect on the quality scores in your entire account. This means that you will save money on your other campaigns and these savings might even be bigger than the investment you make in your brand keywords.

Use brand keywords to promote special campaigns on your website

If you have landing pages on your website that have certain goals, like generating new newsletter signups, or special product promotions, bidding on brand keywords is a very good way to generate additional attention for these campaigns. Brand campaigns can also help you promote new products to a target audience that is very likely to be interested in them: Users that already know your brand and search for it on Google.

Be creative and use the space Google gives you at the top of their search result pages to lead your users exactly where you want them to go. Drive valuable traffic to pages where people that already know your brand will perform conversions that have a value for your business.

As you can see, there is no reason not to bid on your own brand keywords. Use the opportunities explained here and make the most of your brand searches.

Summary: Why you should always bid on your own brand keywords in Google AdWords

  • Generate more traffic with organic and paid results combined than with organic results only!
  • The Google search result page for searches for your brand is like a display window in a big shopping street. Decorate it!
  • Displace your competitors! If they are not bidding on your brand yet, they will probably start soon.
  • Improve your overall performance. Well-performing keywords help other keywords in the same account perform better.
  • Use brand keywords to promote certain landing pages on your website.

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