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Jul 02, 2007
Blog Post

The Agony of PPC for Big Brand Names: What Should Your #1 Search Ad Say?

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, Content Director

If your brand offers only one product or service, deciding what to promote in your paid search ads is easy.

But, what do you do if, like Microsoft, your brand has a bunch of line extensions or, like Amazon, your site is a land of 100,000 SKUs. How should you handle PPC ads for your company or brand name as a whole?

Here are the four main options I see being used by big brands on search engines these days:

#1. Official Corporate Offer Copy

Let Corporate Communications hold a meeting with the branding agency, Investor Relations and maybe the CEO to figure it out. Your PPC ad for your brand name is considered on par with logo and tagline decisions.

Example: Honda
The Official Honda Site
See new Honda pictures & specs. Get a Free Dealer Quote today.

#2. Promo du Jour

Let the product marketers teams duke it out among themselves. Whoever has the biggest promo or launch gets to own that real estate for the week or day. House email list blasts and homepage real estate are probably decided at the same scheduling meeting.

Example search: Microsoft (as seen on Google)
Microsoft Updates
Detect & Remove Malicious Software. Free Removal Tool from Microsoft.

#3. Let Affiliates Eat Crumbs

You own the top organic result, so why bother paying for traffic? Let the affiliates mop up any crumbs left on the table.

Example: Keds
Best of Keds Shoes
Piperlime loves Keds Shoes!
Free shipping and returns.

#4. No Ads Allowed

After, no doubt, negotiations with Google and other search engines, you suppress all potential ads against your brand name. Nothing appears except organic listings, and you've made darn sure the top organic listing has a brand statement about your company as a whole that you can be proud of.

Example: Nestle (no ppc ad, just SEO)
Nestlé is the largest food and beverage company in the world. We aim to become the world's leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company and we are ...

So which option is the best? You'll have to run tests (including brand awareness) and tweak numbers (including traffic stats and affiliate data) to decide. My main point is that this is something worthy of consideration and investment.

The top ad (or lack thereof) that runs across your brand name is increasingly as critical for your brand's health as traditional media is. If you spend ages in committee meetings about logos, TV spots, spokespeople, PR, etc., then your brand's search presence should be examined in those meetings, too.

The Internet is no longer a branding afterthought.

Useful link related to this blog:

MarketingSherpa's search marketing topic microsite:
See Also:

Comments about this Blog Entry

Jul 02, 2007 - Sam Reynolds of Reynold Market Shares says:
I was hoping you'd at least link to articles to show statistics of some kind. The blog post without any backup data is pointless. We're disappointed. I personally don't find this helpful at all.

Jul 02, 2007 - Anne Holland of MarketingSherpa says:
Thanks for your input. I've added a hotlink at the end of this blog to our Search Marketing Topic Microsite which has literally hundreds of SEM data sources and case studies, etc. My observations here were more, well, observations than a formal study. I hope they are of some value to marketers who haven't thought strategically about that top PPC ad before. From what I can tell, many, especially big brand marketers, have clearly not considered top PPC ad implications. Hopefully now the conversation is at least on the table for them.

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