1. SEO Wiki
  2. Brand bidding

Brand bidding

Brand bidding definition

Brand bidding is part of search engine advertising when companies bid on their own brand name as keywords in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns, such as those on Google Ads. This strategy allows companies to display their ads prominently when someone searches for their brand name.

Here’s a breakdown of the key brand bidding elements:

  • Keywords: In brand bidding, the keywords are typically the brand name or trademarks associated with the company.
  • PPC advertising platform: This is the platform used for brand bidding. Companies pay a fee each time their ad is clicked.
  • Search Engine Results Page (SERP): The goal of brand bidding is to appear at the top of these results when specific brand-related queries are made.
  • Ad auctions: Each time a brand-related query is entered into a search engine, an automated auction determines which ads will appear based on factors like bid amount, ad relevance, and quality score.
  • Competitors: Often, companies engage in brand bidding to outcompete rivals who may also bid on similar brand keywords. By doing so, they ensure to remain the most visible choice for users searching for their brand.

By bidding on their own brand names, companies aim to secure the top advertising spots, enhance visibility, and control the messaging that appears in search results. Plus, they try to protect the brand from competitors who might bid on the same keywords.

Difference between brand bidding and keyword bidding

Both brand bidding and keyword bidding are important in a comprehensive PPC campaign. While brand bidding ensures brand protection and targeted conversion, keyword bidding helps to capture new leads and broaden market visibility. However, these strategies have a few differences:

  • Focus: Brand bidding focuses on the brand and its trademarks, while keyword bidding targets a wide range of relevant search queries that do not necessarily include the brand.
  • Search intent: Brand bidding captures high-intent users familiar with the brand. Keyword bidding aims to capture both high and low-intent users at various stages of the buying cycle.
  • Competition: Brand bidding often involves competing against other advertisers who may attempt to capitalize on the brand's name recognition. In contrast, keyword bidding involves competing in a broader market space with varying levels of competition depending on the keywords chosen.

How brand bidding in Google Ads auction works

Google Ads auction is like a behind-the-scenes contest that happens every time you search for something. Here’s how it works: When you type in a search, Google quickly looks at all the ads related to your search terms. It checks which ads should show up based on what they’re about, how much money advertisers are willing to spend, and other settings.

Then, Google ranks these ads in a specific order. The position of each ad on the search results page is determined by its Ad Rank. This ranking is based on a few things: how much the advertiser is willing to pay per click, the ad's Quality Score (a measure of relevance and landing page quality), and how useful additional features like contact info or site links might be. The best spot on the search results page goes to the ad with the best mix of these factors.

Advertisers don’t just pay their highest bid – they pay just enough to beat the next best ad. This system ensures that advertisers pay only what is necessary to maintain their ad position. And that the most relevant and high-quality ads achieve prominent visibility.

Types of brand bidding

Brand bidding can be implemented in various ways, depending on a company’s marketing goals, competitive landscape, and industry specifics. Businesses mostly use the following ways: 

Direct brand bidding

This is the most straightforward approach where a company bids on its own brand name as a keyword. This strategy ensures that the company’s ads appear when someone searches specifically for their brand, thus controlling the narrative and protecting the brand’s online presence from competitors.

Competitor brand bidding

In this approach, companies bid on the brand names of their competitors. The goal here is to capture traffic from potential customers who are interested in a competitor's products or services but might still be swayed to consider alternatives. This can be effective but needs to be handled delicately to avoid legal issues and negative branding implications.

Why should you bid on your brand?

There are several reasons to bid on your brand even if you rank organically for your own name:

Control over search results. You ensure that your ads appear prominently when users search for your brand. This gives you control over the first impression potential customers get in the search results, enabling you to present a strong brand message.

Defense against competitors. Your rivals might bid on your brand name in an attempt to capture your audience and divert traffic to their offerings. By actively bidding on your own brand terms, you prevent competitors from occupying the top ad positions in search results for your brand name.

Increased traffic and conversions. People searching for your brand are more likely to engage with your content or make a purchase. Thus, ads targeting these searches typically see higher click-through rates and conversion rates.

Useful data insights. Paid campaigns provide valuable data on search trends, user behavior, and campaign performance. Bidding on your brand allows you to gather specific insights about how people interact with your brand online, which can direct your further marketing strategies.

Brand bidding challenges

Brand bidding can indeed present several challenges:

Budget management. Depending on the competitiveness of the brand name, bidding on it as a keyword can be expensive. Since the brand name typically has a high relevance score, the cost per click can be high, leading to increased advertising costs.

Cannibalization. If users are already familiar with your brand and would have clicked on your organic search result anyway, paying for a click on your brand name might not provide additional value but instead cannibalize organic traffic.

Legal issues. In some cases, brand bidding can lead to legal issues, especially if competitors misuse brand names or trademarks in their ad copy or landing pages.

Strategic complexity. Managing brand bidding alongside other keyword strategies can be complex. Balancing the budget between brand terms and non-brand terms while ensuring optimal ROI requires strategic planning and constant monitoring.

Despite these challenges, brand bidding can still be a valuable strategy for maintaining brand visibility, capturing high-intent traffic, and defending against competitors in the digital landscape. However, it requires careful planning and optimization to mitigate risks.


Google SERP Features: A Visual Guide to Search Result Types
SEO vs PPC: How to Get Most from SERPs without Spending a Fortune