Creating a strong brand takes time. Unfortunately, when it comes to paid search advertising, using the good name of another company to steal your customers takes almost no time.
It is frustrating and difficult, but ultimately it is part of the game that we all play. If you do a good job of marketing your company, people will inevitably start targeting your brand keywords.
The question is, what can you do regarding it?
Fortunately, if you discover yourself in this flattering but frustrating situation, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation
Let’s take a look at your options:
1. Ask them to stop
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It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the easiest way to stop someone from advertising under your brand is to simply ask them to stop. You would be surprised at how reasonable and humane your competitors can be if you talk to them over the phone or meet them face to face.
For example, one of our customers participated in a brand terms ad war. They were bidding on the competitor’s brand, the competition was bidding on their terms … and everyone was losing money. So, we decided to talk to your competitors on the phone and ask for a ceasefire.
The customer would stop advertising under its competitors’ brand if its competitors stopped advertising under the customer’s terms.
To our surprise, everyone was quite open to the idea.
In the end, neither the customer nor its competitors were getting enough conversions by bidding on their competitors’ brand terms to justify increasing the CPC on their brand terms.
Most importantly, without your competitors’ ads available to distract or dissuade your potential customers, your cost per conversion has dropped 93%.
It took some extra time and effort to reach the competition but declaring a ceasefire significantly improved the performance of our client’s paid search campaigns.
Not all negotiations will be so easy, but your competitors can be quite reasonable if you just talk to them about the situation. War creates casualties on all sides, and this holds for paid search marketing. If you can help a competitor see this, you can simply stop them from advertising under your brand, without having to use any of the other tactics in this article.
2. See if you can turn them off
Advertising on another company’s branded keywords is not illegal. Using another company’s registered trademarks or copyrights is. So if a competitor is using your brand, slogan, etc. in your ad copy, you can report it to Google that will force you to withdraw the ad.
That won’t stop them from coming back with ads that don’t use your name or other copyrighted content, but it’s a start. Depending on the competitor, a slap on Google’s wrist may be enough to stop him from running ads under your brand entirely, so this is a great next step to try.
3. Increase your bids on your brand terms
if you can’t stop the competition from advertising under your brand, you may need to beat them at your own game.
The good news is that brand terms have a very high and very specific search intent, so your competitors will have low-quality scores for the ads they serve with your brand terms.
You, on the other hand, will have high-quality scores, which means that you should be able to beat the competition with a much lower cost per click.
To make a long story short, if you’re not already bidding on your brand terms and someone else is, you should probably create a campaign around your brand terms.
If you’re already running a brand terms campaign and someone is beating you, you’ll probably need to raise your bids. Spending more money to prevent someone from diverting traffic from your brand terms is not fun, but it is effective.
4. Going to war
Finally, if you can’t convince your competitor (s) to stop advertising under your brand, they’re doing it legally and they’re still doing it even after you raise your bids, it’s time to go to war. Sometimes, the only way to reach a ceasefire is to shoot back.
If you choose to follow this path, make sure you don’t use any trademark elements of your competitor’s brand in your ads. In addition, it’s a good idea to consider the value you’ll get from showing ads on your competitors ’brand terms.
Unfortunately, advertising in terms of branding tends to work best when smaller companies bid on the branding of larger companies.
For smaller companies, advertising in terms of a well-known competitor’s brand is a good way to throw your hat in the ring as a potential alternative. Larger companies,
however, are generally already a recognized brand, so advertising under a smaller competitor’s brand is kind of useless – if they wanted to buy from you, why would they be looking for a smaller competitor?
So as much as you want to teach your competition a lesson by bidding high on your brand terms if serving ads in terms of a brand new competitor’s brand doesn’t provide a good return on ad spend, it may not be a good investment.
If you’re losing enough revenue from the campaign that it’s worth losing a little in the short term to get a long-term ceasefire, you can consider retaliatory for a few months, but make sure you know which ones what your goals are and how much you’re willing to spend to achieve them.
As frustrating as it is to have someone bid on your brand won with so much effort, it is not the end of the world. There are several steps you can take to minimize the damage, and with a little negotiation (aggressive or not), you may just be able to convince your competitor (s) to stop advertising with your brand terms.