Should I advertise against my own brand names?

In the past, we’ve discussed search advertising against competitor names and against your own company name. But what about the level below this: your product brand names?

The first thing to do – of course – is to see what searches on your brand names look like at the moment. If you’re not the dominant result, it’s certainly time to take action and introduce a nice big advert. A search on Fairy Liquid, when I made it, produced just a few random results from retailers. However, even if you are at the top, you might consider advertising. That’s because the plain ‘organic’ search result – such as this one from Ford – can look a little uninspiring, whereas an advert will jump out of the page.

If you’re already top, an advert isn’t likely to get you many more clicks. However, it could push competing results below your own off the screen, protecting you from search engine users being sidetracked. It also gives you the advantage of being able to provide a bigger, more customisable sales message.

When I search for ‘polo‘, for example, I’m getting a huge advert from VW with sitelinks getting me to just the place they want me to be (“Configure Your Own Volkswagen‎”, “Explore The Polo Range”, “View The Latest Offers”, “Find A Used Polo”, “Book A Test Drive” etc). It pushes a range of messages at me in dramatic fashion. This couldn’t be done reliably with any organic search result.

The trade-off, of course, is cost. This shouldn’t put you off, because you can test out an advert and judge whether it’s worth it for just a few pounds. You’ll get a combination of clicks on the advert and on the organic result, but the relative proportions and the cost per ad click should be steady, so you’ll get a good idea what the ongoing cost of having the advert will be.

Then it’s up to you to work out if that cost is worthwhile for the messaging, and the ability to get people to specific pages. It can often be a smart investment.