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SEM: Two Simple Strategies to Increase Brand Campaign Value

Whether you are a veteran of paid search success or the fresh new digital exec on the block, the question of bidding on your brand will be omnipresent. It’s all too easy to assume that hits will come through organically, but beautifully executed brand campaigns make big differences. Throughout my 10 years of experience, this question never goes unasked; I’ve just got a lot better at answering it.

Why a brand campaign?

Brand campaigns provide you and your client with a direct, pro-active communication channel with your customer base. For example, if you have a 2-day sale on, you can change the messaging on your ads minute by minute. You don’t have to wait around while your customer base could be exploring other options. If it doesn’t fit your message, change it! This also works if you are experiencing difficulties and your service is down. You can provide clients with an apology message that ensures you will be back up and running in no time, reinforcing your brand’s presence and its care for customers.

Your CPC will be low for this channel and you are increasing the conversion rate of your existing customer base by promoting the fact that your brand is malleable in suiting customer’s needs.

A Common Mistake

Unfortunately, in the days when online marketing was still a fledgling industry, some of our forerunners decided to a package all SEM campaigns into the one bucket. They placed all SEM channels, whether they were brand, prospecting, remarketing or branding campaigns, together. Thankfully, this packaging no longer acceptable as the advertising industry is much more savvy and knowledgeable. When it comes to SEM campaigns, separate is better.

Strategy 1: Keywords

Using longtail keywords and thinking that the more exact you are, the better? For brand campaigns this could not be more wrong. We now know that the more precise your keyword list, the lower you will pay and the higher your quality score will be. This one had to be learnt the hard way and is unfortunately a common costly mistake for you and your brand if handled incorrectly.

The way that the Google advertising algorithm work means that certain words put your bids into a price bracket that sets a minimum ceiling for your bid. If you’re not a reseller or have competitors bidding on you, by using a brand keyword by itself you can get your bids down to as low as $0.02. I’ve even heard of $0.01! But I’d have to see that unicorn to believe it.

Example of Generic Keywords:

Customer searches for: cycle washing machine
Broad Keyword: washing machine            bid $5         paid per click $4
Exact Keyword: cycle washing machine    bid $5         paid per click $3

Example of Brand Keywords:

Customer searches for: [BRAND] online
Phrase Keyword: [BRAND] online bid $0.50 paid $0.40
Phrase Keyword: [BRAND] bid $0.50 paid $0.12

In the above example, by letting our [BRAND] phrase match pick up the search, we actually get a huge hike in average position and a much lower CPC. If you don’t believe me, give it a try! It’s an easy strategy to test out.

The reason this strategy is not widely utilised (and keeps me in work) is that it goes completely against the theory of non-brand campaigns. The worst case I have seen is a company losing 50% of its SEM budget by not utilising this simple strategy.

Strategy 2: Negative Audiences

This strategy came about when a client who was offering SaaS service realised that almost 50% of their brand searches were being utilised by users of their software looking for a quick way to login – obviously a waste of advertising money.

This strategy uses an educated assumption about how long it has been since a user has been absent from a client’s website and divides clients into groups for delivering more effective, targeted remarketing content. While this strategy will suit any client in any industry, let us illustrate with a travel tour company business client. This is a long form strategy so we need to assume that it has been in place for 2 years on this client’s website.

User group 1: New Visitor – Hasn’t visited the website in the past 2 years
Messaging: Warm Lead – Trust + Credibility messaging

User group 2: Return Visitor – Visited Website in last 2 months at least once
Messaging: Hot Lead – Deals + Savings

User group 3: Medium return visitor – Visited 2 months to 6 months ago
Messaging: Warm Lead – New Deals + Changes + Repeat Business discount messages

User group 4: Long return visitor – Visited 6 to 24 months ago
Messaging: Cold lead – Changes to website – new offerings – new deals

You will need the below lists to implement the strategy:

  • Remarketing list 2 months
  • Remarketing list 6 months
  • Remarketing list 24 months

The above four groups are created by using positive and negative audience and combinations of the 3 different groups.

Go forth, divide and conquer!

By custom fitting our messaging to our distinct groups we are able to tailor things like callouts, site-links, and extensions. This consistently reintegrates brand awareness in existing customer links, pushes conversions and increases and re-establishes brand loyalty.

Next Steps?

Give this a go yourself and run some of your own experiments. If your needing assistance with your own digital marketing efforts, SEM or SEO strategies, feel free to get in touch with our Impressive team. We’d love to see how we can help.

Image credit: negativespace.co via https://www.pexels.com


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