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But your Branded Keyword Campaign is doing so well...

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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Me: for the 10th time, remind me again why we are spending such a large portion on "Branded" keywords? (Mercedes-Benz of Hagerstown)

Agency: Because it's doing so well!!

Me: Well DUHHHHHH


BrandedPPCampaginExample.jpg

KeywordsPPCampaigns.jpg
 
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ChrisR

Boss
Oct 12, 2015
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But, but, if you don't bid on them for such a low CPC, your competitors will & you will lose business!

One of the biggest arguments I got into at a previous store, as they were convinced we had to pay the Google Tax on our name, so other stores couldn't be in the #1 spot.
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,731
1,311
Awards
2
First Name
Jeff
But, but, if you don't bid on them for such a low CPC, your competitors will & you will lose business!

One of the biggest arguments I got into at a previous store, as they were convinced we had to pay the Google Tax on our name, so other stores couldn't be in the #1 spot.
That's always the argument, right?

If a shopper is typing in your dealers name or town + make, it's because they are specifically looking for YOUR dealership. It's HIGHLY unlikely they are going to click on another dealers ad. Could it happen? I'm sure it does but I doubt it would make up for the money you're spending on that campaign. I would also bet the customer still seeks your dealership out online.

The exception to this would be if you're in a highly concentrated metro area where there's more than 1 Make in that city or region.

The other rebuttal I hear: But what about the manufacture ads. Don't you want to guarantee the shopper clicks on your ad vs the manufacturer ad?

It depends on how the manufacturer ads are set up. Are their ads clicking to a landing page that takes them to your real-estate or into your inventory being hosted on the OEM site? Most are. And if not, I doubt it's ever worth the money you're spending on that campaign. And again, I would bet the customer still seeks your dealership out online.
 

Rick Buffkin

Sausage King of Chicago
Oct 29, 2009
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A couple of things here guys. In Jeff's case (and alot of other dealers) , his brand campaign, thats technically a Geo Brand Campaign because of the structure of the OEM Brand and Geo Location being in the Name of the dealership.

If no one is bidding aggressively on the dealers Brand Terms, then it doesn't make sense for the dealer to wastefully spend the funds buying their own Brand name. I agree with you. But... and it's a BIG BOLD BUT to... In alot of cases local competitors are bidding on the dealership brand terms BUT in alot of cases Tier Two advertising are the ones thats aggressively going after the dealerships brand terms. At one time we were fighting with Tier Two because auction insights was showing them with a 90% Impression Share for exact match brand terms.

While I agree with you guys to an extent, the dealer really needs to look at their Insights Reports and see who is actually bidding on their Brand terms and how heavily. Also to note as well, If you're a dealership that has the OEM Brand and a Geo Brand in your dealership name, it could be that competitors are conquesting your Geo Location and not necessarily targeting the dealers brand name.
 

Marc Lavoie

3rd Base Coach
Jan 3, 2019
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Marc
A couple of things here guys. In Jeff's case (and alot of other dealers) , his brand campaign, thats technically a Geo Brand Campaign because of the structure of the OEM Brand and Geo Location being in the Name of the dealership.

If no one is bidding aggressively on the dealers Brand Terms, then it doesn't make sense for the dealer to wastefully spend the funds buying their own Brand name. I agree with you. But... and it's a BIG BOLD BUT to... In alot of cases local competitors are bidding on the dealership brand terms BUT in alot of cases Tier Two advertising are the ones thats aggressively going after the dealerships brand terms. At one time we were fighting with Tier Two because auction insights was showing them with a 90% Impression Share for exact match brand terms.

While I agree with you guys to an extent, the dealer really needs to look at their Insights Reports and see who is actually bidding on their Brand terms and how heavily. Also to note as well, If you're a dealership that has the OEM Brand and a Geo Brand in your dealership name, it could be that competitors are conquesting your Geo Location and not necessarily targeting the dealers brand name.
I like everything about this Rick.

There's a HUGE difference between going for your branded keywords if your store name is Mercedes-Benz of Hagerstown, Chicago Mercerdes-Benz vs Autobahn Mercedes-Benz (that happens to be in Chicago)

I would advise a dealer to go for branded content in every city their PMA is touching, just because people sometimes don't know you exist, regardless of your dealership name.

A true branded campaign, which I call "Defensive", is when you buy a keyword or specific search that is exactly your store name, such as "Autobahn Mercedes-Benz"

1) You're protecting your traffic
2) Taking Real Estate on SRPs vs competition

* For what it's worth, buying is your competitors' name is a tough game when you look at performance numbers. It just doesn't make sense. You can always do so to get some awareness in your area but I would to 100 things before this with your money if I were you.

We can all agree someone that would be searching for this, has a pretty clear

Now, if you want to rule out service (for whatever reason, which I wouldn't agree with), you can always put "Autobahn Mercedes-Benz Service" as a negative keyword...

Otherwise, you need proper segmentation of campaign and see if this is in fact yielding service leads or not, which is not bad either way because everyone's trying to figure out how to generate more service, because ehmmm, it's good money!?!

You simply need to understand that this portion of your campaign might not be 100% aligned with your campaign objective (do you even have one?) but it doesn't mean it's bad.
 
Mar 21, 2012
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Ryan
Dealers fall into 2 buckets with brand campaigns on Google Ads:


1) Running Brand Campaign When No Competitors Are

You're simply wasting money and paying the Google tax for traffic you would have already received for free (for now) via your (hopefully well-optimized) Google My Business listing. Turn your brand campaign off immediately and send me 10% of your savings as a thank you. ;)

:light: Pro Tip: Want the peace of mind of knowing whether competitors are running conquest campaigns on your brand name in the future? Leave your brand campaign running with a $1 /day budget so you can still get auction insight data. $30 /month is a low price to pay for the peace of mind it can provide your dealer principal.



2) Running Brand Campaign When Competitors Are Conquesting Your Brand Name

This is a tough situation because if you turn your brand campaign off, your dealer principal will freak out when they see a competitor showing up above your organic listing.

My recommendation would be to create a case study to prove / disprove the effectiveness of conquest campaigns by running a campaign on your competitor's brand name for a month. Make sure you have a call recording line setup on the call extension, DNI setup on your website, and conversion / goal tracking on your website.

After a month, listen to every phone call the campaign generated and document how 95% of the $7 clicks / calls were for your competitor's service customers checking on the status of their car. Document how 0 leads were generated on your website and the traffic had a 90% bounce rate.

Present your findings to the dealer principal that they should actually want their competitors wasting money on conquest campaigns. Let them waste their money, while you spend the money elsewhere on campaigns that will actually generate incremental sales.

If the case study is unsuccessful in dissuading the dealer principal, use these :light: pro tips to maximize the return while minimizing the wasted spend:
  1. Use Customer Match data to exclude your brand campaign (via negative bid adjustments) from appearing to your service customers.
  2. Use Google In-Market audience data to target in-market shoppers of your make that are searching for your brand name but are not current customers of yours. This will prevent your competitors from stealing away fresh prospects wanting to do business with you.
  3. Use Google RLSA (remarketing lists for search ads) to exclude your brand campaign from appearing to customers that have already visited your website. Trust me; these customers will click on your organic SERP or Google My Business listing.
  4. Use Google Custom Affinity Audiences to target customers that have visited your competitors' websites but are now searching for you. Don't let your competitor steal them back.
^^ :light: follow these same tips if your brand name is a generic geo name.


These tips will accomplish the following:
  1. Decrease your brand campaign spend by as much as 75%.
  2. Guarantee that you only capture the highest sales-intent customers that you *might* have lost to a competitor.
  3. Replace 99% of your "missed" paid brand campaign traffic with organic brand traffic from your SERP and Google My Business listing.
  4. Allow you to reallocate the spend to campaigns that will generate incremental sales.
  5. Make your dealer principal happy. :)


The exception to the rule: Sub-prime dealers

Sub-prime dealers are the one exception to the rule where it can absolutely make sense to run conquest / brand campaigns. If you have a well-known subprime competitor in the market, you can ride the coattails of their massive traditional tv / radio ad spend and name recognition by running conquest campaigns on their brand name. Just make sure your ad copy and landing page are really optimized for converting the traffic into leads.

This also applies in the reverse situation: if you are a well-known subprime dealer, make sure to protect your brand name from competitors looking to capitalize on your name recognition and tv / radio spend.
 
Mar 21, 2012
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Ryan
Great stuff @reverson !! Thanks for for really breaking that out for the community.
Thanks, and no problem!

PS: Agencies will fight this because suddenly all of the KPI's they report on monthly will be down.

Reassure them that you're aware and ok with this, but also use it as an opportunity moving forward to evaluate their effectiveness of driving quality paid traffic that you wouldn't have already received organically.

Trust me; they're going to try a little harder on your account without a brand campaign to prop their overall stats up. :)
 
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