Brand term coverage is a smart strategy to protect a Brand, particularly when competitive ads start showing up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). These terms also tend to have high Quality Scores and CTR with lower CPCs. But what happens when CPCs start to spike, average position and Impression Share falls? To top it all off, Conversions and their efficiency start to go down as well!

Looking at SERPs, you realize competitor ads have more than doubled and a number of them have promo heavy copy. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some creative options to combat rising Costs and decreasing Impression Share that doesn’t include spending a fortune outbidding your competition.

Talk to Your Partners

Often times, your biggest competition are your resellers. They have the freedom to mark down prices by 30-50% because they buy at wholesale rates; for similar reasons they can also afford bidding up aggressively, driving up your CPCs. Even though you’re competing for ad space, you’re in the unique situation where you can communicate with them!

Reach out to your partners to try to figure out a good strategy that will work for both of you; here are a couple of topics worth discussing:

  • Average Position: Ad rank 1-4 are primo spaces. Ideally resellers would drop out of the competition, the next best option would be to have their ads below yours; having them set up bid to position rules for 2 or lower will help keep your CPCs reasonable.
  • Ad Copy Guidelines: If resellers have promo heavy copy, the first two options might not help your bottom line. In that case, this conversation might be a little harder to have, but setting guidelines on what resellers can promote would be the next best step.

Test New Ad Copy

Advertisers will frequently keep Evergreen copy focused on a few things:

  • They’re the Official source (ie. Eddie Bauer® Official)
  • Spectrum or most popular products and services
  • Sign Up discounts, and more specific to e-commerce clients, shipping policies

These are great guidelines for Brand copy, but when your CTR is suffering because competitor ads have big promotions, you’ve got to fight back.

Regular ad copy testing is a must for any account’s growth; this situation is just another opportunity to test what verbiage works best. Here are a couple of ideas to get started:

  • Match Your Competitors: take a look at your competition, what value props do you have in common with them which they’re heavily relying on + you haven’t advertised? For example, if you both have eco-friendly products that they’re taking advantage of and you’re not, it might be worth a test.
  • Promote your Sale page: you don’t need to sacrifice profit by having special promotions to capture incremental Conversions. Try promoting offers available on your Sale or Clearance page against Brand terms to stay competitive in a sea of bargain promoters. The caveat here is to watch your Conversion Rate; you may be winning your traffic back, but at what Cost?

Change Your Goals

Your Brand terms will always be the most profitable and highest Revenue/Lead driving set of keywords in your inventory, so you want to keep visibility for these as high as possible. Case studies have shown having a high Brand presence on SERPs (ie. Shopping, Paid Search, Organic) improve chances in converting a user – this is especially true for Brand queries.

If you have a blended KPI, consider separating goals for Brand and Nonbrand. Keeping your Brand goal more flexible than Nonbrand will help give you some breathing room to continue dominating SERPs.

Ultimately, your Brand terms are your most Cost efficient set of keywords. Competitors aggressively encroaching on them is always stressful, but there are options to start pushing back.

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