How to Use Branded Keywords in Trademark Campaigns

By Tinuiti Team

What are Trademark Campaigns?

When selecting keywords for a PPC trademark campaign, it’s important to use branded keywords. Branded keywords are the search words or keyword phrases that include the brand name or company name. For example, Nordstrom could create a trademark campaign targeting shoppers searching for “Nordstrom”.

Trademark or branded PPC campaigns target customers who are already familiar with a brand. Also, campaigns that include branded keywords typically experience a higher presence on the SERP results and target bottom funnel shoppers.

But, one of the main reasons retailers hesitate to spend their marketing dollars on branded or trademark campaigns is because of the expense. We get it. Why would a retailer want to introduce a new cost of acquisition for a customer if they don’t have to?

We understand the hesitation, but unfortunately all too often retailers assume that their website is going to be the first one found when a shopper is searching for their products by brand name. This is not always the case. For example, companies will bid on their competitors keywords and drive up the CPC and decrease the visibility of your brand.

It’s important to note that Brand Campaigns are different than Branded Campaigns and for this article we will only be discussing Branded Campaign strategy. Brand Campaigns  only target customers who are familiar with brands that are resold on your site. An example of a brand campaign would be if Nordstrom created a campaign to target shoppers searching for “Free People”.

Trademark Campaigns: Ad Group themes

Below we’ve provided an example of the ad groups and keywords that would be used in a trademark campaign for the brand, “Nordstrom”:
Brand – Nordstrom
Review – Nordstrom review, Nordstrom testimonial
Coupon – Nordstrom coupon, nordstrom coupon codes
Promotion – Nordstrom promo, Nordstrom promo codes
Sale – Nordstrom on sale, Nordstrom yearly sale
Domain – www nordstrom com, nordstrom online, nordstrom website

“Whenever possible, retailers should use the ® symbol to establish authenticity. This also takes up more real estate on the SERP and draws the shopper’s eye to the ad,” Kelly O’Connell PPC Architect at CPC Strategy said.kelly-o'connell

Retailers should also include valuable information to their campaigns including location, callouts, reviews, etc. We also suggest retailers include any campaign-level negatives if needed. An example of a negative keyword would be “Nordstrom Rack” since those terms identify with a separate branded campaign.

Why Do I Need Trademark Campaigns?

There are 5 main reasons why branded campaigns are a good idea including:

1) Major companies often bid on their competitor’s brands

The best way brands can get a leg up on their competitors is by buying their own branded terms. Typically your bids will be much lower (with higher quality scores) making it more difficult (and more expensive) for competitors to bid on your branded terms.

2) Increase your brand presence on the SERP

“If competitors are bidding on your term, they are going to drive up your CPC cost. You want to claim your territory on the SERP,”  O’Connell said. By having multiple listings on the SERP, retailers can strengthen their branding message and create more opportunity for shoppers to click through to their website.

branded campaigns

3) Ads will show above any organic listings for your store

Paying for your branded keyword listing is one of the only ways retailers can guarantee a placement above the organic listing for their products.

4) Low Branded PPC cost

Every marketer dreams of finding keywords at a low PPC cost that still rank for search volume. “Branded campaigns usually have a very low CPC because their quality score is so high. None of the competitors bidding on your brand name are actually your brand, meaning that your landing page, display URL, and ad copy will be much more relevant to the shopper. Google wants to show relevant content, so the more relevant your ad is, the lower your CPC will be,” said O’Connell.

5) Brand searches are usually bottom of the funnel

Shoppers who are searching for your company, specifically by your brand name – are typically more likely to convert. There’s a good chance they are familiar with your brand and are very close to making a purchase.

Trademark Campaigns Common Mistakes

In your trademark campaign you want to make sure you’re are only targeting top level branded keywords and not mixing in keywords that target specific categories on your site.

For example, you should only target top level terms for your branded campaign such as Nordstrom Coupons or Nordstrom Sale.
Other modifiers such as Nordstrom Women or Nordstrom Men would be considered more specific and should be build out in separate campaigns.

“You want to avoid overlapping or mixing those types of modifier keywords in your trademark campaign. These ads should have more specific landing pages than your Trademark ads. For example, trademark ads should just take the shopper to your home page whereas an ad for something like “Nordstrom Women’s Shirts” should land on the women’s blouses page. Remember, the more relevant your ad is, the higher your quality score will be, which will decrease your CPC.” O’Connell said.

3 Common Objections to Branded PPC Campaigns

If you’re still questioning branded campaigns – I recommend checking out our 3-part video series below where we address the 3 biggest concerns with branded trademark campaigns including:

1. Do Branded Trademark Campaigns Hurt Your CPA?

2. Do Branded Trademark Campaigns Hurt Your SEO?

3. Do Branded AdWords Campaigns Hurt Your Online Branding?


For more on branded keywords, email [email protected]

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