Google Branded Search Campaign Strategy

Person doing a Google Search on a laptop computer

All too often when auditing brands, I see them wasting money on brand search. Yes, it’s important to protect your brand, how much you need to depend on your brand specifically, and how your competitors are advertising against your brand, so it’s really a case-by-case basis. However, there is a right way to do this.

First off, ALWAYS use eCPC as the bid strategy. Manual CPC and monitoring competitive metrics is the winning combo strategy here. It takes a little work, but it can save you 50-70% perhaps more doing it that way. It’s so much better than letting Google decide your max CPCs with automated bidding. Then you can re-invest those funds into prospecting on search or PMAX or any other channels you wish.


1 – Change your bid strategy from automated to eCPC

2 – Set your bids to .01 (if competitive maybe 5 cents)

3 – Google will tell you what your bid needs to be on the first page in the STATUS column

4 – Increase your bids to ESTIMATED FIRST PAGE BID

You will see an immediate drop in your average CPC without negatively impacting your search impression share too much.

Then keep an eye on it on a regular basis. If your search impression share starts to drop, increase your eCPC bids by 10-20% at a time until you like where the search impression share is. I usually target around 70-80% impression share but that depends on how aggressively your competition is trying to woo your brand’s customers and your brand’s desire to protect those brand keywords, every brand is different.

This works for brand campaigns because your quality score for your own brand will always be high because of the relevancy.  So, you will pay less than your competitors to maintain your position.

If you use automated bidding for branded campaigns, you’re letting Google decide what your max CPC bid should be and you will pay more (potentially way more) than is necessary.

From my testing through the years, I have seen this strategy save costs by as much as 50-80%, average CPC by 50-70%, and CPA down 50-70% as well as also maintaining search impression share and even increasing it.

Target IS still leverages Google’s automated bidding systems and is more reactive to other competitors coming into the auction and trying to outbid you. It also doesn’t allow for keyword-level control for all the keywords in that campaign. I still prefer manual/eCPC but not to say target IS doesn’t work! I just prefer a bit more control for those keywords even though it takes a little manual work.

Good luck give it a try then REINVEST that saved money into prospecting!

Scott Perry along with Eric Grindley recently discussed ways to Drive Traffic in a Slow Economy in HFA’s latest webinar.  Also, check out their podcast Marketing Retail where they will take deeper dives into driving traffic strategies.

Scott Perry

With over 27 years of experience, Scott Perry has seen it all from the birth of eCommerce to the latest in Omnichannel.

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