Does it Blend? Blending Brand and Non-Brand Terms Creates a Sticky Mess

blenderAll Agencies and Advertisers deal with the somewhat sticky issue of Brand terms. How do you assign a target Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA)? Are you tracking attribution or at least estimating an attribution effect on brand terms? Are Brand Terms given the proper amount of value relative to the more general broad terms of the campaigns? Should I blend the CPA of the Brand and Non-Brand terms or shoot for different CPAs for each? Should you be bidding on the brand terms at all? Agency and Advertiser will have to come to a consensus on the how and why of each of these questions, but one issue requires no debate: Merging Brand and Non-Brand terms in the same campaign creates a sticky mess. In this post, we address 5 reasons why you should tightly define Brand terms and isolate them from the general terms in your campaigns.

Creates Clouded Reporting

Paid search campaigns live or die based on results. Decisions on what works, what doesn’t and insights about new directions come from digging through reporting for performance insights. With a lot of different campaigns, the task already requires a lot of attention and analysis. Defining your brand terms very narrowly, meaning using variations of your company or products unique to your company, into their own campaigns, allows you to report on an individual product line and company terms to see how searchers are identifying you from previous website visits, branding efforts or SEO. Diving into the data using filtering and other methods would get you to the same place with mixed campaigns, but requires additional work that creates a reporting burden. Use the saved time to improve performance, test a new ad or devise a landing page test rather than making unnecessary reporting adjustments.

Hurts Automation

Automation uses reporting to do its Voodoo. Reporting relies on structured and granular campaigns to best take advantage of automation. While automation takes a huge burden off of advertising professionals to use their brains for more creative tasks, automation needs the same professionals to put a logical structure around the campaigns. The same principle applies in both Brand and non-Brand terms, keep them tightly themed to give automation the best possible chance to evaluate the performance. Automation is less of a problem when doing keyword level bid changes, but more complex ROAS, CPA or other bidding options looking at a blended portfolio of terms can get confused by wildly different performing terms grouped together.

Stifles Day-parting and Geo-Targeting Advantages

Optimization of campaigns hones your results to a fine point. After taking all of the data into consideration, you determined that the best use of your advertising dollar rests in a small city west of Dallas during the hours of 10 am to 1 pm M-W-Th. More likely, you’ve determined the best time of day to boost bids, or areas of the country where certain benefits of your products play better than others. However, advertisers rarely want to limit the exposure of their brand terms when someone searches. Isolation of brand terms from more general terms allows the benefits of targeting, without hiding your brand terms at the same time.

Limits Budgeting Options

See “Day-parting and Geo-Targeting” above. In addition, sequestering brand terms budget allows you to always know what you are spending on activities more at the beginning of the sales funnel rather than brand terms which should be closer to the end. Most importantly, you never want the competition to appear above or instead of you on your own brand terms basically stealing away your customers as they were electronically walking in your front door.

Muddies Attribution Tracking

Attribution tracking makes cowards of us all. Sure, the tracking part gets easier as the tools improve, but you must trust the algorithms to look all the touch points into consideration for bidding. Allocation of budget takes on a dramatic difference in complexity when all of your channels intermingle and influence your potential clients. Advertisers decide to consider or even ignore brand terms influence when considering and analyzing attribution models. Without separate Brand campaigns and very narrowly themed campaigns and ad groups throughout, attribution tracking becomes for difficult for algorithms to digest and for analysts glean any insights.