Answer by Mike Schanbacher · Nov 11, 2016 at 10:44 PM
Yes. At the very least you should test bidding on branded search terms. If you do not bid on your brand terms this opens the opportunity for your competitors to own that space at a low CPC. In addition, appearing in both the top organic position and paid position increases your authority and can drive a significant amount of incremental traffic.
Purchases brand terms in SEM also allows you more flexibility on what shows when people search for your company. If you have a special offer running or have a specific TV campaign in market, you could drive specifically to a page that reflects your other efforts. This could be done through the headline of the ad itself or a sitelink.
In the vast majority of cases, buying your brand terms in SEM will lead to incremental traffic at a relatively low cost and allows your great control over the customer journey. For these reasons, I would high recommend testing brand bidding at the very least.
Answer by Dustin Woodard · Mar 08 at 11:45 PM
The answer from paid search consultants is usually yes: you should bid on branded terms. However, I can see how it one might be skeptical of a conflict of interest (especially if the advice is coming from someone who gets a percentage of ad spend). As an SEO, I recently had a scenario where I analyzed this for a high traffic client site to make sure they weren't wasting money. The short answer is that it usually makes sense. Let me walk you through a scenario:
I had a client who doubled their ad spending on branded terms, and it was very clear that traffic was being taken away from organic search. There was no question in my mind that branded PPC can cannibalize SEO traffic that you would have received otherwise. But the real question was: was it worth it?
To determine if it was worth it, I studied clickthrough for the PPC side of things and the organic side of things (using search console) and was able to calculate the generic traffic we would have received without PPC. Then I studied what the PPC cost. Branded terms are fairly cheap. So then I calculated how many sales it would take to make up for the spend (this will vary by site and the product). It turned out, if the PPC spend on branded terms saved the company from a small number of potential clients accidentally missing their organic listing (and say scrolling down to the 3rd-10th listing which was other sites), it was worth it.
For example, if you assumed the PPC ad saved you from losing 3% of traffic that might have skipped over your organic listing on accident, than it was worth it. Or in other terms, if 90% of people would have ended up on your site without the ads, but 93% end up on the site with the ads, then you can see how it might be valuable.
I'd encourage you to run your own experiments for your own site. If you sell products or services, I wouldn't be surprised if it usually makes sense to pay for the branded terms. Publishers who rely on ad impressions, however, might not see enough value because they won't make much money on the potentially lost traffic.
I believe there are other considerations that might tilt this answer to a more definite yes that a PPC person might be able to chime in on. Here's what comes to mind (though remember I am not a PPC consultant):