At one point in the relationship with every client, the one question I seem to always get is “Should I bid on my branded term?”

The simple answer is yes and here’s why.

When I first started Paid Search Ad Extensions didn’t exist. There were no Sitelinks, Call Extensions, Location Extensions, App Extensions, Review Extensions and Callout Extensions.  We also did not have any studies showing the incremental uplift in clicks by having the #1 listing in both paid and organic.

Introduction of Ad Extensions

Back then the reasons for bidding on your branded term was simple; protect yourself from competitors taking the #1 paid spot.  Though I do think this is still a reason to bid on your branded term, I also think the introduction of ad extensions has made it even more imperative to bid on your branded terms.

Though Ad Extensions are not specific to branded terms only, they do appear more often with branded searches since you are most likely going to be in the top three ad positions.  With the availability of so many ad extensions, businesses can achieve multiple objectives even before searchers enter the site, all the while still protecting their brand.

Organic Listing May Not Even Show Up Above The Fold

In addition, with the SERP becoming more crowded than ever your organic listing may not even show up above the fold.  Bidding on your branded term will ensure that you always have control of the top listing.

The introduction of ad extensions have really set paid search listings apart from organic listings, and by bidding on your brand you can easily access all these features.  For example, they can help you drive traffic to internal pages through Sitelinks, drive phone calls with Call Extensions, locate a business through Location Extension, drive app downloads through App Extension, legitimize your business through Review Extensions and show what you have to offer with Callout Extensions.

The beauty of all these Ad Extensions is that we can change them as often as we would like and for the most part pretty instantly. Couple all this with a 95 character line of ad text and you can make quite an impression with a branded search even before they get to your website.

If you compare this type of listing with an organic listing you can see how much more robust and directed a paid listing can be and help drive specific business objectives.

Branded Paid Search Listing Can Have More Impact Than an Organic Listing

With Google releasing of so many different ad extensions over the last few years it has made it even more significant to be bidding on your own branded term.  The features and customization has evolved to the point that a branded paid search listing can have more impact than an organic listing. We now have the ability to really customize the top spot on the SERP more than ever.

The Ad Extensions I talk about here are only the manual extensions.  Google has whole other set of Automated Ad Extensions that also show up with your ads that we’ll save for another post.

9 Responses

  1. Great post, George! Clients often balk at paying to bid on their branded terms. This post clearly lays out the advantages of doing so.

  2. Very solid post Geroge. I was curious to know if there is a limit to how many extensions an ad can have?

    1. Technically there is not a limit to the number of ad extensions but personally I have never seen more than 4 or 5 different extensions at once.

  3. This really takes the concept of a branded campaign to the next level. I feel like most people overlook the potential and take the opportunity for granted. You hit the nail in the head with the opening line that you hear from most clients: “Should I bid on my branded term?”


    ps: just to add a relevant resource to the post, here’s a link to a Google Adwords help page with a list of all Manual and Automated extensions:

  4. Good read, George! One other thing to remember – your competitors can bid on your brand name. Not claiming that PPC real estate is just giving your competitors a one-up while searching for YOUR brand! Not good…

  5. Crazy how the real estate on SERPs has changed in recent years and how more than ever before, bidding on branded terms can help drive results. Understanding that bidding on branded terms with the right ad copy can improve Quality Score and lower CPC, can optimizing site extension copy help too, or does it simply need to align with the indexed page it directs the user to?

    NIce work George!

    1. The presence of Ad Extensions are more important in improving Quality Score not so much the content. Having Ad Extensions naturally improves CTR which directly impacts QS. I am sure down the road though the actual sitelink and the content you drive them to will matter for QS like it does for the ad copy itself.

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