Bidding on Your Brand

Bidding on brand terms in search campaigns is hotly debated.  In one camp are those who argue that these are cheap conversions, so of course you should bid on them.  In the other corner are those who say you will get those conversions anyway through organic, so it is simply a waste of money.

They are both wrong.

You should bid on your own brand terms in order to raise conversions.

Brand terms are the end of a conversation that began somewhere else.  No customer wakes up suddenly aware of your brand, ready to search for you. Some education has happened, somewhere, at some point in the past.  If you are using multi-touchpoint tracking, you might have some insight into the attribution chain leading to that brand search, but often that will fail to provide any insight (if, for example, someone did research at home and searched at work).

At this point, you may not know anything about this prospect other than that they have heard of you and have some interest in your company and products.

What are you going to say to them?

Most companies have multiple messages that speak to their value proposition.  Some will be feature-based, most will speak to benefits.  How sure are you that your organic listing includes ALL the important messages for every audience that might lock in the sale?

Bidding on your paid brand terms gives you the chance to say something different.  You can alternate your message, say something new, provide an offer, or reinforce an ad campaign that might be driving brand activity, such as display, video, or traditional media.

But the important thing is to look at conversions.  If you are investing dollars, you need to get additional value out of it to justify the cost. For brand advertising, this should be measured in increased conversion rates, viewed holistically, with an eye to what is driving the brand conversation in the first place.

As always, it is not about clicks, CPCs, or competition.  It is about profit.

Bing Product Ads: How to Prepare

MSN has announced that Bing will open its feed-based Product Ads to all advertisers in Q3 2013. Based on the announcement’s accompanying screenshot, Product Ads will inhabit prime real estate on the Bing search results page for product-related user queries.

Similar to Google’s Product Listing Ads, Bing’s Product Ads will allow advertisers to entice potential customers with product images in a virtual marketplace, and allow users to compare relevant product search results at a glance. Since PLA’s have been a boon for many of our clients, we’re ready to take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Product Ads rollout.

Here are five ways you can prepare to take advantage of the potentially big opportunity:

1. Create a Bing Shopping feed. You’ll need one to run Product Ads. Make sure it meets editorial guidelines, and learn a little bit about which titles, descriptions, and images work best before you need to make it the backbone of your campaign. (

2. Optimize your product descriptions. Most advertisers simply copy and paste manufacturer or distributor copy into their feeds, but with a few tweaks, you can easily distinguish your store from the herd, add some personality, and pack them full of relevant, compelling keywords and phrases.

3. Use compelling product images to distinguish your listings from your competitors’. Dazzle your potential customers with large photos from multiple angles. Don’t drive them to a competitor’s listing with a pixelated stock photo.

4. Familiarize yourself with the BingAds platform. According to MSN’s developer resources, adding product targets to an ad group will be similar to adding keywords to an ad group, so learn how before diving into the deep end.  (

5. Prepare to support your Product Ads campaign with robust paid search and retargeting strategies. Don’t make your first impression your only impression. Some people won’t be ready to buy when they first see your ad, so make sure that when they’re ready to buy, make your site the most convenient option.