PPC on Brand Terms: Pros and Cons

Anyone doing Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising will eventually confront the following question:

“If I already rank #1, why would I do PPC for my brand name?”

surfing the internet

It’s a common enough question.  I recently came across an article about advertising on your brand name and felt like small businesses needed to understand the pros and cons.

The Cons of Advertising on Your Brand Name

  • You spend money to get a click you might have gotten anyway – nobody wants to spend money. Especially small businesses where every penny has to work harder.
  • Brand terms perform significantly better than my other PPC terms and will skew my data.

The Pros of Advertising on Your Brand Name

  • You take up more space on the search engine results:  By having your PPC ad show up you increase the amount of real estate you occupy, thus increasing the likelihood that a search user ends up on your site.
  • You control what your listing says:  Organic results are great but the search engine controls what your listing says. PPC ads are 100% under your control, so you can ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.
  • You pick the landing page:  When a user clicks your PPC ad they go where you feel is best. That might be a current promotion or it might be the homepage. The point is that you choose, not the search engine.
  • You “box out” the competition:  If you don’t advertise on your brand name, a competitor might. Advertising on your brand name allows you to push them down.
  • You can get more clicks:  Having your ad and organic listing on the same page can actually increase your total response when done correctly. I won’t dive into it here, but Search Engine Land has an article titled, “Brand Ad Cannibalism: A Tale of Two Tests.”

In Summary

In my experience the pros outweigh the cons. If you’re still on the fence, consider the following arguments:

  • First:  You may indeed have to pay for a few clicks you would have gotten anyway, but you’ll be able to control the message and direct them to exactly the right page in exchange.
  • Second:  If you put brand terms in a separate campaign in your PPC accounts you’ll be able to track them separately from your other campaigns, thus keeping your data clean.

Just like all PPC efforts, as you test and monitor performance you’ll soon determine if the effort is profitable and ensure your PPC dollars are pulling their weight.

Surfing Photo via Shutterstock


Robert Brady Robert Brady is Senior Manager: Software, SMB, Strategy at Clix Marketing, a Google AdWord Certified Partner. Robert helps small business owners and large companies just getting started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) get better results from their PPC advertising.

4 Reactions
  1. How timely! I have spent the last three days trying to convince a client that this is worth it. The CPC you end up paying is so low it simply can’t be avoided in my opinion. I always encourage it with all my clients.

  2. Great post! I saw a presentation recently with details of an agency’s A/B testing of brand term PPC for a very well-known company. Online sales were much higher with it than without, even though their site ranked #1 organically for the brand. When they dropped the branded PPC, their online sales dropped off significantly, as well.
    The costs are generally much less than your other PPC terms because your site is more relevant for the phrase. Having done PPC for small businesses, I can say the return in sales is definitely worth the relatively small spend.

  3. @Martin – I hope this helps you convince your client. I usually pitch them on a test and then the results speak for themselves.

    @Renee – Do you remember who did the presentation? I’d be interested in checking it out.

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