Search Ad Competitor Comparison

Benefits of Bidding on Your Organization’s Brand Keywords 

As we head into the final stretch of 2020 and plan for 2021, it is important for nonprofit advertisers to make sure they are set up for success. One way to do this is to make sure you are maximizing traffic from searches on your organization’s keywords.

Bidding on your brand terms is an important strategy year-round but will become especially so during the lucrative Q4 timeframe.

Summary

We recommend an always-on approach to brand paid search. While it may initially seem counterintuitive to spend money on the search terms you rank well for organically or to launch a paid campaign when you already have a Google Ad Grant, it is beneficial for a few key reasons:

  1. Search results are highly competitive – especially if you are a well-known nonprofit. If competitors are bidding on your brand keywords, your organic listings will get pushed down the page and you may miss out on important clicks and conversions. There’s also a good chance you won’t be able to effectively compete using your Ad Grant alone due to bidding restrictions.
  2. Search ads do drive incremental conversions – even if you are already ranking well organically. 
  3. Paid ads allow you to easily control the conversation around your brand and send people exactly where you want them to go.

Competition

Brand search ads help you stay competitive in search results and ensure you stay top of mind when people are looking for your organization. If you don’t bid on your brand keywords, there’s a good chance that you will lose valuable clicks and conversions.

For instance, in the example below, the Parkinson’s Foundation would have been outranked by both the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the American Parkinson’s Disease Association if there had not been a paid ad in market. 

Search Ad Competitor Comparison

For this same client, we were not able to consistently rank in the top position using the Google Ad Grant, thus a paid campaign was required. We recommend checking your absolute top of page impression share for your core brand keywords if you have a Google Ad Grant, and if you are not ranking well, a paid account is recommended.

Incremental Value

Bidding on your brand terms truly does add incremental value. We recently tested this theory for a client who was concerned that paid search ads were cannibalizing organic revenue. The results proved that this could not be further from the truth. 

For this client, we suppressed paid brand ads in 10 markets and compared the results to 10 similar markets where brand ads remained active. In the markets where brand paid search was paused, we saw a 29% decrease in conversions, compared to a 26% increase in conversions in markets where brand paid search was active. 

Brand keywords are also extremely cheap, and if you are running a revenue-based campaign, your brand keywords are pretty much guaranteed to be profitable from a ROAS standpoint.

Controlling The Conversation & Destination

In addition to helping you stay competitive and adding incremental revenue, paid ads also make it much easier to control the messaging and destination for people searching on your keywords. Ads are so much easier to customize than organic content, and you can easily adjust the messaging and landing page to align with your goals.

One great way to leverage paid ads is for seasonal campaigns or events. Not only can you adjust your headlines, descriptions and landing pages to align with your goals, but you can also add custom sitelinks to promote pages on your site. Fundraising is another area where paid ads have a big advantage. If you want to send people to a specific donation page when they search for your core brand keywords, this is very easy to do using search ads.