Branded Campaigns in Google Ads

“Should I bid on the name of my business in Google Ads?” It’s a question many business owners and marketers consider. While it’s commonplace for many companies to target ads for their name in search advertising, let’s delve into the pros and cons of “branded advertising.”

Branded Campaigns – What Are They?

In search advertising, you choose the search terms for which you’d like your ads to show. These keywords fall into two primary categories: branded and non-branded.

Branded terms can include the business’s name, any smaller brands under the parent organization, or popular product names. For Google Ads themselves, branded search terms could include “Google Ads” and “YouTube Ads” – both of which they’re currently targeting with branded ads.

Non-branded terms are generic and can include searches for a general product or service and the consumer-facing need the product/service solves. For Google Ads, non-branded terms could include “digital advertising” or “starting search ads”.

Am I Able to Bid on My Name?

If you’re considering a branded campaign, first ensure your business name is being searched frequently enough to be a viable target keyword. A quick test without needing to access the Google Ads dashboard is to search for your business name and see if text ads appear in the search results above or below the non-paid listings. These will be designated with “Ad” in bold text.

If competitor ads are showing, the query meets Google’s minimum traffic threshold. However, of concern are the other sites already bidding on your name! This in itself is a reason to strongly consider branded ads.

Campaign Segmentation

In Google Ads, branded keywords should be added to a separate campaign from non-branded keywords. By nature, branded ads typically achieve much higher engagement at a lower cost since shoppers are already familiar with your brand and specifically searching for it. When determining a bidding strategy and analyzing results, it’s beneficial to keep these different focuses in separate campaigns rather than making important decisions based on homologous data.

Branded Campaign Benefits

Branded ads, especially in conjunction with organic website SEO, essentially double the search presence your brand controls with the presence of your paid ad and your organic site listing in search results.

If competitors are already targeting your name, a branded campaign also establishes a defensive position and likely knocks a competitor out of a top advertising slot with your ad.

When bidding for your name, you can achieve much lower cost metrics (such as cost per ad click and cost per conversion) than non-branded keywords. Since your business is a very relevant result for your name, Google essentially provides a “home field advantage” in bidding.

Branded campaigns provide better control of messaging and user experience than a non-paid listing. Organic listings can be influenced by SEO, but it’s ultimately the search engine that determines what’s displayed. Changes to organic listings can also take time to update in search results. A branded ad however can contain multiple “ad extensions” of additional information that can be updated almost instantly including time-sensitive sales promotions. Paid ads can also better direct traffic to a specific conversion-oriented landing page without sacrificing the SEO efforts of an organic listing.

Branded campaigns often show significant results over relying exclusively on organic efforts. An e-commerce company we partnered with used branded ads and generated a $50 higher average order value compared to shoppers from their organic traffic. If your website has analytics tracking, it’s worth a comparison test.

Branded Campaign Concerns

The most common (and understandable) concern among some marketers is that branded campaigns are an unnecessary cost if the business already has substantial presence with their non-paid listings. They feel that users who would otherwise click on the business’s non-paid listing may instead click on their paid ad simply if it appears higher in the search results.

Depending on keyword match types and negative keywords another concern is that a branded ad could display for non-sales searches such as jobs at your company or product/service reviews. This is largely negated with proper campaign setup and management, but is worth considering at launch.


Branding campaigns can be an effective way to defend against competitors and achieve enhanced performance from Google Ads. Though it should be evaluated for viability on a case-by-case basis, take note of the companies you see running branded ads and continuously monitor the search results for your business’s name. With the flexibility and transparency of Google Ads and Google Analytics, you can always run an inexpensive test to try branded ads and monitor results on your website’s overall and organic-specific traffic.

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Taylor Brown

Taylor is the owner & digital strategist of Go-To Man Marketing. With a passion for digital marketing and analytics, he's helped clients to grow their businesses for more than a decade.

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