• How to Brand with Google AdWords & Pay Per Click

    by  • March 30, 2007 • Branding, Google, Pay Per Click • 2 Comments

    Branding with pay per click ads is one of those hard things to track. When you are branding, you are not necessarily looking for clicks or conversions, although those can be seen as an added bonus. As a result, traditional methods of creating and tracking ad campaigns, as you would for regular keyword targeted campaigns, are thrown out the window when you are using pay per click strictly for the branding aspect.

    With branding, it is all about getting your brand out there to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible while paying the least amount possible. And if you are doing it correctly, your brand becomes known and easily recognizable within your market area, even if there is not the corresponding ad clicks to your site – something that tends to make some advertising execs very nervous. But in reality, it is not that much different from advertising through magazines where you have lots of eyeballs for branding potential, even if they don’t end up going to the URL listed in the ad.

    Why brand with pay per click? First, if you do it correctly, you can get those eyeballs for a relatively cheap amount when you compare it to the pricing with regular keyword targeting. And if you have a recognizable logo – or one you want to be recognizable – you can also explore using image and video ads to compliment your branding campaign. But branding with pay per click, and particularly Google AdWords, is something that many pay per click advertisers overlook when considering their marketing efforts. However, following these steps will show how to easily start a branding campaign while spending the least amount possible on it.

    First, you will want to use broad match to broad match your brand name in Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter. Yes, even if you are already ranking number one for the terms in the organic search rankings. This helps you block out the top results, because some searchers see the top sponsored listing and don’t end up going any further down before clicking. If you wasn’t to keep your branding within your control, it is best to block out that top sponsored result with your own.

    However, one of the easiest ways to brand through pay per click is using Google AdWords. And even though some might think it is much more expensive than third tier pay per click companies, AdWords can actually be quite economical for branding both because of its content network and because as an advertiser you can also bid on a CPM basis instead of just the usual CPC basis.

    First, you want to find the opportunities with the highest page views yet low CPM prices on sites you can target using the AdWords site targeting feature, where you pick and choose the pages you want your ads to appear on. Fortunately, there are certain types of sites that tend to have high numbers of page views yet relatively few clicks, meaning the CPM on those sites will be very low in comparison to other sites in the same market area.

    First, consider forums in the same market as your brand. Forums are notorious for having a very low CTR, meaning you can often pick up huge numbers of ad impressions through the content network while paying next to nothing for the pleasure. If you are unfamiliar with forums in the marketplace, do some searching for forums in your industry and note the URLs of those that are running Google AdSense.

    Next, consider wikis in the same market. Again, they tend to have high numbers of page views with a low CPM.

    Also, look at blogs that are in the same market as your brand. Some might be quite tightly related while others might be more loosely related. Most importantly, you want to find blogs in your market area that are active. There is no point going to the trouble of site targeting a blog that hasn’t been updated in a year and might only have a handful of visitors. An easy way to do this is to use the Google Blog Search or Technorati search and sort by date to find who is talking most recently.

    Lastly, use Google’s AdWords tool for finding sites to site target. While this tool tends to offer much more generic results than the sites you would find using the above methods, you might find some bargains on sites that are still in the overall market area you are wanting to reach.

    Now that you have your collection of URLs, add them to your list for site targeting, then set all to the minimum CPM available (which varies depending on location and currency). Be sure to specify any geotargeting as well, as sometimes people forget this when creating site targeted campaigns. And very important, do set a daily budget just incase one of the forums or sites actually has a lot more daily impressions than you had anticipated Then launch your site targeted campaigns.

    If there is one forum you particularly want to reach, you can bump up your CPM high enough that you can effectively block any other ad from appearing in the site’s AdSense ad units, and your ad and brand can actually end up being discussed by members of that forum because they do take notice of it. A recent example is a Canadian telecommunications company that site targeted wheat seemed like every site on the net for Canadian users. The end result? Multiple threads on forums as well as bloggers making entries just on the fact they noticed the Telus brand was suddenly everywhere in AdSense ad units. However, if you have a budget to stay within, do remember to add your daily budget so you don’t find any surprises when you login the next time.

    Branding with both video and images via Google AdWords is also an effective way to brand. The Telus campaign I mentioned utilized both text and image ads. With a powerful or easily recognizable logo, your branding can be even more effective when using image ads in a variety of available ad unit sizes. Image ads can be used for both site targeting and straight CPC targeting on the content network.

    Branding with video ads can also have the added bonus of going viral of you chose your video well enough. An example of this is Dove. When their Canadian “Campaign for Real Beauty” ad began turning up on YouTube and the blogosphere began talking about it, Dove quickly turned that into an effective branding campaign by launching that same video as a video ad on the Google content network. This meant it got not only the eyeballs from those who found it via YouTube or someone talking about it, but they expanded on that by reaching a larger audience through the content network and got even more people talking about it. Dove took something that was going viral and used video ads for additional branding.

    It is much harder to run a campaign for branding on Yahoo Search Marketing. At this time, advertisers do not have the ability to site target specific publisher sites. And it is extremely difficult with YSM to attempt to get ads running on specific sites using keywords since advertisers are also competing against Run of Network ads that seem to have the run of YPN sites. However, one can expect that Yahoo will eventually offer a site targeted option for advertisers wanting to see their ads on specific content sites.

    Likewise, Microsoft adCenter has not yet launched a publisher program for advertisers to target. While rumors have been running around, and ads are now distributed on MSN properties through ContentAds, there is still not branding potential on third party sites.

    These tips will get you starting on running an effective pay per click branding campaign, particularly with Google AdWords. Once these are implemented, you can begin to explore some of the additional, and more complex, ways to brand using pay per click. But for getting started, the above will make it easy for you to start branding with pay per click while doing it in a relatively inexpensive way to the usual keyword targeting method that can be a hit or miss when it comes to branding.


    Jennifer Slegg is a longtime member of the SEO community and is an expert on social media, content marketing, Google AdSense and search engines.

    2 Responses to How to Brand with Google AdWords & Pay Per Click

    1. Pingback: Floris Keijser » Blog Archive » Creative use of Adwords

    2. January 28, 2009 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks Jennifer for a fresh viewpoint on using Adwords for branding purposes. I’m so brainwashed on clicks and their conversion that I hadn’t thought of the Branding effect of sheer exposure. Thanks again. GD.

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