How NOT to use Google AdWords – Mistake # 1

I have recently run into a few Google AdWords no-no’s while managing my AdWords campaigns and decided to share. Mistake #1: Bidding on keywords for the name of your company name and/or […]

I have recently run into a few Google AdWords no-no’s while managing my AdWords campaigns and decided to share.

Mistake #1: Bidding on keywords for the name of your company name and/or product names in any Google AdWords campaign you are managing.

I know this one sounds pretty basic, but if done haphazardly, it will be a GIGANTIC waste of money.  There are only 2 circumstances bidding on your company or product names makes some sense, which I will discuss these a bit later. For now, I will discuss why you should not do it.

Take a look at this screenshot of a search for Starbucks I conducted:

Starbucks

As you can see, Starbucks bids on their company name, even though they already own the top spot in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).  The only thing they have accomplished by using this approach is paid visitors to their website, when they really didn’t have to. As a matter of fact, they likely paid for 80% of the people that searched for the word Starbucks(Maybe even more!).  It is likely be costing Starbucks  tens of thousands of dollars a day. Not a good digital marketing strategy in my book.  If they did not bid on their company name, all of that traffic would still come to their site, as they own the top spot.

Here is a screenshot of a search for Coffee Bean:

Coffee Bean

 

As you can see, Coffee Bean does not bid on their company name and just like Starbucks, they own the top spot in the SERP. In contrast to Starbucks, Coffee Bean, does not have to pay for people already searching for their site.  I wish I could say that this is a solid decision by Coffee Bean, but based a quick search on the web, my guess is that Coffee Bean is not leveraging Google AdWords campaigns at all, therefore, they would not be bidding on their company name. So good non-strategy Coffee Bean.

I hope these examples help you understand why you should not bid on your company or product names.  However, as I mentioned before, there are 2 instances where bidding on your company or product names is a good strategy:

  1. You do not own the top position in the SERP for that keyword (company name or product name).  If you are in this situation, you clearly need better SEO for your site, but until that time, you can leverage Google AdWords to gain the top spot in the SERP’s
  2. A competitor claims the top spot for your company name or product name.  Although sneaky, it is allowed by Google AdWords (as long as they are not infringing on your trademark in the ad text).  You have no choice but to outbid your competitors to ensure you gain the top spot.

All other decisions to bid on your company or product names does not make any sense!  Just focus on the keywords that will bring you the best return.

As a side note, this will hold true for any Search Engine Marketing platforms (Bing Ads, Yahoo Advertising, etc.).  I just focused on Google AdWords, because of their dominance.

Thanks for reading, this is Part 1 of a 2 part series of posts related on what NOT to do with Google AdWords.

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