Bidding on Your Brand
Bidding on brand terms in search campaigns is hotly debated. In one camp are those who argue that these are cheap conversions, so of course you should bid on them. In the other corner are those who say you will get those conversions anyway through organic, so it is simply a waste of money.
They are both wrong.
You should bid on your own brand terms in order to raise conversions.
Brand terms are the end of a conversation that began somewhere else. No customer wakes up suddenly aware of your brand, ready to search for you. Some education has happened, somewhere, at some point in the past. If you are using multi-touchpoint tracking, you might have some insight into the attribution chain leading to that brand search, but often that will fail to provide any insight (if, for example, someone did research at home and searched at work).
At this point, you may not know anything about this prospect other than that they have heard of you and have some interest in your company and products.
What are you going to say to them?
Most companies have multiple messages that speak to their value proposition. Some will be feature-based, most will speak to benefits. How sure are you that your organic listing includes ALL the important messages for every audience that might lock in the sale?
Bidding on your paid brand terms gives you the chance to say something different. You can alternate your message, say something new, provide an offer, or reinforce an ad campaign that might be driving brand activity, such as display, video, or traditional media.
But the important thing is to look at conversions. If you are investing dollars, you need to get additional value out of it to justify the cost. For brand advertising, this should be measured in increased conversion rates, viewed holistically, with an eye to what is driving the brand conversation in the first place.
As always, it is not about clicks, CPCs, or competition. It is about profit.