How to Keep Costs Down in Your Brand Account

Placing Google Ads for your own brand name is a good idea for several reasons: first of all, it raises the visibility of your brand above the organic search results. Here, Google Ads have the advantage of being highly customizable and well-suited to users’ search terms. Secondly, advertisers generally bid on ads for their own brands in a “competition-free” environment. This means that conversion rates in this segment are significantly higher than generics, and CPCs – due to the lack of competition- are much lower.

However, as soon as the keyword coverage in your brand’s account grows to include keywords beyond the [exact] match type for your brand name, two things happen: the potential search volume for your account increases, but you increasingly move away from that “competition-free“ bidding environment. By including keywords that overlap with those of your competitors, you run the risk of squandering your profitability advantage (a high click rate and low CPCs) due to an exaggerated increase in CPCs. In this article, I’ll introduce some optimisation measures which can maximize the profitability of your brand’s account. 

Structure Matters – The Advantages of a Fine-Grained Account Structure

It’s important to take a close look at how the keywords in your campaigns and ad groups are structured. In order to fully take advantage of the low CPC for your “pure” brand name keyword, it should be kept separate from all other keywords (that is, any combinations of your brand’s name with generic terms or buy words, as well as misspellings of your brand name) and placed into a different ad group.

We recommend setting up the most finely-grained ad structure possible for several reasons:

Table1 Campaign Structure

  1. Ad groups that contain only semantically similar keywords allow highly specific ad texts to be generated. You can then use dynamic ads, which capture Google users’ search terms, without any issue. The increased quality of these ads leads to higher click rates and results in higher quality scores, which then have a positive effect on CPCs.
  2. A fine-grained account structure also creates the opportunity to use specific ad extensions. For example, users searching for evening gowns can be reached through tailored sitelinks for matching shoes and bags. Callout extensions can highlight retailers’ other advantages (“Free Shipping”, “Shipping within 24 Hours”, etc.) Customized ad extensions like these not only raise ads’ visibility, they also positively influence ad rank and help to bring down costs per click.

Increasing Performance With the Right Negatives Strategy

Search terms within campaign structures like the one described above can be modified even further by using negative keywords. Here, we recommend these two fundamentally important steps:

  1. Costs can be reduced by excluding unwanted search terms that are unrelated to your shop or its products. For example, a user searching for „Kimonos“ specifically for martial arts is unlikely to browse a shop that only offers fashion kimonos for women. If the user does click on the fashion shop’s ad for women’s kimonos, that advertiser will have to pay for a click that will most likely never lead to a conversion. In this case, it’s a good idea for that fashion retailer to exclude martial arts terms by setting them as negative keywords.
  2. We also recommend selecting “pure” keywords of your brand name as negative keywords in all other ad groups that do not exclusively contain your brand keywords. As mentioned, the bids for combination keywords are much higher than your “pure” brand keywords. This setting prevents higher-priced “phrase” or “broad” match types from outbidding the pure, [exact] match of your brand name, absorbing that traffic, and unnecessarily raising your costs in a way that could be avoided with better traffic segmentation.

Optimising Costs Through Clever Bid Adjustment

Finally, you can use so-called “bid trimming“ to bring down the CPC for [exact] match type of your pure brand name keyword. In a well-structured brand account, this keyword should accumulate the most traffic and therefore account for the largest portion of the costs. Advertisers tend to set the bid for this keyword as high as possible to ensure a maximum number of impressions. Rethinking this strategy opens up great savings potential. “Bid trimming“ entails reducing the bid for the [exact] match type of your brand name keyword in tiny increments until an ideal minimum bid is reached. This bid will be the lowest that still allows for a reasonably high number of potential impressions. In the link below, our colleague Andreas Meyer explains the fundamentals of this process in greater detail and offers a test example: “Is Your Brand Bid Too High? Don’t Pay More Than You Have To!

The Bottom Line

When structuring keywords for your own brand’s name, there’s hidden optimisation potential which can help you avoid unnecessary CPC spikes in this segment. The requirements for this optimisation are a fine-grained account structure and sufficient keyword coverage, both of which can be implemented easily and efficiently by using a campaign optimisation tool such as camato.


Irene Kögl

Irene is a Digital Strategy Consultant in the Business Intelligence team at crealytics. She has 3 years’ experience as a PPC manager working for our leading international e-commerce customers within the fashion retail industry.