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Branding with Paid Search

While most marketers understand the overall importance of branding, many fail to realize the opportunities afforded them on the search results page through paid ads. Utilizing effective brand ad tactics, both new and old, can help to better control messaging and experience, and create synergy between paid search ads and other branding efforts.

How can paid search maximize branding efforts?

In general, it is important for advertisers to remain a dominant player on the results page for brand searches in order to garner as much traffic as possible. While organic links may absorb some brand traffic, brand ads do provide incremental value by attracting clicks the brand would have otherwise lost to another site. More than just lost sales, these wayward clicks take control of the user's experience out of the hands of the brand they were searching for and into the unknown. Ensuring that you attract as much brand traffic as possible is especially important during high volume periods, such as before catalog drops and during important sales and major holidays for your industry.  You might notice new affiliates and competitors coming into market during these times to take advantage of the additional demand, and it may warrant raising brand bids to ensure your ad remains in the top spot. More than just being in the top spot for traffic purposes, however, these ads give marketers messaging and landing page control that is not available in the organic results. Promotions, social platforms, and media exposure can all be precisely targeted and called out both in the advertisement and upon arrival to the site, allowing brands to optimize for customer conversion and retention. Additionally, testing through paid search can help to strengthen overall brand messaging. Through brand specific A/B testing, advertisers can find winning ad copy and landing pages that entice users and promote a positive user experience. Taking these learnings, marketers can then apply the best performing messaging to organic search through meta descriptions and page titles, as well as try them out in offline marketing efforts and materials.

Additional Ad Opportunities for Branding

Aside from general best practices, there are other ways you can use paid search to increase brand awareness and trust among new users. Ensure Users Know that You're the Brand They're Searching For:
  • Include a registered trademark next to your brand name in copy text. Available in both AdWords and Bing Ads.


  • Add 'Official Site' designation in the adcopy to designate your brand from other companies possibly advertising on your brand or selling your products if you are a manufacturer. Available in both AdWords and Bing Ads.
  • Set up Rich Ads in Search (RAIS) to display images and videos directly on the page that are related to your brand with brand specific sitelinks. This also helps to expand your brand real estate on the search page. Available in Bing Ads only.
18F_bing_ad_rais Make Reference to and Enable Users to Interact with your Brand’s Social Media:
  • Link your Google + page to display your followers in your ads. This helps build trust with new users. Available in AdWords only.
  • Include social media buttons directly on your website for easy accessibility for users. Social media enables you to effectively promote secret sales, promotional codes, contests, and new products.


  Make it Easy to Find Brick and Mortar Stores:
  • Set up image location extensions which display a map on the SERP of the nearest brick and mortar stores near the user’s location. Available in both AdWords and Bing Ads.
Make your Ads Shine and Stand Out:
  • Add image extensions to increase your ads real estate on the page with visuals. Available in AdWords only.18F_google_ad_image_extension
  • Include merchant review extensions which feature reviews from reputable third parties. Available in AdWords only.


Both brand and non-brand advertising are important aspects of your overall paid search strategy. Non-brand provides incremental value while brand advertising enables you to strengthen brand messaging and support a positive brand experience for the user. The addition of brand advertising to your paid search program is a worthy one and will help you to capitalize on the demand you've created.
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