Branding with AdWords

I have talked in the past about the differences between the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network. For most businesses I have usually found the Search Network to be more useful when it comes to generating leads. I have not had the same sort of success with the Display Network when it comes to converting visitors. People on the Google Search Network are actively seeking something while those on the Google Search Network tend to be those who already believe they have found what they are looking for or maybe they were not really searching for anything in the first place.

While the Google Display Network might not always be a great medium to find converting visitors, I have found it to be a great way to “Brand” your business or website. Building brand recognition is extremely important for new businesses. If you are offering a product or service  you might discover that visitors to your website do not often convert on their first visit but rather in a future visit to your site. They need to feel a certain comfort level with your site, call it a familiarity. This is when the Google Display Network can become a very powerful medium for your ads.

Unlike the Search Network, the Display Network allows image ads. Many people react more strongly to visual images than they do to text. On the Google Display Network you can display image ads to literally thousands of people for very little cost. I have run display ads for websites that pay $3-$5 per click on the Google Search Network but may pay less than $.50 on the Display Network. This is where Branding with AdWords comes in.

Branding best practices

When Branding with AdWords I like to create image ads that clearly display the logo of my business. I also like to try and include the complete url within the image. This begins the process of getting people used to your brand, hence the term “Branding”.

The nice thing about the Google Display Network is that CTR is normally much lower than it would be on the Search Network and if you are bidding on clicks this means you get the benefit of exposure without as much cost. Don’t misunderstand; you will get clicks, and a lot of them, especially if you allow Google to find placements for you. You want to start with a low daily budget when you first start using the Display Network because if you allow Google to find you placements you will most likely use up your entire budget daily.

You will also want to create your image ads in multiple sizes. Website owners on the Display Network choose which size ads they will accept and having only 1 size will severely limit your exposure. I normally try to make any image ad in every excepted size in order to have the most opportunity to show.

You also should try to expand your geographic target area as well. Targeting a very small area around your business will make it very difficult to get your ad displayed. Remember, Branding with AdWords is about impressions.

What you can expect from a Branding campaign

When Branding with AdWords on the Google Display Network you are likely to see some metrics that would concern you on a normal search campaign.

CTR on the Display Network is often less than 1%. This is ok, you have to pay for clicks and your goal is impressions.

If you are using Google Analytics you will likely see a higher bounce rate for display ads. 90% or higher is not uncommon for a branding campaign. The goal is to get visitors to your site for the first time for as little money as possible.

Conversions, Display Network clicks normally do not convert well. Again, don’t worry, getting a conversion from a branding campaign is a bonus not a goal. If you do start getting conversions you can look under the display tab in AdWords to determine which sites they came from and you can create a new campaign to try and target that specific site.

I have personally seen increases in organic and direct traffic increase up to 50% after running branding with AdWords for just a few weeks. People begin to recognize your name and search for you later or you come up in their browsing history and they begin coming back to your site multiple times.

If you have a new website I strongly urge you to try branding with AdWords for a few weeks and judge the results for yourself.