How to use PPC advertising for brand awareness

Sure, you know your brand is important. That’s why you’re on ZenBusiness’s website! 

But how should you think about your brand when it comes to PPC Marketing? In this article, I want to walk you through ways you can ensure your brand is front and center to your target audience using Paid Search Advertising. 

We’ll take a look at three ways you should think about leveraging PPC to strengthen your Brand: 

  1. Brand Awareness
  2. Brand Lift
  3. Brand Protection

Brand Awareness

Let’s start with Brand Awareness. For the sake of this article, what I’m referring to here is the idea of reaching a completely cold audience with PPC with the objective of introducing them to your Brand. You know they may not purchase yet, and you’re okay with that. It’s the first date, not the marriage ceremony. 

With PPC, there are several ways you can increase your Brand Awareness, the most obvious being in utilizing the Upper Funnel channels such as YouTube, Discovery, and the Google Display Network. Keep in mind, these require good creative and assets in order to make them as successful as they can be. 

However, Search Ads (showing ads to people actively searching for something on Google) can be used for Brand Awareness as well. Admittedly, Search tends to be more Demand Capture rather than Demand Generation, since someone cannot actively search for something of which they aren’t already aware. Yet, a clever PPC Marketer can tag along with related interests to raise brand awareness.

As a silly example, let’s say you sell Life Insurance and are trying to think of new audiences to target who are unfamiliar with your agency brand. You may want to consider outside the box search queries in Google to target with your PPC ads such as “best motorcycle helmet”. Then, you may build a clever ad that fits well with that search and captures interest.

Even the Best Helmets Fail | Keep Your Loved Ones Safe
Don’t just invest in a good helmet, invest in a life insurance policy that protects your family. No matter what. 

While there may be reasons you would not want to pursue this option, the CPCs could be too high in the “best motorcycle helmets” searches to make this a viable Brand Awareness option, hopefully, it will give you some ideas for how you can actually use Google Search for Brand Awareness. 

The most common Brand Awareness play in Google Ads is with YouTube or the Google Display Network (GDN) and much ink has been spelt to this effect. As mentioned previously, having your creative nailed is essential for Brand Awareness as well as not expecting too much of a direct return on your investment. The traffic and interest you get from YouTube, Discovery, and the GDN tend to be much lower in cost than Paid Search because they are less qualified people. That’s okay, because you’re in Brand Awareness stage, so adjust your goal targets accordingly. Be willing to look at different goals such as earned metrics in YouTube, rather than just what can be tracked in sales through your analytics platform as this won’t always be evident.

Brand Lift

Let’s turn now to what I’ll call “Brand Lift”. Whereas Brand Awareness is focused on getting your Brand in front of upper funnel, cold audiences, I’m using the term Brand Lift here to refer to increasing your Brand interest in the middle of your purchase funnel. How can we use PPC to keep your Brand strong in front of people who are already aware of your business? 

There are several things that can be done here. For instance, if you have national exposure you may want to ask Google to run a Brand and Category Development Index report. This won’t give you completely new information, but can be helpful in identifying how to shift your Brand strategy based on geographical locations. 

There are practical steps to take in your text ads as well, for instance ensuring your Brand name is in your text ad or Smart Shopping or Display Network ad even when you are targeting non-branded keywords and more general audiences.

Remarketing is an obvious Brand Lift play, as it allows you to show ads to people who have actually visited your website, and then continue to search for similar products/services online. In fact, broad match or Dynamic Search Ads campaigns paired with a targeted Remarketing strategy can be helpful here in identifying keywords your potential customer is searching for that you don’t even have targeted in your account. 

You may also want to consider using more advanced audience targeting within Google Ads, for instance creating a new Custom Segment within your Audience Manager where you target people who have searched for your competitors (but not visited your site). This can help you identify new customers who are shopping for what you sell, by seeing who is interested in your competitors. 

Finally, you should keep a close eye on your Search Impression Share (the number of times your ad is eligible to appear in an auction on Google) and Ad Impressions over time. If you are seeing your Search Impression Share remain flat, and yet seeing your Impressions decrease for your brand terms, then you are seeing overall less interest in your Brand searches. This means you likely need to ramp up some of your Upper Funnel campaigns to get in front of people and bring back interest in your Brand. 

Brand Protection

The third and final way to keep your Brand in focus with PPC Marketing is by protecting it. What I mean by this, is utilizing some tactics to ensure that people searching for specific information about your brand, actually find that. 

The clearest way to initiate this in your account is by creating a dedicated Brand campaign in which to shift all Brand traffic, so you can keep your Brand and non-Brand targeting separately. This allows you to maintain different bidding goals, and different ad text and landing pages based on a user’s position in the purchase funnel. 

This is an important part of your Brand Protection strategy, for instance, a user searching for “Your Brand Reviews” is interested in seeing what people have to say about your product. The best thing you can do is to make a landing page on your website for “customer reviews” and then buy this keyword, so you can send all people searching for that phrase to this landing page of your curated reviews!

If you go down this route (you should), then just be sure to exclude your Brand terms in all of your other Search campaigns, so you ensure you filter them to the correct Brand campaign. You can more easily keep an eye on your CPCs to see how much bidding trends over time, and you can even keep an eye on your Auction Insights which shows when your competitors (or Amazon) are bidding more aggressively in your Brand auctions. 

Finally, you may want to take this opportunity to show specific ad text on other searches as well, for instance, advertising press releases, warranties, new product releases, team announcements, etc. In fact, moving back up into the previous “Brand Lift” section, perhaps you want to bid specifically on competitor terms when you have a new product release so people searching for your competitor’s products see your new products and you entice them into a click!

Well, there are some ways you can use PPC Marketing to grow and strengthen your Brand! I hope this has been helpful to you, and may the auctions be ever in your favor. 

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