“Why should we pay for clicks when we get organic clicks for free? Should I buy my own brand terms?”
If you’ve heard these questions from a client, boss, or peer, you are not alone.
For years I have worked with a variety of clients that have posed these and other questions related to the return on paid-search brand terms. Measurability, control, and overall ROI are good responses to these questions, but when pressed for proof, it has been difficult to come up with solid research to back up the rationale.
Of course, as an agency, we are inclined to recommend brand terms because those terms will provide very efficient clicks and conversions to prop up the overall metrics for the client. If they are removed, the loss of those keywords usually impacts the results in a negative way. When asked pointedly on numerous occasions about our recommendation to purchase the client’s actual brand name and derivations of it, I have always referred to the importance of that tactic for metrics health — but now I’m armed with something better.
Google recently released results from an in-depth study on this topic and posted it for public consumption here. It was also covered in a good article by SearchEngineLand, which gives a less-technical explanation.
The details of the study are pretty interesting, and the methodology appears to be very sound. Google statisticians conducted over 400 studies on paused accounts to determine if organic clicks would increase to make up for the drop in traffic.
The study shows that paid search drives incremental clicks compared to organic search, with little cannibalization of organic traffic. “A meta-analysis of several hundred of these studies reveals that over 89% of the ads clicks are incremental, in the sense that the visits to the advertiser’s site would not have occurred without the ad campaigns,” state the authors of the study. The results were fairly consistent across verticals as well as international markets tested.
The takeaway: It is worth it. You SHOULD pay for those clicks and buy those brand terms. And now we have a pretty convincing rationale for this tactic.