Top Tips for Bidding on your Brand Name in Google Ads

This blog will give some advice on when and why you should… and should not, bid on your own brand name keywords on the Google Ads platform.

At Lilac James we’ve been running Google Ads campaigns for over a decade and in that time hundreds of customers have come to us asking for campaign reviews as they’ve not been seeing good ROI on their ad campaigns.

One of the most consistent mistakes we see that wastes a lot of marketing budget is when people inappropriately bid on their brand name keywords. That said, it can be a very successful and worthwhile endeavour under the right circumstances.

If you’re running a Google Ads campaign, you must understand the reasons why you would, or would not bid on your own brand name in order to achieve your intended results.


What is brand name bidding?

On the Google Ads platform you can choose to have your ads shown when a searcher enters certain keywords into the search function.

For example, if you were running a campaign for Next, you may want to bid on keywords such as ‘mens slim fit jeans’ or ‘summer jackets for women’, depending on the product range you wished to sell.

Brand name bidding is when you bid on search terms surrounding your brand name.  For Apple, this would be bidding on terms such as ‘Apple’, ‘iPhone X’ and ‘Apple iPad’.


Why could brand name bidding waste money?

Generally speaking, if someone is typing your brand name into the search function, then they’re looking for you. If they’re looking for you, it’s highly likely they will find you with or without an ad.

Therefore, if you’re running ads on your brand name keywords, you may end up paying for clicks that you would have achieved for FREE anyway.

But so many businesses do this, so there must be a reason why they would spend money in this manner? Let me explain why sometimes brand name bidding can be a good strategy.


Top reasons why you should consider bidding on your brand name

Establishing your brand

Sometimes, when you enter your brand name into the search function, your website simply may not be on page 1, or may not be at the top of page 1. This could be for a variety of reasons including receiving a Google Penalty. Your website may also be new and uncrawled, your domain authority may be really low or your brand name may be quite generic and Google may confuse it with other search terms.

It’s estimated only 4% of searches venture onto page 2, so if people are searching for your brand name, they won’t find you and they may find your competitors.

If this is the case, bidding on your brand name could be a great way of purchasing high converting web traffic because generally speaking, people who are looking for your website, products or services, are more likely to wish to purchase from you.


Defending your brand keywords

On Google Ads, competitors can bid on your brand keywords as they attempt to capture website traffic bound for your website.

As an example, when I have searched for ‘Next Mens Clothing’, competitors including Marks and Spencer are bidding on their keyword as below:

You will see that the top ad is Next bidding on its own brand name, even though it appears, as you would expect, as the first organic search listing. Next also appear in the ad section for Google Shopping on the right-hand side.


But why would they do this?

With an estimated 10% of page clicks going towards the ad section, the other brands bidding on Next brand search terms will secure a proportion of their potential business. Quite simply, competitors are trying to turn their customers heads and take a portion of their business.

By bidding on their own brand keywords they can reduce the amount of traffic their competitors syphon from them.

Notice how the data in the Next ad also differs from the data in their organic listing? Within their ad they have several ‘extensions’, more compelling ‘calls to action’ and ad copy that is highly relevant to the specific search term. All of this can prevent the searchers click being diverted towards a competitor.


When bidding on your brand name can waste your money

If your website performs reasonably well in the organic search rankings, it’s likely Google will know to deliver your website and your various web pages when someone searches your brand keywords. Therefore, if you’re bidding on your own brand names, you’ll be paying for clicks that would likely have been free if your ad wasn’t there.

If someone has entered your brand keywords, they’re looking for you, and it likely won’t matter to them whether they cost you money by clicking on an ad, or an organic listing.


Bonus Tip

If you do decide to bid on your own brand name, always ensure your brand based keywords are separated into their own ad set so you can be clear about what performance they’re driving. If you include these terms within other ad sets, you will likely confuse your understanding of your ad performance and ROI.

Most people putting your brand name into the search function will be returning visitors, already familiar with your brand, products and services and far more likely to complete goal conversions.

Google Ads is an outstanding way of capturing fresh business that is deep into the customer journey as they can be physically looking for the products and services that you sell.

Therefore, by including brand based keywords within other ad sets you’ll get a confused understanding of your true ad performance.


We hope you have enjoyed this blog and gained a far better understanding of brand name bidding on Google Ads.

If you would like to discuss your Google Ads strategy, please reach out to me at

All the best.

Jamie Stenton

Sales and Marketing Director

Lilac James Co.

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