AdWords Agencies Recommend Branded Campaigns – The Dirty Little Secret


Spending money a branded AdWords campaign can be likened to paying for a glass of water, when you could have simple poured one for free from your faucet!

Most AdWords companies will recommend branded campaigns

  • They will however rarely point out that you will be paying for a significant proportion of clicks that your would have received anyway and for free
  • This is because in most cases you will inherently rank in the number one position for your own business name

The branded campaign will look great in an AdWords report because they will always convert really well

  • They will therefore typically have a low bounce rate
    • Because if someone types in your business name, they typically won’t bounce when they arrive at your website
    • This lowers the average bounce rate for your AdWords campaign – making the AdWords company appear more effective than they would otherwise
  • Also usually for most businesses there are more branded searches than there are for any other single key phrase
  • While branded campaigns can sometimes make sense, they need to be thought about very carefully, if budget is not unlimited

This thought process also holds true for any search phrase where you already rank really well

  • In general, if you have a limited budget, we recommend that you focus AdWords campaigns on keywords where you do not yet rank high on page one
  • AdWords companies generally do not like this approach, as it is easier for them to get clicks on things you already rank for – making them look good !!!
  • If that means you are paying for clicks that you would have gotten for free, that’s not their problem – as long as you do not realize this ; )

Reasons to do branded AdWords campaigns

We are not saying branded AdWords campaigns are always a waste of money, they may make sense if…

  1. You have an almost unlimited budget
  2. You have every keyword already covered 100% and do not run out of budget – ever…
    • It’s important to understand how daily budgets work as you may think you are not running out of budget – but you probably are in reality
  3. Competitors target your branded phrases
    • You have a specific anti competition AdWords strategy
  4. You have a separate budget just for brand awareness

Paying for Water

A lot of our clients do no AdWords advertising at all. This is because they do not need to, they rank so well organically. It could be argued that they should do branded AdWords campaigns anyway. If they did, would they get even more business?

Here are a couple of good articles on the subject that attempt to convince you that branded campaigns are good, read them and judge for yourself!

Bottom line

  • Both AdWords companies and Google will recommend that businesses implement branded AdWords campaigns – it is in their interest to do so
    • AdWords companies look more effective – with less work
    • Google make more money by selling you something that otherwise they would have to give you for free

What you should be looking at is your AdWords campaign’s bounce rate

If you are currently running an AdWords campaign, before you consider adding a branded campaign, look first at your campaign’s bounce rates

  • Associated with each key-phrase in your AdWords campaign
  • If the bounce rate is high, it means that in a lot of cases
    • You are paying to send the wrong people to your site
    • You are paying for something that does you no good
    • You are damaging your organic ranking
      • The higher the bounce rate – the more the above is true

Improving your bounce rate means making your AdWords campaign’s more effective. This is usually achieved by carefully crafting your campaigns. This means doing such things as weeding out poor performing keywords, crafting the text of the ads to better reflect what you do, building better more relevant landing pages. The good news about these activities is that they require no extra budget. The bad news is that to do them requires talent, skill and constant performance measurement over time. AdWords agencies will often rather spend your dollars than their time.

Bounce rates – rule of thumb

  • 50 – 59% = Good
  • 60 – 69% = Average
  • 70 – 79% = Bad

This rule of thumb is very general and should be taken as a rough guideline only. In reality bounce rates are relative. For example, if you have a bounce rate of 55% but your competition has a bounce rate of 52% all other things being equal, they will likely out rank you.