What Happened When We Paused PPC Brand Campaigns

Over the years, many companies have debated whether you should or should not bid on your own brand terms. Some article suggests you should not waste your money and others believe it is a no-brainer.

In a previous article Why Brand Ad Campaigns are So Important, I discussed the reasons why you should bid on branded terms. One reason would be to protect Branded keywords from your competition. Brand terms are cheap and almost always have lower CPCs than Non-Brand keywords. The low CPCs is one reason competitors choose to bid on your branded keywords. Typically the costs are minimal and make up a small percentage of your total spend. Additionally, bidding on your own brand terms allow you to control additional ad real estate and messaging.

One client wanted to stop bidding on their branded terms. They felt they were paying additional for customers and losing money on their brand terms. The spend was less than 7% of their total PPC budget per month. Their Brand spend had increased by 168% YoY from $489 to $1,316.

Google Ads – Brand Paused – Before and After

The brand campaigns in Google and Bing were turned off on July 31 and here is what happened. The spend decreased by 10%, conversions decreased by 110%, CPA increased by 48%, revenue decreased by 117%, and ROAS decreased by 98%.

Google Analytics Channel Revenue – Before and After

In Analytics, Paid Search revenue decreased by 52% and Organic increased by 12%. Paid Search revenue was $257,413 lower and Organic picked up $48,539. Organic Search did not make-up the difference of what was lost from pausing the Brand campaigns.

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This outcome suggests that there is an incremental lift that happens when your paid ad and organic listing appear in the same search. Perhaps having a Brand ad with customized text and ad extensions lends a certain authority to your Brand. In 2012, Google reported that 89% of search ad clicks are incremental. One problem with this data is that it is older it was difficult to find recent data or studies. However, our findings seem to support these findings more than it disproves the study.

Google Ads Conversion Value

In fact, in 2018 the conversion value was consistently higher each month compared to the previous year, except after pausing the Brand campaigns. In September 2018, the Brand conversion value was lower at $103,698 compared to 2017 at $108,330.



In the above graphs, you can see that Brand’s conversion value increased followed a similar trend line as the Non-Brand performance. This account has a 13 day lag to conversion, so it is possible that Google ads will apply additional value to September.

Organic and CPC

In another view, we can see that Google Organic did pick up 21% additional users and 15% revenue. In this same time period, Google Paid revenue was 50% lower. Combined there was a 21% net loss of revenue.

Bing Organic users increased by 25%, but the revenue was 5% lower. In this same time period Bing Paid revenue was 63% lower. Combined there was 42% net loss of revenue.

Analytics Multi-Channel Funnel

Another view worth considering is the effect pausing brand had on assisted revenue performance. After we paused Brand, Paid Search shows 58% loss in last click revenue and a 37% loss in assisted revenue performance. Also, we know Paid Search often assists other channels and we show a drop across all channels here during this same time frame.

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After we un-paused the Brand campaigns, the last click revenue improved by 35% and the assisted revenue increased by 8%. Plus, all the other channels had improvement in revenue performance compared to the period when brand was paused.


Closing Thoughts

Should you bid on Brand keywords? Absolutely! In fact, bidding on Brand terms did seem to result in an incremental lift in revenue for this client. Additionally, we can see that Organic did not make up the loss of revenue lost from Paid Search.


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