One question we consistently hear from clients and colleagues in the travel industry is, “Should we run pay-per-click advertising on our own brand keywords?” And the question is usually followed with a statement like, “After all, we are in position #1 for our brand.” While there isn’t universal agreement on this topic, most search engine marketing professionals agree that brand PPC shouldn’t be ruled out without very careful consideration.
Argument Against Brand PPC Advertising
There really is only one argument against brand PPC—and that’s cannibalization. “We’ll get that traffic anyway. Why spend money for it?” The idea is that by running ads on your brand, you’re stealing clicks away from your organic listing and paying for something you’d be getting for free. While there is agreement that brand PPC cannibalizes some percentage of organic search, the question really is…HOW MUCH?
Studies show that 70-80% of clicks resulting from brand search come from organic listings, which means that approximately 20% or more of clicks are paid. If you assume that ALL of those organic clicks will come to you, then 20% of traffic will go to a paid listing—either yours or a competitor’s. Do you want to lose 20% of your best prospects to other sites competing for their attention?
People searching your brand are at the end of the sales funnel. They know of you and are curious. So snag them! Own as much of the prime real estate—above the fold on page one—as possible.
More Arguments for Brand PPC
- In highly competitive markets, paid advertising can appear ABOVE organic results, further reducing the percentage of clicks that go to organic listings.
- 70% of searchers never get beyond page one on Google. That means 30% do. PPC ads are repeated on EVERY page, giving you added exposure to search users who dig deep.
- Your organic listing in position #1 is very likely to link to your home page. PPC ads can make specific offers relevant to the season or current marketplace and deliver visitors to a relevant landing page, increasing conversion.
- Further PPC can target to specific types of brand search. For example, a search for “(Your Brand) Hotel and Spa” can convert at a higher rate if the ad copy makes an offer for a discount on a spa treatment for hotel guests.
- Wholesalers and third parties will reduce your room rate yield by bringing you the same business that you can book directly, but with their hefty commissions taken out. And wholesaler and third-party click costs for position #1 are significantly reduced if you aren’t advertising. Don’t let them run wild.
- Because of the way Google calculates Quality Score, the cost of clicks on your own brand are far less expensive for you than for any other advertiser. ROI on properly executed brand PPC can be inexpensive and produce ten times more than generic search. Even if you discount brand ROI due to cannibalization, it probably still pays to advertise.
- Study after study shows that brand credibility jumps significantly for properties that advertise on their own brands. And the branding you create can actually increase your organic click-through rate.
You may have guessed that we believe in brand PPC for many of our clients. And this just scratches the surface of this surprisingly complex issue. At Dana, our approach to both brand and generic PPC is rigorous, methodical and focused on the ultimate goal—maximizing RevPAR.
If you’d like to talk hospitality PPC or get a free evaluation of your current PPC campaigns, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org