Should I Bid on my Brand in Google Ads?

Bidding on Your Brand Keywords in Google Ads

Conventional Wisdom would say that there should be no need to bid on your own brand as keywords in Google Ads.  After all, you already own your brand, you should already own the search results, right?  Well, no, in many cases this will not be the case.  Let's have a look at two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Your brand is not well known and none of your competitors view it as threat and do not bid on your brand keywords.

Scenario 2: Your brand is well known and your competitors bid on your brand keywords.

If you fall into Scenario 1, then you have other marketing priorities.  Worrying about your competitors stealing your search traffic is not a concern.

Google Search Results by Device Type

If you have competition bidding on your brands, you can choose to simply respond with brute force dollar for dollar bidding wars and play their same game and spend boat loads of cash to steal back your own traffic.  Or you be more strategic and be more efficient with your money.  To begin with, you should have your brand protection campaign as its own unique campaign within your Google Ads account so that you have the ability to monitor and manage it properly, separate from your other campaigns.

Now let's understand the difference in how people access search results and why that should matter to you. Since about mid 2016, more than half of the Internet traffic, both search and browsing, has been happening on mobile phones.  That means over half of your potential clients are viewing the web, including search results, with Google Ads, with the small screen in the palm of their hand.  Research by Google has show that mobile users are nearly twice as likely to click ads shown at the top of the search results page than to scroll down to where the organic listings are found.  Quite often a Google search result on a mobile phone will display two or three ads, perhaps a Google maps section, a knowledge panel, then the organic results.  That requires scrolling 3 or 4 screens worth to get to the organic listings.  Contrast that with what is immediately viewable on a desktop search.  Desktop users will often see the ads, map results, knowledge panel, and three or four organic listings all on the first screen full of search results.  While desktop users will more often click one of the organic listings, mobile users will tend to click an ad.  You should get most of the desktop clicks to your site for branded search from organic listings as desktop users will be able to see you in search results and gravitate towards non-ad clicks.

Smart Bidding Options in Google Ads

So to narrow down the focus of your plan, to make the most efficient use of your Google Ads budget, to get the most benefit of your marketing investment, we want to target the mobile traffic.  This is a process of making adjustments to your bids by device type and then tracking the ad share for your campaign.  In Google Ads, first select your brand protection campaign.  Then look down your list of options, down the left hand menu, for a menu option named Devices.  You may need to click the + More link first to see this option.  The table to right should now show you the options to adjust your bids by Mobile phones, Computers, Tablets.  Click in the Bid adj. column in the row for Mobile phones and boost the mobile bid by 20%.  Save.  Then click to reduce the desktop bid by 50%.  Save.
The net effect of this is to drive more of your brand protection budget dollars to mobile users, to position your ads in a preferred position in the search results.  Depending on your actual competitive situation, and how aggressive your competition is, you may need to change these bid adjustments.
You can see the effect of your changes by monitoring the search impression share of your brand protection campaign.  In the campaigns menu, click on your brand protection campaign.  Above the graph, select the secondary variable (may be show as - None) and choose Competitive metrics - Search impr. share.  This will show you, for your campaign geography, timing, and keywords, what the percentage of impressions that your ads receive compared to the total number of impressions that your ads could get.  If you are looking to protect your brand, you want this to be a fairly high percentage, at least 75% to 80%.