Paid Search Strategy Tip: Bidding on Branded Keywords

One of the biggest objections when it comes to incorporating branded keyword phrases is that it is seen as wasted ad spend. We hear you, why pay for something when you can get it for free? Below we break down why you should consider including branded keywords and the benefits they will yield for your paid search campaigns.

Creating successful Pay-Per-Click (PCP) campaigns is based on strategically selecting the keywords your desired audience is searching for. A common misconception is that universities do not need to bid on their branded keywords because prospective students will be able to find them organically. While this logically makes sense, there are many instances where it is important to incorporate branded keyword phrases into your paid search strategy. 

One of the biggest objections when it comes to incorporating branded keyword phrases is that it is seen as wasted ad spend. We hear you, why pay for something when you can get it for free? Below we break down why you should consider including branded keywords and the benefits they will yield for your paid search campaigns.

1. Your competitors are doing it 

With paid search, the goal is to be where your competitors are visible, not just where your customers are looking for you. As the online marketing space for education becomes more crowded, you will need to increase your university’s visibility in those competitive spaces.

Your competitors are likely bidding on your branded keywords. By choosing to forgo branded keywords in your campaigns you could be missing an important opportunity to better control the user experience and take control of your school’s brand.

2. Boost account quality score

As stated earlier, many people don’t want to pay for something they think they can get for free. But what if we told you your branded keywords will likely have a much cheaper cost-per-click than your other keywords? Often time this is the case, and it is all due to your quality score.

Quality score is a 1-10 rating calculated by Google to determine the relevance of your campaigns. Determining the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages plays a significant role in cost-per-click and ad position. Branded keyword phrases typically have the highest quality score, resulting in a lower cost-per-click. Looking to increase your quality score at the account level to receive a lower cost-per-click across campaigns? The use of branded keywords will help you get there.  

3. Provide Seamless User Experience 

Above all else, we want to provide the best user experience possible for prospective students. Remember our landing page blog? The same concept can be applied here. Although a prospective student searching for your academic program could likely find their way to your site organically, you can’t guarantee what page they may land on. By incorporating branded keywords, you can control the path for prospective students, provide relevant content, and guide them through a focused conversion path.

Still weighing the pros and cons of branded keywords in your digital strategy? Talk to one of our education experts to see how we can leverage your school’s brand to increase your pool of prospective students.

Ready to elevate your PPC campaigns?

About the author

Megan is an Account Manager who specializes in education marketing. She develops integrated digital student enrollment and admissions campaigns focusing in areas of: brand awareness, content strategy, student acquisition, and lead nurturing campaigns.