We often hear about the ghoulish tactics marketers use to enhance SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
We rarely hear about witchy tactics used in paid search marketing or Google AdWords. The reason? In a pay to play environment, Google and Bing are able to heavily regulate in real time. They will disapprove an ad if it is using trickery. They’ll ban you from the platform entirely if your infringement is great enough.
However, there is one tricky tactic that most have tried at one time or another. Some live by it in the competitive landscape where we advertise. Even the courts have weighed in, with inconclusive results.
Bidding On Your Competitors’ Names
In 2008, Google lifted the ban on bidding on your competitors’ names, giving the thumbs up to marketers to integrate the practice into their strategy.
However, just because Google says it is okay, is it really? It is still considered a grey area for most.
Clients in the legal vertical find it especially offensive. Because of the nature of legal clients’ day-to-day business, often they will take steps to ensure their competitors can’t bid on their name.
For example, many will trademark their name. Others will simply threaten legal action at every instance found.
Trick or Treat?
Bidding on your competitors’ names can seem great, but really, it is a trick you play on yourself: you hurt your Quality Score by bidding on a term that isn’t actually your client. You can start a bidding war with the actual competitor, ruining your budget. Or you can ruin your CTR (click-through rate) by bidding on terms to get in front of a consumer who is specifically looking for something else.
In some circumstances, like if you are the smaller player in a market, it is a great treat you can capitalize on by getting your name in front of your target consumer quickly to increase your brand awareness and market share.
The Grim Truth
One word of warning: if you are using ads with dynamic keyword insertion, be careful of bidding on your competitors’ name. Google will disapprove ads that contain your competitors’ name if you have no affiliation. Worse, you will be violating their trademark policy and could end up in a devilish situation.
The Real Treat: A Dedicated Paid Search Team
If all of this sounds like too much to handle, contact FSC Interactive today.
Our paid search advertising team knows all of the tricks your competitors are up to and we’ll treat you right.
Merritt is a proud University of Alabama alumnus who worked for agencies in Atlanta and Los Angeles before moving to New Orleans in 2010. She has managed online marketing efforts for national accounts, including Coca-Cola, Georgia-Pacific, and Suzuki Automotive, for which she won the J.D. Power OEM Website rating for 2nd best Automotive Manufacturer website in 2008 and 4th best Automotive Manufacturer website in 2009. Merritt was also named Marketing/Communications Director of the year in 2014 from the New Orleans Ad Club.