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Don’t Lose Control of Your Brand and Trademark in PPC

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Take control of your brand in PPC by submitting trademark forms to search engines, asking the company nicely to stop, and controlling your brand presence.

Trademark Issues With PPC? Ways to Take Back Your Brand originally posted on Clickz.

I see this situation every few months. A frantic call or email from a client who is shocked and dismayed that their competitor’s PPC ad is showing up when they search for their trademark or brand. How did this happen and what to do?

First, don’t panic. Second, let’s assess the situation.

What if ‘My Trademark Showed Up in Ad Copy on a PPC Ad?’

Let’s assume your brand is trademarked. All major PPC ad platforms prohibit use of trademarks in ad copy. Therefore, it shouldn’t be appearing in others’ ads in search engines like Google or Bing, or in social ads like Facebook or LinkedIn. If it is, you can file a complaint with the ad platform and ask that it be investigated. Google’s form includes a “Scope of Complaint – Advertisers Involved” where you can select to limit this complaint to specific ads or to all advertisers. If you select all advertisers, be sure to include your own AdWords account as an “Authorized Entity” or your own ads may be disapproved in the future.

Likewise, if you experience this on Bing/Yahoo, you can also file a complaint about use in a specific PPC ad. Microsoft will investigate a complaint about trademark infringement in the text of a search ad on Bing and Yahoo Search after it receives all required information via the form. One major point of difference is that Bing allows the fair use of trademarks in ad text, such as resellers, product reviews, dictionary use of a term, or comparative advertising.

Facebook also allows you to report Intellectual Property or Copyright Infringement from forms on its site.

If you discover this occurring in LinkedIn, it asks you to contact LinkedIn Customer Service.

What if ‘My Competitor Is Bidding on My Trademarked Keyword so Ads Are Showing Up on Branded Searches?’

This scenario is a little trickier. Google allows advertisers to bid on trademarked keywords in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries, as long as they are not in the ad copy itself. Google’s help section also lists countries where such keyword bidding is not allowed at all.

Bing and Yahoo will no longer investigate complaints about trademarks used as keywords. Therefore, in both of these paid search platforms, it’s possible and likely a competitor could leverage your good name for their benefit.

There’s always one other option: ask nicely. It’s recommended to reach out to the violator and simply ask them to stop using your trademark in advertising. For example: “I was searching on Google this morning for our trademark term ‘super fly sunglasses’ and it appears that your ad is showing up on this keyword phrase. I am not sure if this is an accident or intentional, but I would like to ask that you remove this from your campaign and/or add ‘super fly sunglasses’ as a negative keyword. I hope you understand that this is a trademarked term and we are constantly fighting trademark infringers and simply want to protect our brand. I appreciate your acknowledgment of my concern and willingness to help with this. Thank you for your understanding.”

Does the violator have to comply? No, but it never hurts to ask.

How to Take Control of Your Brand Back

If you encounter problems with your trademark being used in either PPC ad texts or keywords, you are likely in a competitive industry where your brand has value and people want that. You’ll now need to stand out as the brand. Besides taking the action noted earlier, a few other simple tactics can help your ads stand out:

  • Brand owners should always bid on their own trademarks to be present for searches and to reinforce your brand’s leadership.
  • Use of “official site” or “original” in your ad text sends the message your brand is the one and only and can help to differentiate yourself from lookalikes.
  • Include a clear display URL in the ad with your brand name, even if the core domain is not the brand name. Try using http://www.somedomain.com/brand if necessary.
  • Utilize Ad Sitelinks in Google with clear brand messaging to get an additional four links attached to your ad when it appears in the top positions.
  • Use of the trademark symbol ™ or copyright symbol ® in the ad title or ad text is allowed if the trademark is already registered for both Google and Bing.

Now that we’ve assessed the situation and have a solid direction, we can begin to calmly tackle each incident and take control of our brand in PPC.

The secret formula: submit trademark forms + ask nicely to stop + control brand presence = one happy brand.

PPC Competitive Analysis

August 19, 2011 1 comment

Presented at SES San Francisco on August 17, 2011.

An essential component of any search marketing plan is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This knowledge helps you comprehend what links to gain, ad prices to pay, content to offer and customers to seek. In this session, we take a close look at what tricks you can use with search engines to analyze your competitors’ game and also what free and premium tools are available to deep dive into their strategy. Join us for a candid discussion as panelists reveal their secrets for monitoring competitive forces and threats while sharing tips that can be successfully applied to any business intelligence effort. After attending this session, you’ll have the skills to easily discover what keywords your competitor is targeting, how much your competitor is spending on ads, and be able to identify opportunities your competitor is missing.

Back-to-School PPC: A+ Tips and Expansion Ideas

August 15, 2011 2 comments

Originally posted on ClickZ.

Aww, back-to-school already? Yes, it’s that time of year again when retailers’ minds turn to reaching parents and students of all ages purchasing supplies, clothing, and electronics. According to the National Retail Federation, combined K-12 and college spending will reach over $68 billion this year, serving as the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays.

The flexibility and real-time nature of paid search and PPC campaigns make them ideal tactics for the back-to-school marketing mix. In recent surveys, more people say they will shop online and will comparison-shop online than last year. With this audience more available online, it will be critical to be visible and offer unique messaging to entice shoppers.

Keyword Expansion

Now is the time to review your current program to determine how back-to-school themes can be incorporated into your account. Major themes include keywords related to textbooks, school gear, supplies, dorms, apparel, software, games, laptops, mobile devices, tablets and more. If your products fall into these categories or subcategories, it’s a good idea to reach out to the back-to-school crowd and capture this seasonal traffic.

You will be working on a short and accelerated timeline, so once your new keywords are implemented, quickly expand high performing keywords and employ negatives real-time as they become available from query reports.

Ad Creative

Whether you are starting from scratch or revisiting the creative from last year, you can attract more clicks by incorporating the appropriate keywords.

  • Include enticing offers in your ads that focus on discounts and deals for shoppers by using phrasing like “coupon,” “% off,” and “sale” in the ad copy and title.
  • Incorporate “student” and “school” in the ad copy.
  • Highlight your relevance to shoppers by incorporating “back”, “school,” and “student,” to your ad copy.
  • If you are utilizing SiteLinks in Adwords, don’t forget to edit your SiteLinks to include back- to-school language and promotions.

Paid Program Expansions

Including back-to-school seasonal tactics will not only expand the potential of your current account, it is also a great way to test new approaches for winter holiday season.

  • Remarketing/retargeting: Although it’s too late to set up a new retargeting campaign, the current audience can still be leveraged with back-to-school specific messaging, offers, and cross-sells, as appropriate. Prepare ahead next year by tagging appropriate content early to later target with back-to-school messaging.
  • Google Display Network: Leveraging the Google display network is an option to get more exposure to the back-to-school audience. This may be a good time to test category targeting. According to Google, the following categories and subcategories, in order of frequency, were the most commonly searched themes for back-to-school queries:
    • Society: Education, legal, social science
    • Entertainment: Music and movies
    • Shopping: Apparel, mass merchants, and department Stores, Flowers Gifts and greetings
    • Local: Regional content, jobs
  • Facebook ads: If you’re doing Facebook PPC, this is the perfect time to try targeting a student audience. Students can be targeted by their education status if they are in high school or college, and you can also specify a college name. This audience can also be reached by interest or category such as “Precise Interests” from users profiles like “student council” or “Broad Categories” like “consumer electronics” or “gaming”. Mix and match depending on the products you offer.
  • Mobile and tablet only campaigns: In comparison to previous years, students are more connected than ever. According to Google internal data, last year there was a lift of 500 percent in mobile searches for retail and consumer electronics categories over the summer months. This provides a unique opportunity to capture searchers attention on platform not totally saturated with ads. Remember that searches are more general on mobile and tablets than searches conducted through a desktop with a full keyboard. You will need to segment out mobile and tablets in your campaign settings.

mobile-ad-example

Back-to-school seasonality seems to pass in a flash. Search traffic begins in early July, peaks in mid August, and falls off at the end of September. Early planning is recommended, but more essential is understanding the shoppers you are trying to reach, where they purchase, and how to stand out from the crowd this back-to-school season.

Example of “Google Offers” in Adwords Ad?

July 15, 2011 1 comment

Google Offers, in beta, recently launched tests for online coupons to compete with Groupon. In looking through the Google Offers documentation, I didn’t see any direct mention of incorporating into Adwords. Google Offers is intended to be pre-paid, however, this offer just showed up in Adwords and led to a Google hosted landing page with “Google Offers” in the page title. Or is this the old coupon product being transitioned to Offers?

The Landing Page:

More info…

Google Offers beta launching in New York City and the Bay Area

Google To Tie Google Offers, Shopper to Google+

Google Offers Launches Test in Portland

Advanced Adwords Training in Minneapolis: Google AdWords & Analytics Success Summit July & Sept

Need to pump up your Adwords skills? DemandQuest’s Ted Kozlowski and I will present at the Google AdWords & Analytics Success Summit, to be held July 13th, 2011 and September 20th, 2011 at DemandQuest’s vibrant new learning environment in Northeast Minneapolis. This full day of intensive learning is ideal for those who want a more advanced understanding of both Google Adwords and Google Analytics.

The seminar will be presented in two parts:

Part 1- Google AdWords Optimization (9am to 12pm)

So you have an Adwords account, what’s next? This seminar focuses on the critical components of your Google Adwords account including best practices for Keywords, Ad Copy, and Targeting in addition to what levers to pull during optimization to achieve the best results. Powerful new features will also be introduced and discussed. This day is jam-packed full of tips and techniques you can functionally use to improve your accounts overall performance. This hands-on workshop will go beyond the basics with intermediate to advanced tactics.

You’ll Also Learn:

  • Advertising Goals/ know what conversion(s) you are measuring
  • Account Structure: Best practices including the search funnel approach
  • Keywords: Best practices, match type, negatives and trouble-shooting common problems
  • Budgets & Bids: best practices, automation and trouble shooting
  • Ads: best practices, tips, ad extensions, trouble- shooting performance issues
  • Targeting: including campaign settings
  • Retargeting: intro, best practices, list ideas and optimization
  • Tracking It All: conversion code, analytics, Google’s URL builder

Part 2 – Google Analytics Essential (1pm to 4pm)

This seminar focuses on best practices for creating reports, measuring data & understanding the results. We will cover installation, filters, funnels, setting up executive dashboards so that you can get the most out of Google Analytics.

You’ll Also Learn:

  • Intelligence Alerts and Advanced Segments
  • How Google Analytics tracking code works
  • Measuring Conversions
  • Measuring Traffic
  • Measuring Content
  • Measuring Visitors
  • Best Practices: Advertising and Marketing
  • Best Practices: Engagement
  • Best Practices: Conversion
  • Best Practices: Reporting with the Organization
  • Improving Your Site: Google Website Optimizer

More information about the event and registration for Google AdWords & Analytics Success Summit can be found at the following link:

http://demandquest.com/courses/google-adwords-analytics-summit/

Does Facebook Care Enough About Small Advertisers?

My latest article on ClickZ discussing how Facebook’s ad management and support to small to medium business advertisers is underwhelming at best.

How can the smaller advertiser get through their Facebook advertising experience a little easier right now?

Does Facebook Care Enough About Small Advertisers?

 

Haven’t We Met Somewhere…? or Hello Again: Retargeting Tips For Beginners

Retargeting your prospects is an incredibly effective way to reconnect post-website visit. Specifically, Google remarketing is one easy way for beginners to get started. My latest article on Search Marketing Standard outlines a few tips you really need to know.

Check it out:

Hello Again: Retargeting Tips For Beginners