Previously on Google, advertisers could only bid on their own brand terms, competitor terms were off limits. However, on April 23rd 2013 Google liberalised their policy on trademarking by allowing advertisers to bid against each other’s brand terms.
It was a logical move from Google’s perspective to make search results pages more competitive but it meant that advertisers would bear the cost of this increased competition in two ways:
Firstly, failure to occupy Google’s top position for your own brand searches would potentially allow competitors to own your brand space.
Secondly, the increase in competition would force average CPC’s to increase.
The policy change forced advertisers to form a stronger strategy around their SEM brand terms otherwise their main competitors could potentially syphon web traffic away from them.
How this affected Quest
Off the back of these changes a number of online travel agents (OTA’s) and affiliate booking sites as well as our clients competitor serviced apartments began to appear against our client, Quests brand terms.
As a result the average CPC across brand terms began to increase and there was a reduction in overall traffic to Quest’s website (via both SEM & SEO) and an increase in sales coming through the OTAs.
An issue with this is that Quest has to pay a commission charge for all bookings made through OTA’s it is a more efficient use of their advertising budget to drive a booking via a paid search advert.
To combat this we added a number of long tail ‘Quest + Location’ keywords into the account on the 22nd of July and worked on tailored ad creative to ensure that our Quality Score was as high as possible.
The goal was to monopolise the top spot on Google search results pages and increase the volume of traffic going direct to the website.
We also recommended that our client, Quest update their agreement with OTA’s to prevent them using the brand name or bidding against brand terms.