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Protect Your Brands With Collaborative Bidding

Bidding on the same keywords without a collaborative strategy spells risk for internal competing brands. Not only can it result in one brand stealing potential clicks and traffic from another, but it also can drive up the CPCs for both. This pattern can quickly lead to increased costs and lower ROI. Ultimately, when internal brands compete on the same keywords, they can inadvertently destroy each brand’s overall bidding strategy.

For example: Deborah is a brand manager at a consumer products company with several types of shampoo. Responsible for shampoo formulated to treat dandruff, Deborah consistently bids on the keywords “dandruff shampoo,” “dry scalp” and “shampoo.” However, she is frustrated with her colleague Jason. While he is responsible for a color shampoo brand, he bids on “dandruff shampoo” just to drive additional traffic to his site. This exasperates Deborah. However, Jason is less than happy with Deborah as she bids on “color shampoo.” Doing so only pushes up his CPCs and steals his traffic. Caught up in a battle of constantly trying to outbid one another, Deborah and Jason are costing their company money. To remedy the situation, the two need to work together on a collaborative bidding approach for their shampoo keywords.

How A Collaborative Bidding Strategy Can Help

There are three key benefits to collaborating on a bidding strategy: Because each brand will be driving qualified customers that want to specifically find them—and not a competing brand—it can lead to an increase in qualified traffic, lower CPCs, and increased control over your bidding strategy. In addition, by driving fewer unqualified clicks, each brand’s overall costs will decrease. Finally, each brand will retain better control over its bidding approach because the brand owner will be able to understand who else is playing in their keyword space.

Putting a plan together

The following tips will get you started on the road to a collaborative bidding strategy:

Identify top competing keywords and brands: The first step you’ll need to take is to identify which brands, and which of their keywords, compete directly with your brand. Be sure to perform several searches on your keywords to see who from your company is bidding on your terms. You may be surprised!

Obtain buy-in from all brands: Collaboration is critical to make your collective strategy successful. If all brands don’t fully comprehend the benefits behind this type of approach, just one outlying brand can sabotage your efforts and increase your bids. Explain the benefits to a collaborative approach and the risks if brands don’t coordinate bidding efforts. Get everyone on the same page from the beginning in order to reap the full benefits of this approach.

Determine the order of priority: As a collective group, determine which brand has the right to win on each keyword, who should come in second, third, etc. Set rules of engagement that are fair and equitable to all brands. For example, a dandruff shampoo should win on the word “dandruff shampoo” and come in second on the word “shampoo.”

Take a holistic approach to reporting: As you track the success of your collaborative strategy, your reporting needs to reflect your new approach. As you start to think of your brands as a collective enterprise or category, you should look to adjust your reporting to reflect a holistic approach to each keyword. Your reports should examine the share of voice across brands for certain keywords.

Review, analyze and update: Brands change. Competitors change. The landscape changes. Don’t assume your rules of engagement are set forever. Update your bidding strategy, your rules of engagement, and your approach to stay up to speed with market shifts. Stay in constant communication with your other brands to understand their promotions, initiatives, and changes to their marketing mix.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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