Without the careful monitoring of the use of your branded keywords in contextual ads, your company can lose thousands of clients and overpay thousands in partner rewards.  

The problem of brand bidding or trademark bidding has been affecting the market for a long time – a couple of years ago an Adthena study showed that up to one third of all queries now experience brand bidding, driven in part, by 50% of advertisers who engage in competitive bidding on pure brand terms. Now brands have learned to fight it more effectively, but according to The Search Monitor 12% of your clicks are lost to competitors who advertise on your branded search keywords.

Brand Auditor, an ad fraud monitoring tool by Admitad, shares insights on the most harmful types of brand bidding, and ways to counteract them, based on its work with more than 2,500 brands.

What types of brand bidding can hurt your brand?

There are several main reasons ‌why someone uses your brand name or other branded keywords in their contextual advertising campaigns or on their websites. In recent years, Brand Auditor has been continually detecting, tracking and blocking harmful attempts in the following categories of brand bidding:

  • Unauthorised brand usage. Your competitors know that people searching for your products are likely to buy their product too. This is an easy-to-do and successful way for them to capture the attention of the “hottest” audience – your own.
  • Direct brand bidding. Unscrupulous or inattentive partners are interested in easy money. They, as well as your competitors, know that users who use the name of your brand or products in their search query are ready to make a purchase. It’s a simple way for others to get higher conversions at lower prices, at a cost to your brand. 
  • Landing page brand bidding, including coupon aggregators and showcase websites. Partners use coupons or promo code pages to lure valuable traffic away from your resources and directly to theirs. 
  • Unauthorised brand usage through CPA. CPA partners can also partake in unfair and fraudulent activities by using your brand keywords to siphon off already-interested buyers into their own affiliate programmes. 

Brand bidding ads often end up among the first links that Google shows to a user. Statistically, the first ad on a Google search results page has an 8% click-through rate. The first non-ad link has an even higher CTR – over 30%. 

If a user has specifically searched for your brand, it’s unlikely that they will pay attention to whether a result is an ad link or an organic link – they’ll click it anyway. 

Therefore, up to 30% of organic traffic searching for your brand or product risks either getting to your site through brand bidding (for which you’ll undeservedly pay a reward), or being channelled to a competitor’s store. 

Why is it crucial to monitor brand bidding?

The only way to effectively respond to and prevent brand bidding is to receive timely, real-time notifications that it’s happening. Therefore, monitoring services such as Brand Auditor have become an essential part of a business’s online marketing strategy. 

For Admitad, the issue of monitoring brand bidding and preserving high-quality traffic is an acute one. Brand Auditor, a tool that was developed for this exact purpose, has been carefully monitoring, filtering and blocking forbidden brand mentions in contextual campaigns and on websites – by both partners and competitors – for many years now. 

Due to an ever-growing demand for such services, by both Admitad customers and companies outside of our ecosystem, it was decided to launch a brand new, cutting-edge version of Brand Auditor.

Our new version of Brand Auditor will be released as a stand-alone product – available to Admitad advertisers as well as any brand around the world who wants to protect themselves from brand bidding.

This is a key point in our new offering. While other monitoring services are restricted by location, Brand Auditor is available universally – in every country, all around the world. 

Brand Auditor has shown that the approach of limiting brand bidding services to monitor only in countries that traditionally produced the bulk of contextual traffic – countries such as the US, UK, Germany, etc – is outdated.

Other regions like India and Brazil are rapidly increasing the volume of their contextual advertising, and their problems with brand bidding are no less acute. That is why our service now monitors globally, so as not to miss a single use of a branded keyword without the brand’s full knowledge.

How can you counteract brand bidding?

The threats ad fraud poses to your brand, business and income are very real. Over the years, Brand Auditor has sought out and blocked brand bidding violations for more than 2,500 advertisers globally. 

Intelligent brand bidding monitoring has enabled advertisers to filter out hundreds of thousands of orders, protecting their marketing budgets by stopping them from paying undeserved rewards. 

Also, by constantly monitoring competitors for any illegal or malicious activity, many brands working with Brand Auditor have been able to successfully launch their own branded contextual counter-campaigns, protecting their legitimate organic traffic from any encroachments.

Upon being alerted to suspected brand bidding, Brand Auditor offers several options for dealing with it, depending on its category type and circumstances:

  • If there is a violation by a partner – the partner network will be alerted. If they find out the partner used your banned keywords intentionally, they will be removed from your affiliate programme. 
  • If your branded words are used by a competitor – you can set up a counter ad campaign targeting them yourself, knocking them out of the competition. Usually, it costs you less to use your own keywords, so resistance will be short-lived. 
  • If you have a registered trademark for your brand name and a competitor uses that word in the text or image of an ad – Brand Auditor will locate, track and document the content of the ad, enabling you to launch a formal complaint and take legal action against your competitor.

The monitoring, detecting and combating of brand bidding is a highly-nuanced field. For every brand or business, an individual approach is important. 

If you’d like expert advice on these issues, contact the Brand Auditor specialists at support@admitad.com or through request form on Brand Auditor product page. Their experts will be happy to provide you with all the information and expertise you need.

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