In recent years, competitive brand bidding has been allowed to roam across search platforms, becoming a concern for every brand and most marketing niches. As companies seek to expand their online visibility, they become ever more vulnerable to traffic hijackers and unscrupulous marketers. In this article, we provide a definitive answer as to what is brand bidding, and how it affects target brands, inquire into recent data on brand bidding worldwide, and provide practical advice for the defense of your brands, traffic, and campaigns.
What is Brand Bidding?
Brand bidding is a highly unethical practice of diverting competitors’ traffic by using their branded keywords in your own ads, websites, or platforms. It allows for easy traffic hijacking and disrupts brand-related purchase journeys, impacting marketing strategies, advertisement, and ultimately the ROI of campaigns.
For advertisers that employ brand bidding, it presents a great opportunity to harm competitors while at the same time winning over their prospects. For the target of such transgression, however, it can only mean losses in revenue, brand dilution, and ultimate destruction of a unique brand identity and position in the digital market.
There are multiple forms of brand bidding. Direct brand bidding, being the most obvious and audacious form of the tactic, is relatively unpopular, used by 1% of all bidders, since it is the easiest to detect and sue for. Promotional sites are used for brand bidding in about 5% of cases, while the most common form remains unauthorized brand use, that is using the name of a brand in advertising without consent. It spans over 80% of all brand bidding cases across all search engines on the Internet.
The Stats and Impact of Brand Bidding
The most comprehensive study on brand bidding post-2019, the Adthena study, reveals that up to one-third of all search queries experience brand bidding. According to Adthena, a staggering 50% of advertisers engaged in competitive bidding on branded keywords since 2019. This surge in brand bidding has led to a tenfold increase in the Cost Per Click (CPC) for branded keywords, as reported by The Search Monitor. Consequently, brands are estimated to lose approximately 12% of their overall traffic to competitors through brand bidding.
Although the decision by Google to lift its anti-bidding protections in June 2019 in many ways launched this problem, it is not the only reason for brand bidding to thrive. Trademark infringement lawsuits, even when directed at both offending companies and Google itself, have seen little success in recent years too, while the obscureness of some brand bidding practices left no window for appeal to the law in disputes.
The repercussions of unbridled brand bidding are felt especially keen in affiliate marketing. This sector is particularly dependent on trust and mutual cooperation for success, and it saw a drastic deterioration in quality on non-mediated partnerships. According to data, 25% of worldwide affiliates do not comply with anti-fraud legislation, further exacerbating the problem.
The situation led to brands seeking effective solutions for protection by themselves, often putting security above potential gains from collaborations.
Here, brand bidding detection solutions came forth. Mostly AI-driven, advanced technologies that employ complex systems of tracking, registering, and notifying brand owners about potential bidding cases on the web. These tools provided guarantees to clients and relieved marketing and analytics teams of the wearisome task of having to monitor brand bidding manually.
How to Counter Brand Bidding
Addressing brand bidding requires a multifaceted approach that combines vigilance, strategic monitoring, and the adoption of cutting-edge technology. Here are the key strategies to help protect your brand against brand bidding:
Monitor the Full Extent of Competitive Brand Bidding
To effectively counter brand bidding, brands must first understand the scale and extent of the problem. A comprehensive brand monitoring solution is crucial, providing insights not only across known brand keywords but also across the entire competitive search landscape. By quantifying the impact of brand bidding, advertisers can assess threats, identify opportunities, and safeguard their branded search share.
Focus Results Around Reduction of Brand CPCs and CPAs
The inflation of brand CPCs and CPAs is an inevitable consequence for brands affected by brand bidding. Implementing a brand protection solution aims to bring these metrics back in line, ultimately improving the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) from search. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology can provide deeper analysis and data segmentation, allowing brands to identify specific, actionable insights for more effective protection measures.
Leverage AI Technology for Intelligent Solutions
The scale of brand infringement poses a constant challenge for brands operating in the digital landscape. AI technology offers intelligent solutions by providing automated anomaly detection and an integrated auto-takedown process for infringing ads. This not only saves time but also reduces the strain on available resources, allowing brands to efficiently scale their brand protection measures across the breadth of branded search campaigns.
Implement Robust Legal Strategies
In addition to technological solutions, brands should explore robust legal strategies to counter brand bidding effectively. This may involve sending cease and desist letters, threatening legal action, and pursuing genuine trademark infringement lawsuits against offending parties. Collaborating with legal experts who specialize in digital advertising and trademark law can enhance a brand’s ability to navigate the legal complexities associated with brand bidding.
Rely on brand bidding detection tools
In digital marketing, there is no better defense against brand bidding than the highly reputable brand bidding detection tools. Many of them, such as the recently unveiled BluePear, are highly advanced AI-driven analytical systems that allow brand owners to monitor branded keywords and mentions in real-time. They notify brand owners via email or a messenger as soon as they notice infringement and provide insights into search history for particular keys and violating platforms.
To conclude, brand bidding presents a real and significant threat to online brands and advertisers. It has the potential to inflict lasting damage on brand image, divert prospective customers, and run revenue streams dry. Digital marketing demands a proactive and technology-driven approach to counter brand bidding effectively. By adopting comprehensive brand monitoring solutions, leveraging AI-driven solutions, and relying on mediation by top affiliate networks, brands can prevent brand bidding from leaving a lasting impact and preserve their long-term integrity.
Featured image provided by fauxels; Pexele; Thanks!
Olivia is the Editor in Chief of Blog Herald.