“Paid search monitoring is, now more than ever, an essential tool in any company’s brand protection armour. We usually find an exponential decrease in infringements within the first months as we quickly and efficiently eliminate the paid search advertisements that are infringing on your brand.“
In the latest podcast from BRANDIT we talk to Pinelopi Apostolou, Paralegal at BRANDIT, about paid search monitoring.
Pinelopi explains what paid search monitoring is, what the benefits are to brand owners, what pitfalls to look out for and whether the investment is worth it.
If you would like to learn more about paid search monitoring, you can speak to one of our experts here.
Pinelopi is a philosophy junkie and is never far away from a well-thumbed philosophical book! When taking a break from reading, she can also be found seeking her latest adrenaline fix with some kind of extreme sport, even if she does scare easily! To relax, Pinelopi enjoys spending time with the people she cares about.
After almost a decade of working in client-oriented environments, this passionate Greek national joined BRANDIT to further develop her skills while doing what she genuinely loves: communicating with people and helping them find suitable, smarter, and more practical ways of doing business.
Pinelopi speaks: Greek, and English
Paid Search Monitoring Explained by Pinelopi Apostolou
Interviewer: Hello, my name is Kerry, and I am the Marketing Manager at BRANDIT. Today, we have with us Pinelopi, BRANDIT’s Paralegal in our Legal Enforcement team, and we are going to be talking about Paid Search monitoring.
So, Pinelopi, let’s start at the beginning. What is paid search?
Well, paid search advertising is an effective, yet relatively inexpensive, form of digital marketing, where search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing allow advertising campaigners to show ads on their search engine page (SERP). Their ads are shown to the consumers every time they search for the particular keywords and the advertisers are paying a small fee whenever someone clicks on the ad. This is what we call “Pay Per Click” (PPC).
Nowadays, paid search advertising can be a way to level up your game, capture your audience’s attention towards your website, and target a wider range of consumers. Paid search is a different form of marketing as companies don’t need to hunt the consumer down. On the contrary, paid search makes the consumers come to you, every time they search for the service or the products you provide. You need to be careful though as the ease of paid search does not only apply to brand owners, but also to infringers, a fact which is often overlooked. And with online shopping becoming more prevalent by the minute, trademark or branded keyword bidding is a becoming a real headache for companies.
Why would anyone bid on your branded keywords?
Because it is profitable, and if you aren’t looking, they can continue to do it without any negative consequences. In fact, branded keywords are more valuable than some people think. Since branded keywords are the most valuable and highest converting search traffic, they are a tempting target for partners, competitors, and third parties to run ads on. By bidding on your branded keywords, these bad actors are driving up your Cost Per Click and driving down your click-through rate. Some research indicates that trademark bidders, who are also called brand bidders, take at least 180 million clicks away from brands every year (and probably a lot more than that).
Is it just competitors and bad actors that bid on your trademark or branded keywords?
No, it is not. People should also be aware that infringers come in all shapes and sizes, with some being more of a surprise than others. Many well-established companies are working with resellers and/or affiliates. What they are not aware of, however, is whether their partners comply with their respective contracts. Unfortunately, we find that a lot are the times a brands’ reseller and/or partner tend to bend the rules when it comes to these agreements in order to make a quick buck on the side. The main reason for this is usually the same: to increase traffic and direct more consumers to their website rather than the brand owners.
What can be done to stop these people from bidding on your branded keywords?
First, we should probably clarify something. Strictly speaking, bidding on trademarked keywords is perfectly legal. However, it is against the search engines policy
- to make unauthorised use of the trademark in the description (title, etc.) as it would create confusion amongst consumers, and
- for affiliates to be non-compliant to contractual obligations (the affiliates having a contract saying they cannot bid on a keyword).
Now, let’s go back to what we can do to prevent the ‘illegal’ bidding where paid search monitoring and enforcement comes in to play.
Paid search monitoring involves actively monitoring to see who is bidding on your brand and how often they are advertising. When infringing ads, like unauthorised ads from partners or third parties who use your trademark/branded keywords in either the headlines, ad copy, and URLs of the ads, it is then possible to remove the offending ad by notifying the search engines or contacting the partner or third-party. Some of this can be done manually, but we think an automated monitoring tool is better at detecting and crawling thousands of ads than a human, more about that later. Once you start monitoring and submitting trademark infringements, the results can be pretty quick.
Is it just Google companies should be monitoring?
When looking into paid search advertising infringements, a lot of companies tend to focus solely on Google and couldn’t be bothered to check what the situation is on other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo. Huge mistake! Bing and Yahoo should be equally important, if not even more when it comes to stamping out these types of infringements. You see, infringers work exactly like legit brand owners. Plus, they are quite adaptive, and very well-informed about anything circulating their business. Of course, they know that brand owners do not pay too much attention to the likes of Yahoo and Bing. As a result, they divert their business to these less used search engines, a tendency which has become a trend in our industry. Indeed, more often than not, it’s more common to find infringing ads on Yahoo and Bing, rather than Google as Infringers aim to stay in the game by flying under your radar and operating right under your nose!
What would you say the benefits are to paid search monitoring and is it worth the investment?
I would say that paid search monitoring is, now more than ever, an essential tool in any company’s brand protection armour. We usually find an exponential decrease in infringements within the first months as we quickly and efficiently eliminate the paid search advertisements that are infringing on your brand. This results in a considerable reduction in the cost per keyword for our clients as well as helping to increase their sales as there are less obstacles for consumers to reach your products. From this we can see why paid search monitoring is a service worth investing in, especially now with the recent rapid increase of online shopping, especially with the increase of less tech-savvy consumers who have now been given no choice but to shop online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Are you using any tools to help your clients monitor paid search ads?
We use a partner software that helps our clients to:
- Protect their trademark rights by removing infringing and fraudulent ads that are misusing their brands’ name without permission.
- Optimise their Campaign Performance by leveraging Search Engine Marketing insights to inform Paid Per Click strategies.
This combined with our legal experts who are able to recognise a wide variety of scams, is what makes it possible for us to structure an iron-clad strategy that is customised to a specific brand’s needs.
What’s your final word on the topic Pinelopi?
With the search engines moving toward greater automation of ad copy variations and ad units taking up more physical space on the SERP, brand protection in PPC is becoming increasingly important and frankly more difficult. It is virtually impossible to manually monitor and protect your branded keywords across the globe 24 hours a day. Consequently, like it or not, automation is unavoidable and marketeers, as well as legal teams, need to learn how to thrive in this automated paid search world and paid search monitoring is an essential tool to help them do this.
Thank you very much, Pinelopi, for being with us today and we look forward to hearing from you again as it’s really a very interesting topic.
Pinelopi: Thank you
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