We all know what an amazing tool search engines can be
They provide us with a way to list our websites so they can be found, as well as a way to advertise for much less than it costs to create a TV commercial or Radio ad. Pay-per-Click advertising (PPC) has drastically changed the way we market retail products. The ability to show your products to any person across the country like magic, provides so much more opportunity for small and large businesses. Google and other search engines have policies set up specifically to protect the consumer and the advertiser, but what happens when there are loop holes?
Loop holes within the policies for these search engines can cause larger problems for advertisers usually more than for the consumer. For instance, a trend we have been specifically tracking and will continue to track here at GravityFree is the use of brand names in ads. Our strategy generally involves running branded ads as most SEM specialist would set up a campaign this way. Your brand after all is how people know you, so it makes sense to use it for marketing purposes. Sometimes it also makes sense for your competitors to use your name… when they want to divert your usual customers to their site instead.
This is one of those loop holes that can hurt you if you let it. However we have some handy tips to help you prevent your brand name from being hijacked by other advertisers.
First, we need to clarify the difference between competitor bidding and brand hijacking.
Competitor Bidding – this is a strategy where you can actually bid on your competitors name as a SEARCH TERM. This is allowed, as it is still an auction from Google, so anyone can bid on your name. Most of the time this is very minimal cost for the owner of the brand and a slight increase for someone else bidding on it.
Brand Hijacking – this strategy involves inserting a brand name into your ad copy that is not your brand. This is actually not in line with Google policies, but due to the way they have them written out, unless your brand is trademarked there is not a lot we can do.
We see brand hijacking within the floral industry fairly often and it is hard to combat, but there are ways! More recently some of the larger order gatherers have been using this strategy and we have actively been reporting it to Google through the following practices.
- Our first line of defense should be your trademarked name. Google takes trademark offense more seriously. You should report this to Google by using the form below and attach your trademark ID. Google will review it and ideally remove other advertiser’s ads that include your trademarked brand name in it.https://services.google.com/inquiry/aw_tmcomplaint
So if you do not have your brand name trademarked yet, it is definitely something you should speak to your legal team about soon.
Another option is to report the ads individually. You can submit an inquiry to Google to look into the ad that is violating their policies and they will follow up with an answer within a few days normally. This process is slightly more time consuming, but if you do not have your name trademarked it can at least help by trying to limit how often your name is inserted into someone else’s ads.
GravityFree has been actively monitoring and reporting hijacked ads for our current clients. If you are a current client and already have your brand name trademarked, please follow up with us and we would be happy to discuss how to proceed. . If you are interested in becoming a GravityFree client, please feel free to reach out and we would be happy to discuss our product suite.