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Branded PPC vs Non-Branded PPC: Should my practice invest in both?

AnalyticsLegal Marketing
Person looking at ads for "pizza near me" in Google search results
 
It’s important to understand how branded and non-branded campaigns differ so you can determine which makes the most sense to help you achieve your marketing goals and allocate your budget accordingly.
 

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in the Google Search Network is a great way to get your law firm to the top of the search engine results. Generally speaking, there are two different approaches to this type of advertising: branded PPC campaigns and non-branded PPC campaigns. It’s important to understand how branded and non-branded campaigns differ so you can determine which makes the most sense to help you achieve your marketing goals and allocate your budget accordingly.

Non-Branded Campaigns

A non-branded campaign is most often what you think of when someone says they are running a paid advertising campaign. These ads will display when a user is searching for a product or service without specifying any particular provider. For example, when I search “pizza near me” an ad for Uber and Grubhub appears in the first two positions.

Ads on Google search results for "pizza near me"

Uber and GrubHub are competing with one another to promote their delivery service for someone who is looking for pizza. If it’s lunchtime and I am hungry, I may click the first result I see, order a white slice of pizza and continue on my day. I don’t think much of how I ordered the pizza but Uber Eats sure does. I just gave them a conversion by clicking on one of their ads – score for Uber!

These types of ads are often used for lead generation and sales, targeting users who have identified the need to purchase a product or service.

A few key benefits of General PPC campaigns include:

  1. Greater Reach: Get your product or service in front of more people. Having paid ads guarantees you will be seen by more people when you utilize the right keywords.
  2. Audience Targeting: Do you know who your target audience is? If you’re an estate planning attorney in Texas, you may decide you’d like to reach couples between the ages of 45-65 in the San Antonio area who are looking to protect their assets. With Google Ads, you can target specific people. Make sure you’re speaking to your target audience with appropriate ad headlines and copy.
  3. Immediate Results: Trying to rank on the first page of Google’s organic results takes time. In competitive industries and markets, obtaining top placement for certain keywords is incredibly difficult. With ads, you are guaranteed to see immediate results once you click “enable”. When your campaigns go live, you have the opportunity to be on the first page of Google within seconds!
  4. Measurable Data: By creating an ad campaign you have access to valuable data that can help you better understand which pages on your site are most effective in converting visitors, which headlines people are clicking on most often, and how much each keyword costs, so you can determine ROI.

Branded Campaigns

A branded campaign is all about your law practice and the attorneys at the firm. When a user searches for your company name (or, in some cases, an employee’s name), an ad will display that showcases information about your firm. Normally, you will want to include your practice’s name in one of the headlines, as well as giving a description of your expertise and how you help clients.

A great example of a company that is leveraging branded campaigns is Macy’s. When doing a search for Macy’s you can see from the image below that the retail giant has created an ad that sits on the top of the page of Google search results and highlights what they sell, along with a few perks of shopping online.

Ads on Google search results for "Macys"

A few key benefits of Branded PPC campaigns include:

  1. High-Quality Score: Your quality score is based on four things: ad relevance, click-through rate, landing page experience and bid (the amount you’re willing to pay for a click). Since you will be bidding on your own company’s name while having ad copy with your firm’s name and then redirecting the user to your practice’s website (which most definitely features the firm name), you are guaranteed a high-quality score. A higher score will allow you to rank in the top positions on Google and give your overall account a good optimization score.
  2. Competition: It’s not uncommon to find competitors bidding on rival firms’ names. Don’t let the first thing a referral sees on Google when searching for your practice be a competitor.
  3. The Mere-Exposure Effect: In psychology, this is the principle that people develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In the example of Macy’s above, you can see they held two top placements: one was an ad and one was an organic result (the unpaid search results). The more someone sees your brand name, the more a person starts to remember your name and the more likely that person is to do business with you. Dominate the search engines through ads and organic results.
  4. Reputation Management: With a branded campaign, you can directly control what a prospective client or colleague first sees when searching for your name. You can also have more influence in determining the content a visitor sees when arriving on your site by designating a specific landing page for your campaign. Take advantage of this benefit by directing ad visitors to your highest converting landing page.

Firms should consider running both branded and non-branded campaigns to maximize exposure and generate new business from the web. As a rule of thumb, since branded campaigns cost less, we generally recommend that firms spend 10-20% of their budget on branded keywords and the other 80-90% of their budget on non-branded keywords for their services.