In a recent article on Clickz, an internet marketing site, they discussed a study on search trends and branding. The result was that 75% of searches in their study in February were for brand names, up over 17% from last year. But surprisingly 15% of brand searches strayed from the actually brand being searched on.
This has several effects that should be noted in this search trend. What effects do brand related searches have on your company, your competitor, and your environment (businesss not ecological)?
Well, it affects your company because 15% of the searches for your company are lost. What’s worse is that the deviation is making someone else money on your brand. It’s like street vendors in Washington D.C. selling fake Oakley sunglasses. Affiliate sites are part of your Google resultset and I could make money with a properly optimized Nike affiliate site that steals users when they search for Nike.
Competitors can do a number of things as well. Imagine losing a visitor because your competitor showed up as a sponsored AdSense site in your resultset. It’s like searching for Nike, seeing Reebok as a sponsored ad and going there. You can also bid on trademarks in AdSense for search engine marketing. So I could bid on using the Nike trademark on AdSense for my affiliate site. This should be closely watched by brand managers and search marketing professionals.
Prescott suggests that brand managers need to keep a close eye on brand-related search terms and adjust paid search and affiliate marketing efforts to keep brand-related searches going to brand sites.
“Brand owners need to understand where the traffic from their brand-related search is going,” she said.
As e-commerce growth continues to grow there’s a serious competitive advantage to be gained in search engine marketing. But this environment could quickly become unstable as spam and click-fraud infiltration run rampant on these networks. That’s why the future is in localized ad networks rather than national. Why do you think (aside from the sheer size) that yellow pages are localized? Same thing. Localized advertising is the next wave (watch google) and although it will still adhere to the same side effects it is far more manageable. Plus, brand awareness is far more effective when you have a much smaller demographic per network.