Posted by Brian Aubert, Account Director
Anytime a brand is launching a new promotion, commercial, ad, or Web site, your paid search team should mine the content of the launch for new keywords. Consumers are likely to search for keywords associated with a new promotion, and you need to have SERP coverage to capture the demand you have created. Most importantly, don’t forget to protect taglines and catch phrases that are in your commercials by bidding on those phrases in paid search.
To use the last Super Bowl as an example, Cars.com ran an ad featuring a normal person named David Abernathy who did extraordinary things. Abernathy was a made up character, but the commercial sparked a ton of Google searches from people seeking to learn more about this mysterious David Abernathy. In fact, the “David Abernathy” keyword ranked #1 in Google Trends hot searches in the hours after the commercial ran. The problem was that Cars.com had zero keyword coverage for “David Abernathy.” The only results that came up for a “David Abernathy” search were a few natural results for real people named David Abernathy who had nothing to do with the Cars.com campaign. Cars.com was not running any paid search ads on the keyword. Thus, Cars.com effectively missed their chance to capture the huge amount of buzz they created around this character. They started running paid search ads on his name a few days later—and the commercial (posted on video sharing sites) rose in the natural search results—but Cars.com had already missed the massive demand around the promotion launch.
Brands also have to be careful of their competitors attempting to conquest on their promotions. For instance, in 2006, Pontiac ran a Super Bowl commercial encouraging people to Google “Pontiac.” Competitor Mazda caught wind and started bidding aggressively on the “Pontiac” keyword. Mazda built out copy and landing pages comparing Pontiac to Mazda. Thus, Mazda effectively stole Pontiac’s thunder—one-third of the search traffic driven by the ad did not go to Pontiac. This is an example of classic hijack marketing made possible by the Pontiac promotion.
Even though your competitors can buy your brand keywords to steal your thunder, you can protect yourself by (1) making sure you have coverage for those terms and (2) ensuring that your trademark paperwork is on file with Google to limit how competitors can use your name in their ads.