Does Brand Awareness Affect PPC Results?

Nathan Pabich

By Nathan Pabich

Short Answer: Yes.

Around the holidays we’re bombarded with even more advertisements than usual and it seems like the advertising is still becoming ever more ubiquitous as web use becomes more pervasive. This holiday season got me thinking about some of the crazy PPC ads (Looking for X? Buy X here!) that I saw from late November into December, and how this sort of advertising is related to branding.

Brand awareness may be the biggest marketing advantage in business. Having worked with many clients who have built up their brand awareness the evidence is always in their analytics accounts. Once a brand breaks into popular culture – that is, once the brand has become a household name – there will be a much higher rate of direct traffic, and a large portion of search engine traffic that comes from people typing in a keyword like “Target” or even (and surprisingly not all that rarely) “www.target.com” into a Google, Bing or Yahoo search engine rather than directly into their browser.

So, how does this brand awareness relate to PPC?

Well, one of the main factors that plays into PPC advertising in Google AdWords is the rather infamous Quality Score. Quality score, the measure of an ad’s relevance according to Google algorithms, directly impacts in which position each PPC ad is displayed in search results (ad Rank is never just about paying more currency). Thus, this score can be the difference between a profitable campaign and negative ROI. Which is all the more reason to increase your AdWords quality score because one of the main factors Google takes into account to determine quality score is click through rate (CTR).

The connection between quality score (which directly affects a PPC ad’s ad rank in search results) and brand awareness is this: I would venture to guess that, for any given search query, people are more likely to click on something they are familiar with (ad retargeting, anyone?). In a semi-anonymous environment like the internet, branding gives a company like Target a clear advantage over something like “www.MaAndPa.com” – did you even know they offered your favorite pattern of duvet? Of course ad position will also have barring on the CTR of any given ad, but there should be no denying the power of brand. If effective branding does give an additional advantage in PPC, then the bar to entry is raised in the online advertising game giving more advantage to those companies that have found success in building brand awareness.

Now, not that you needed (or even wanted) more motivation, go build that brand! Your paid search efforts will thank you.