Keyword hijacking on Google Ads and Bing Ads search platforms isn’t new, but finding a simple way to protect branded keywords has been a complex and time-consuming process for marketers.
About 98% of advertisers adopt some sort of brand bidding search strategy, but at risk are those brand clicks coming down the funnel from offline and television, which are twice as likely to convert. “These are very valuable,” Fletcher said, adding that Google is doing what it can to keep the auction fair.
Search contributed 46.1% to the total spend
during the first half of 2018, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
Mobile search, which the IAB estimates accounted for 59% of total search revenue in the first half of 2018, rose 38% to $13.5 billion during that time, with desktop search remaining flat at $9.3 billion.
As search budgets rise, so do the number of brand keywords. On average, Adthena’s platform identified about 6,000 brand-related keywords in 2018.
The technology -- dubbed Brand Protection Solution, built on artificial intelligence -- has a variety of purposes. For example, it can analyze a brand's domain to determine the number of branded keywords the brand uses. It feeds that information to Google to better understand where and how the brand “is under attack.”
And it’s the longtail keywords like “Macy’s Levis 501 jeans” that are more frequently infringed on, he said. Marketers do not typically monitor longtail phrases.
Adthena identified 33 billion brand-related ads in search in 2018. Bidding on a brand’s keywords can drive up the price. It also confuses customers who are served irrelevant search ads, creates waste, cannibalizes sales, and hurts the value of the brand.
“Marketers lose about 14% of clicks at every stage of the funnel, from research to comparison, transactions, and experience,” he said, explaining how brands conducting searches are continually under attack.
Brands receive alerts when the platform identifies the keywords being used or lost market share in a segment. If a new set of keywords takes traffic from the brand’s website, the platform will estimate the effect on return on ad spend (ROAS).
Fletcher said the AI technology typically increases brand clicks by about 9%. The company also is looking to expand this capability for Amazon.