Unbranded Vs. Branded Search, When To Use What Strategy

Whether or not to use an unbranded search strategy remains an ongoing dilemma for marketers, especially for those trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn.

Some data suggests 86% of consumers have remained true to the brands they love despite lockdowns and cuts to supply and demand in the past 30 days, according to CivicScience.

To better understand the relationship and frequency of branded and unbranded search, Uberall analyzed 22 global brands with 48,000 locations and more than 450,000 SMBs.

The data -- collected between August 2018 and August 2019 -- can help brands understand advertising and rebound efforts as they turn on or increase spend. The data will help marketers become smarter post-COVID, so they can be more strategic.

So is it better to be known or found in search queries? Some 90% of consumers in the Uberall study said they are not sure of the brands they want when they begin their search.

Interestingly, the first search is nearly always not a branded search. Uberall gives this example. The first search typically is “coffee near me” or “car insurance,” which are examples of branded searches. Brands that satisfy this type of unbranded query are more likely to follow.

Visibility in local search continues to increase. Branded search grew 136% while unbranded rose 75% during the time of the research. Consumers discover global brands more often — 58% of the time — through unbranded queries, which Uberall says can be highly competitive, versus branded searches at 42%.

The study also found that branded search rates vary considerably by industry. Some 88% of searches in the B2B segment were unbranded, meaning buyers were higher in the funnel and potentially more open to discovery.  

In hospitality and travel, nearly 62% of queries feature a brand term, and these are only two verticals where branded search exceeds unbranded queries.

Uberall attributes this to a high degree of brand familiarity and loyalty among travel searchers. The insurance industry’s share during the study reached 42.3%, services reached 38.8%, and retail reached 35.7%. B2B came in at 11.7%.

The percentage of unbranded search in the SMB market is roughly 81%, compared with 19% of queries that feature a branded term.

1 comment about "Unbranded Vs. Branded Search, When To Use What Strategy".
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  1. Kevin Pike from Rank Fuse Digital Marketing, May 21, 2020 at 9:25 a.m.

    The #1 brand vs. non-brand question is "what is your brand name?" If your brand is also a generic keyword (example: Kansas City Veterinary Clinic) you better bet your bidding on brand name and the competition is gonna be there as well. On the other hand, if your name is not a common keyword your gonna save a lot of money, regardless if you bid on it, or not.

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