Brand bidding refers to a marketing strategy where businesses bid on keywords or phrases that incorporate a competitor’s brand name. It is a controversial tactic used in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to gain visibility and divert traffic from competitors. By targeting these keywords, businesses aim to capitalize on the brand recognition and popularity of their rivals. Despite its effectiveness in driving traffic and potentially increasing sales, brand bidding can lead to legal issues and conflicts between competitors. Many companies have strict policies against brand bidding, considering it unethical and unfair. However, others argue that it is a legitimate marketing strategy that allows businesses to showcase their offerings to an audience actively searching for a competitor’s brand. To successfully execute brand bidding, businesses need to employ careful keyword targeting and create compelling ad copy that entices users to click. It is crucial to strike a balance between attracting potential customers and avoiding legal repercussions. Additionally, monitoring and optimizing bids regularly is essential to maximize the effectiveness and ROI of brand bidding campaigns. With Spark Digital Group’s digital marketing services, businesses can unlock the potential of brand bidding and boost their performance in the competitive online landscape.


Table of Contents

  • What is Brand Bidding?
  • Brand vs Trademark Bidding
  • How to do Trademark Bidding?
  • Is Brand Bidding Legal?
  • What is Brand Bidding in Affiliate Marketing?


What is Brand Bidding?

Commonly referred to as PPC brand bidding, is a tactic within the SEM playbook. It involves bidding on branded terms or keywords owned by a third party, often a competitor. The primary objective? Ensuring that your ads prominently feature when users search for those specific brand names. This strategic maneuver is designed to divert web traffic away from the competitor’s website and towards your own.

Brand vs Trademark Bidding

Brand bidding is a common practice in online marketing, but it often comes with a choice of nomenclature: brand bidding or trademark bidding, sometimes abbreviated as TM bidding. In essence, there is no substantial difference between these terms. Both encapsulate the practice of bidding on specific brand or trademark keywords within advertising campaigns. These keywords are directly related to a particular brand or company, and by targeting them, advertisers aim to secure visibility for these terms on search engine results pages. Whether you prefer the term “brand bidding”, “trademark bidding” or “TM Bidding”, the core strategy remains the same, allowing advertisers to gain a competitive edge by harnessing the strength of their brand in the digital landscape.

How to do Trademark Bidding?

This strategy operates within the broader context of keyword advertising but is often met with mixed opinions, especially when it involves the brand or trademark names of third parties. A classic scenario is when Company X strategically bids on the brand name of its competitor, Company Y. Consequently, when users search for Company Y’s brand name, Company X’s ads appear prominently in the search engine results, creating an opportunity to redirect visitors from Company X to Company Y.

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that PPC brand bidding can also increase the cost of bids for search engine marketing. With increased competition for specific keywords, the cost of ads related to those keywords escalates. In this competitive landscape, companies may find it necessary to bid on their own brand to secure their digital territory. This approach not only drives up costs but also channels more traffic to their website. For smaller enterprises, this presents opportunities to harness high-value traffic streams using specific keywords and long-tail combinations.Brand Bidding

Is Brand Bidding Legal?

The legal implications are a critical factor to consider. While the European Court hasn’t imposed an outright ban on the practice, it has set stringent limitations. Advertisers must adhere to these boundaries when using brand bidding to boost web traffic.

Adherence to these legal boundaries is essential. The ad must be clearly distinguishable from the original company the user was initially searching for. This clarity extends to the ad’s landing page and URLs, ensuring no ambiguity regarding the source.

Moreover, the brand name that was bid on should not appear within the ad copy itself. It’s permissible only in the ad headline and must be distinctly separated from the ad copy. The focus here is on ensuring users can differentiate between the advertising company and the company they initially sought.


What is Brand Bidding in Affiliate Marketing?

Brand bidding in affiliate marketing refers to the practice of bidding on a competitor’s brand name or trademarked terms in search engine marketing campaigns. This strategy allows affiliates to target users who are actively searching for a specific brand or product, with the aim of redirecting them to their own website or affiliate links. One must-know aspect of brand bidding is that it can be a highly effective way to boost performance and drive traffic to affiliate websites. By leveraging the established brand recognition of competitors, affiliates can tap into a pre-existing pool of potential customers who are already interested in a particular product or service. However, it is important to note that brand bidding can be a controversial tactic, as it often involves bidding on trademarked terms that are owned by other companies. Some brands may view this as unethical or an infringement of their intellectual property rights. Therefore, affiliates should carefully consider the potential legal implications and ethical considerations before engaging in brand bidding. Another key factor to consider is the competition and cost associated with brand bidding. Due to the popularity and profitability of certain brand terms, the cost per click (CPC) for these keywords can be quite high. Affiliates need to weigh the potential return on investment against the bidding costs to determine if brand bidding is a viable strategy for their affiliate marketing campaigns.

The prudent use of brand bidding in affiliate marketing can provide a competitive edge, but only when approached with a comprehensive understanding of both its advantages and potential pitfalls.

Brand Bidding via SEM

Unlock the potential of Search Engine Marketing with powerful brand bidding tips and Spark Digital Group’s digital marketing services. Brand bidding via SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, is a strategy that allows businesses to bid on their own brand keywords in search engine advertising auctions. This means that when potential customers search for your brand name or related terms, your ads will appear prominently in the search results. Here are 3 must-knows to boost performance with brand bidding via SEM: 1. Protect your brand reputation: Brand bidding via SEM ensures that your brand message is displayed in the top positions of the search results. This helps to prevent competitors from bidding on your brand keywords and potentially stealing your customers. By owning the top positions, you can control the messaging and drive more qualified traffic to your website. 2. Increase brand visibility: By bidding on your brand keywords, you can increase your brand’s visibility in search engine results. Even if you already rank highly organically, having paid ads in addition to your organic listings can give your brand more exposure and dominate the search results page. 3. Drive targeted traffic: Brand bidding allows you to target specific keywords that are most relevant to your brand. This means that the traffic you receive from these ads is highly targeted and more likely to convert into leads or sales.

SEM Brand Bidding not only drives more traffic to websites but also creates brand awareness and increases the chances of conversions. With the help of Spark Digital Group’s digital marketing services, businesses can unlock the full potential of brand bidding via SEM and achieve their marketing goals effectively.


Spark Digital Group – Search Engine Marketing Experts

Want to explore more SEM strategies and insights? Check out our comprehensive blog on SEM techniques. For an overview of the digital marketing services offered by Spark Digital Group, visit our Digital Marketing Services page.

Enhance your SEM game and ignite your brand’s online success with Spark Digital Group. Contact us today to discover how our experts can optimize your SEM strategies for remarkable results.

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Meet Adam Schwind, Founder of Spark Digital Group, an MBA graduate of Hult International Business School, and a Michigan State University alumnus. His diverse marketing industry exposure, including Life Sciences, Healthcare, Law, Real Estate, Finance, Tourism/Hospitality and Venture Capital. This experience inspired the creation of Spark Digital Group, a Full-Service Digital Marketing Consultancy in Charleston, South Carolina.