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Old 04-18-2006   #1
dannysullivan
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What Percentage Of Brand Name Traffic Should Brand Names Get?

Study: 15% of Brand Searches Stray from Company's Site from ClickZ summarized a new Hitwise study showing that not everyone who searches on a brand name ends up at the official brand name web site. I had to chuckled a bit that ClickZ said "only 85 percent" do. I thought that was a pretty high percentage.

For example, if I search for McDonald's, lots of people want the McDonald's site. But some people might be researching the company; some might be looking for an anti-McDonald's site and so on.

If I search for a particular product, like a new Toshiba TV model I've recently been looking at, there's an excellent chance I will not go to the official Toshiba site if I've already researched the TV in other ways and just want to buy it. The percentage going to Toshiba on a product name there might be naturally a lot smaller.

What do people thing? Is 85 percent pretty good? Should a brand expect to get in the high 90 percent of all traffic?
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Old 04-18-2006   #2
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I can't imagine any term would get 85-90% CTR, regardless of how relevant it is.
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Old 04-18-2006   #3
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My adwords groups on competitors names have the highest CTR in my account. Sometimes I'll see 50% on them.

I think with brandnames a lot of average surfers click blindly at the top of the page, so it all depends on how convincing the first sponsoreds look.
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Old 04-18-2006   #4
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It depends tremendously on whether the brands products are delivered directly to the public or through retailers or other intermediaries. Direct advertisers should see very high CTRs. Indirect advertisers could see a wide range of CTRs depending on the degree to which the product was purchased over the internet.
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Old 04-19-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannysullivan
What do people thing? Is 85 percent pretty good? Should a brand expect to get in the high 90 percent of all traffic?
If someone is performing an exact search on a brand term I would assume a very high percentage due to the qualified nature of the search, but this will vary with brand awareness, the brand's natural & paid search prominence, as well as the brand term itself.

For example, our brands have excellent online brand awareness, are positioned at no.1 for natural search and we get around ~85% of all searches, paid + natural for the exact brand term. This % is even higher if you can disallow competitors from mentioning your trademarked brand in their sponsored listings. Naturally, if you are below the fold or not on the first page, you aren't going to be getting a high % of clicks, no matter what your brand awareness is.

Then there is the term itself. For example with the brand term "Hoover" searchers might genuinely be (synonymously) looking for a vacuum, or Hoover's the financial firm rather than Hoover the vacuum maker.
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Old 04-19-2006   #6
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I think the percentage should be as high as 95%. It would also be a good idea for Google to not allow bidding on brand names from competitor sites.
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Old 04-19-2006   #7
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85% seems a bit high. In the case of Expedia, (from the article) people typing in expedia are A. Looking for their site, and B. they are #1, #2, #3, and #4 in the G SERPS, so it is almost impossible not to go to their site if you search that brand name.

However, in many other cases, such as the examples Danny shared, they are probably looking for other sites, and the percentage is going to be much lower. I wonder how big the sample size was for this study.
Our best CTR and conversion for that matter comes off of brand name searches, in a manner similar to the Toshiba example shared by Danny.
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Old 04-19-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperZu
I think the percentage should be as high as 95%. It would also be a good idea for Google to not allow bidding on brand names from competitor sites.
According to the Geico case, which I agree with, it is not Google's responsibility, it is the individual advertiser. Further, I don't think we should ever get into the realm of limiting what and how people can talk about a company and its brands. As long as you are not trying to trick people that you are in fact the brand they are looking for. Fair use should not preclude you from using their brands in your advertising. Coke and Pepsi use each others trademarked stuff all the time.
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Old 04-19-2006   #9
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I agree, but in a lot of cases it is competitors posting as the brand name owners and users might actually think they will be taken to the official brand web site.
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Old 04-19-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperZu
I agree, but in a lot of cases it is competitors posting as the brand name owners and users might actually think they will be taken to the official brand web site.
Then the owner of said brand needs to take action to protect their property. It's not up to Google to police that.

Think of the Hoover example mentioned above. How would you want Google to handle "allowing" that keyword?
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Old 04-19-2006   #11
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In that case Google should also allow very common words like "last minute" to be used in an add. It now blocks the word for being a trademark while to the best of my knowledge it is also a fairly common word in the English language. There are lots of cases in which you would naturally use this word without any intention of "robbing" someone from their brand. The only thing I'm saying is fot Google to be consistent.
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Old 04-19-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperZu
In that case Google should also allow very common words like "last minute" to be used in an add. It now blocks the word for being a trademark while to the best of my knowledge it is also a fairly common word in the English language. There are lots of cases in which you would naturally use this word without any intention of "robbing" someone from their brand. The only thing I'm saying is fot Google to be consistent.
Why make it so complicated? It is simpler and more appropriatly placed to leave it up to the trademark owner to protect their trademark by taking action against the offenders directly.

Half the words in the English dictionary are probably trademarked in one form or another.
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Old 04-19-2006   #13
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You'reprobably right, I give up . My company who has trademarked a fantasy name has had to deal with a lot of this kind of thing so it's my frustration talking! Sounds like I have to contact the compay lawyers once again
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Old 04-20-2006   #14
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I thikn they should be damned happy at hitting "85%". The turth is, when i search for things online, like most folks, I want THE ITEM. I could give a rat's booty about the manufacturer - I know who you are, I don't need your company history or design philosophy to purchase that new toaster.

I do, however, want the best price, lowest shipping rate and best return policy going.

If anything, I'd say that in some cases, brandname searches should NOT go to the brand-holder's sites. if folks want products and you make, but don't sell direct to consumers, for example, stand aside.
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Old 04-20-2006   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportsguy
If anything, I'd say that in some cases, brandname searches should NOT go to the brand-holder's sites. if folks want products and you make, but don't sell direct to consumers, for example, stand aside.
I'm almost off topic, but I agree completely--searching for information and shopping are two different kinds of searches, and its not always easy to get one or the other.
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Old 04-21-2006   #16
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I agree when it comes to shopping, but what if your barnd name is a shopping site itself? Then somebody else using your brand name is definitely trying to get traffic off of your good reputation. In this case, the use of competitor sites of your brand name is definitely misleading.
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Old 04-21-2006   #17
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Someone should mention of course for completeness that we should only be dealing with brand names that have uniqueness. Make sure that brand name doesn't have other usages that people might be searching for.

I wouldn't mention this, but you see the craziest things. Let's not forget that PwC (PricewaterhouseCooper) tried to trademark Monday as the name of their consulting company when trying to distance themselves from their accounting parent. Luckily that nonsense was buried when PwC was bought up by IBM.
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Old 04-21-2006   #18
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No, I don't think that a brand should either
a) expect to get 85-90% of CTR, or
b) expect its keywords to be excluded to others.

If people are using search simply because they don't know the URL and are wanting to find a brand's homepage, then they will in nearly all cases find it, The URLs are listed in results and the brand's domain is often placed top.

What is the rest of the page supposed to contain though? White space?

People are obviously happy to click on alternatives. After all, search is for giving people access to a range of the web's relevant information. That's why there are 10-20 results (inc ppc) each page. Users themselves are pretty good at sniffing out relevance. Where the protection for brands should come in, is in the area of ad copy -- i.e. to prevent passing off (in SuperZu's example.) This is how press / TV / other advertising is regulated.

I think if a brand is getting over 50% of clickthrough it is doing well. From what I've seen, users searching by brand name is a sign of increased purchase intent but not necessarily exclusive focus on that brand -- it's often that they're gathering details in the final stages of purchase research.

As a result I'm sure weaker and stronger brands all benefit from being found on each others' keyword searches.
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Old 04-22-2006   #19
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Surprise: in the living world of words, people are searching for another meaning of a word even when it's a "brand."

Coke - several meanings
Target - quite a few meanings
Avis - means "warning" or "counsel" in French
Burger King - not too many meanings

85% seems high to me, but certainly for many of these it's hard to imagine that a user would be searching for anything but the official corporate site... unless.... there was a big news story that day and rather than go to the news search engine they knew they could type the company name into a toolbar search box, then click the "news tab" to get the smart cluster of most recent news items on that day's hottest story...

The web ain't all about your official website, corporate America.
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Old 04-22-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperZu
In that case Google should also allow very common words like "last minute" to be used in an add. It now blocks the word for being a trademark while to the best of my knowledge it is also a fairly common word in the English language. There are lots of cases in which you would naturally use this word without any intention of "robbing" someone from their brand. The only thing I'm saying is fot Google to be consistent.
You simply apply for an exception to get past the automated challenge to your ad copy. Usually you'll get the exception granted unless it's a clear violation of trademark law.

I've seen words like "explorer" and "enterprise" (obviously related to Microsoft and a rental car company holding trademarks on these words) banned from my ad copy. Obviously, that's ridiculous, but you just challenge it in the box provided and Google won't usually hold you up after they review. Unless of course you are a direct competitor, i.e. in browsers, desktop search, or rental cars, in these examples. Or travel in the "last minute" example.

Last edited by andrewgoodman : 04-22-2006 at 12:53 AM.
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