Ok so the 5th of May lift on Google keyword trademarking date is nearly here.

Are you prepared? Are your clients?

Are you going all out aggressively to bid against competitors trademarks?.

Are you going to start bidding against your own brand as protection?.

Perhaps a mixture?. Or are you going to wait and see what your competitors do?

Looks like Tesco have taken the ‘moral high ground’ issuing a statement that they will not be bidding against anyone elses branded terms.

Will this moral high ground mean that they get less competition against their own brand?.

Lets see.

The key thing to remember here is ROI. You can go and bid wildy against any brand you like if you are willing to pay through the nose for it, but with a lack of relevance and ultimate conversion its expenditure you can do without.

Lets not forget, Google has quality based minimum bids, so although you may think your brand is relevant, if your click through rate is not high enough your minimum bids will get very high. Trademarks are still in place for adtext and this is a massive factor in click through rates.

Against core branded keywords advertisers will find CTR will not be high enough to allow bidding against brand unless you are willing to pay extortionate CPC’s. This is because core branded keywords contain a high number of navigational queries with lazy searchers who would rather search for the brand than type the url directly into the browser. These searchers can be blind to anything other than the brand they searched for.

I recently set up a competitors adgroup for a client with these types of competitor terms. The competition was directly related selling the same product and all keywords were on phrase match. However, as expected CTR was simply not high enough to keep them active. Unless Google lower CTR thresholds you will see this –

quality based minimum bids

The Hitwise blog highlights the gap in brand traffic lost between the US and UK (where the US have always been able to bid openly against keywords), so there is brand volume to be had from competitors. It just needs to be taken from longer tail queries and more inteligently than simply bidding against core terms.

Another key thing to remember is the relative nature of Googles bidding platform.

If you are bidding against your competitors brand as the only advertiser against the brand owner, then your CTR will be poor in comparison. Google takes into account all advertisers against that keyword. So if you bid in a pack with 8 other advertisers who will also have relatively poor click through rates then the quality threshold might be a lowered a little allowing for lower minimum bids.

So will the threshold naturally decline over time?