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Are Brand Keywords Valuable For Every Audience? [Case Study]


Are Brand Keywords Valuable For Every Audience? [Case Study]

Hello, my fellow search industry friends.

If you’ve followed me, you know I am a staunch supporter of using branded search keywords (and those New York Jets).

So this column may throw you for a little bit of a loop. We’re talking about using ads to target brand searches – but only from those who don’t know the brand.

Hear me out.

I also thought the concept was illogical and went against industry best practices.

But there is a way to make it work and make it purposeful.

Interestingly, two separate clients in very different verticals approached me with a similar scenario:

  • Client B: “How do we keep a brand presence, but not advertise to consumers who are already going to come to us?”
  • Client N: “We want to see how first-time buyers on our brand name interact with us versus repeat buyers. But we want it as clean and clear as possible. How do we separate prior buyers on the brand name from people searching our name who haven’t bought before?”

Both essentially equate to in-market, brand-aware audiences, driven to look for us by a different form of media.

After I reminded them about the 1+1=3 SEO+SEM incrementality insights, I sat and tried to figure out how these Google Ads would work, what they would look like, and how to determine success.

Two Different Game Plans for Audience Lists

Since the requests were similar but different, we had to come up with a game plan to execute them. This would, in turn, influence the design.

To my surprise, this was actually simpler than expected.

Both clients are heavy users of Google Analytics (something I highly advocate for), making this design fairly effective.

First, I needed audience lists.

We created a list of all site visitors for Client B and made the range 365 days on it.

We used this list for exclusionary purposes, and the Google Similar Audience (i.e., Look a Like) generated would be for observation.

Image from Google Analytics, March 2022

Client N was slightly different. They had window shoppers but never buyers on their website, so we needed a somewhat less aggressive stance.

We created a list of anyone who made a minimum of one purchase on the website and used GA’s max range of 540 days.


We used this list as exclusionary.

This allowed prior visitors to come in still and get deals, providing they hadn’t purchased yet.

540 Day Remarketing List from Google Analytics based on prior purchasesImage from Google Analytics, March 2022

Next, we had to wait.

We informed both clients the initial kick-off would take four to six weeks to allow the audience segments to build some history and be any degree of effectiveness.

We also supplemented these lists with CRM list uploads to bolster the accuracy where possible.

Eventually, we saw site visitors go from targeted to blocked or diverted, based on their behavior with the site.

Pro tip: Have a drawn-out timeline for deployment of anything that involves any first-party data audience lists. This allows the lists to grow and become more useful as time progresses.

How Do We Structure These Campaigns?

This isn’t rocket science (unlike trying to fold a fitted bed sheet).

In fact, there are different ways to do it. But I am for the most concrete separation of it, so I like to splinter things at the campaign level.


Client B is the easier structure – import audiences from GA into Google Ads.

Go into the campaigns and exclude the 365-day all visitor audience.

Boom, set to roll.

If you want to get fancy pants on this, add in the similar audience lists and in-market audiences you’ve vetted as observational.

Want to feel like an industry all-star? Add in a bid modifier.

But yeah, Client B is set.

Client N is slightly more complicated; they want to be visible on brand searches but to separate repeat buyers from non-buyers.

Monitor to track new customer growth, measure some branding efforts, and decide if you need incentives for non-buyers who know our name.


Note that there is a similar setup for non-brand, which already incentivizes new shoppers.

For Client N, we duplicated our brand keyword campaigns.

One for an exclusive audience target of the remarketing list of purchases in the past 540 days (plus a CRM list of confirmed purchases) will be called Repeat.

The other campaign excluded that remarketing list (and the CRM list); this campaign is called NTF (the internal naming acronym is all you need to know about why).

Over time, the 540-day list grows, so the non-buyer deals continue to go to those who have not purchased before.

In Client N, the two campaigns mirror each other in terms of bid keywords, bid strategy (not the most recommended approach), and landing page.

The primary difference between them (besides the audiences who see it) is that the creatives are slightly different.

Are Brand Keywords Valuable For Every Audience? [Case Study]Image from Google Analytics, March 2022

How Do We Determine Campaign Success?

To be honest, “success” in this scenario is a relative term.

Like starting my own small chicken farm in my back yard… in a city. There isn’t a clear but/defined line, but more of an observation of the audience.


For Client B, the concept of success was along the lines of capturing strong market share in our hyper-targeted geography of those who know our brand name but haven’t visited the site before.

Additionally, if we can get our conversions cost-effectively vs. that of all audiences, it would be a success.

Client N was different.

There was no true measurement of success.

There was just an observation of the value of a new customer vs. a repeat and seeing how they perform.

So like I said before, “success” here is relative.

In my eyes, for the record, my small flock chicken farm is successful.

Pro tip: Do not put your face near a chicken; they will bite you. They also do not enjoy wearing costumes. Both of those statements are directly correlated.


The Results:

With Client B, it was quite interesting.

We said, “If you’ve been here before, we aren’t paying for you again!”

We measured the data from all audiences to just new visitors seven weeks before the change vs. seven weeks after the change (three-week differential between the two time frames to deal with holidays).

7 week over 7 week look at performance for Client BImage from Google Analytics, March 2022

Not surprisingly, CPC went up a bit, and CTR went down a bit; these are not end of the world differences.

Our conversion rate took a hit of 19%, and our cost per click (CPC) skyrocketed by 50%.

But when you look at the relative numbers, they aren’t as terrifying.

Given the low CPC of brand terms, our aggregate CPA goal was under $10, which we weren’t concerned about in this scenario.

What is important to note is, if market share is our primary success metric (translated over here as Impression Share), then we were “successful.”

Yes, our traffic dipped a bit (about 44%), but we captured more of the brand-aware, never visited our site audience.


Client N remains different.

Once again, we wanted to understand the difference in behavior between the audiences and make it as clean and clear-cut as possible.

How Client N's First Time vs Repeat Shopper behavior performedImage from Google Analytics, March 2022

The data was clear-cut and insightful.

We finally understood what non-sökmarknadsföring was contributing to brand search demand.

It also showed us that repeat buys have a 7% higher average order value (AOV) and convert again at a conversion rate (CVR) of 220%+ higher than a first-time buyer on a brand term.

This also indicated a need to incentivize first-time buyers on brand terms, because of such a high chance of converting again on brand terms, and for more.

Essentially a repeat brand buyer, at a minimum (because our data is only eight months old), is worth 206% more in sales than a single buyer.

So, What Does This All Mean?

More or less, what you already suspected.

Being present on brand terms remains incredibly important.


But if you ever had to stray away from brand – at the very least, to save a few dollars – do not leave your first-time engagers.

They will get you into your CRM and help you show the value of non-search higher funnel marketing.

Also, chickens do bite.

Fler resurser: 

Featured Image: FOTOSPLASH/Shutterstock

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Google Analytics 4 – More Than SEO [Podcast]


Google Analytics 4 - More Than SEO [Podcast]

In the past few episodes, we’ve discussed the SEO and organic tracking implications of the switch from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4, but how does GA 4 help with paid campaigns, affiliate campaigns, Google Ads, campaign tracking with IDs, etc.?

Krista Seiden of KS Digital and former VP at Quantcast joined me on the SEJ Show to discuss the benefits and advantages of GA 4 for paid campaigns plus other opportunities digital marketers will face with the sunsetting of Google Analytics UA.

One of the misconceptions is that this product just isn’t there yet, and I would push back a little bit and say it’s constantly evolving, and a lot of new things have come out. So take the time to know how to use the tool and understand what’s actually there. –Krista Seiden, 4:55

Don’t expect your data to be precisely the same between UA and GA4. So even things like sessions and user accounts will be different because GA4 calculates these things in different ways than Universal Analytics. –Krista Seiden, 44:41

I do not think that this deadline is going to change. I would suggest taking this one seriously. If you don’t start moving now, you’ll probably not be able to pull your year-over data within GA4. The sooner that you get it implemented, the more historical data you will have in GA4 to be able to compare to. –Krista Seiden, 22:09

[00:00] – About Krista & her in-house background at Google Analytics.
[03:23] – Common misconceptions about GA4.
[05:20] – Is there more customization with GA4?
[07:10] – Hesitations with the transfer.
[08:42] – New feature releases with GA4.
[12:57] – Why build reports with GA4 if you can utilize Google Data Studio?
[16:08] – How is GA4 concerning GDPR?
[19:33] – Differences in transition with GA360 and GA4360.
[24:30] – What to expect with GA4.
[26:18] – Can you define direct traffic better with GA4?
[27:22] – Changes that affect PPC.
[30:53] – Differences between goals and conversions.
[34:15] – Reason why the data retention period is only two months by default in GA4.
[35:18] – Recommendations to get started with GA4.
[41:04] – Does Krista recommend a fallback?

Nämnda resurser:


It’s nice that we now have this ability to actually customize the UI of GA4. So, for example, we can choose what reports to show or not for people in our organizations. –Krista Seiden, 5:44

GA4 is a heck of a lot more privacy-centric than Universal Analytics. –Krista Seiden, 16:41

I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of people waiting until the last minute. So do not wait till the last minute. Like we said, if anything, just go ahead and drop that tag on your site now. –Loren Baker, 49:18

För mer innehåll som detta, prenumerera på vår YouTube-kanal: https://www.youtube.com/user/searchenginejournal

Connect with Krista Seiden:

Krista Seiden is a savvy, experienced analytics leader who has led teams at Adobe and Google. In addition, she has led optimization initiatives for companies such as The Apollo Group and Quantcast. As an analytics and optimization methodology expert, she has become one of the most sought-after consultants in the industry.

Her expertise led her to start KS Digital, an analytics consultancy in 2019, which helps businesses optimize their digital marketing and analytics investments.

In addition to being dedicated and hardworking, she also contributes occasional guest posts to top industry publications such as Google Analytics Blog. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling as much as possible!


Connect with Krista on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristaseiden/
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristaseiden
Visit her website: https://www.kristaseiden.com/

Få kontakt med Loren Baker, grundare av Search Engine Journal:

Följ honom på Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/lorenbaker
Ta kontakt med honom på LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorenbaker

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