Competitor using our company name for their Ads. How to address?
We have noticed that when someone does a Google search for our company name, there are now ads using our company name that are linking to their website. I'm not surprised they are doing this, as they're known to be pretty sleazy to deal with.
The problem is reporting them for trademark infringement won't work since our company name cannot be trademarked as it is two generic words (e.g. "General Electric" is not trademarked vs "GE" is).
What are my options?
Are they Google ads? If so maybe contact google. Or start your own Google ad campaign with only one keyword, i.e. your company name?
It's perfectly fine to bid on competitors keywords within Google Ads (they changed that policy some years ago). You can't use trademarks within the ads themselves, unless they're your own trademark or you have permission to do so provided to Google (they have a process for submitting such).
So I can bid on the keyword "Nike" and have my ads for Reeboks come up in Google Ads, but I can't then in the ads say "Reeboks are better than Nike", unless I have Nike's permission to use their trademark in the ad copy.
This is a very common situation in Pay Per Click (PPC). Your only option is to outbid them (it will be cheaper for you as the brand than for them).
Google makes a ton of moola from this, so they won't care.
Yup. They used to not allow it, then they realized they could make a lot of money.
General Electric is most certainly trademarked. You can trademark "generic" words. Apple has a trademark for instance.
Top comment because its 100% true.
You're in a bidding war, OP.
If you want to hit them where it hurts – and you can afford it – just start bidding on their shit.
I can tell from experience that these competitor ads often do not work and result in little to no business. If someone's Googles your company they have already made up their mind that they want to learn more about your business and/or services. Hence competitor ads are expensive, have a low click rate, high bounce rate and most importantly generally do not result in or little business. Also, because of the previously mentioned low Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s, the quality score of such ads are very low and therefore your competitors need to spend a lot of money to get a click in comparison to you running ads for your own business. So if you want to act I recommend set up a campaign for your own brand to increase cost of your competitors campaign to a point it is not profitable for them to run it
All depends. Often they do work. And it can't hurt in most cases.
They're only paying for actual clicks to that drive to their site. So even if they have a low Click Through Rate (CTR), that doesn't matter. Still means they're showing up when people are searching for their competitor. They're busting into their competitors Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and taking some of their real estate.
Additionally, while it may not result in a conversion right then, it gets your name out there and people may think of it in the future when thinking of your competitor.
The reality is, if it didn't work, we wouldn't see big brands doing it. And yet, they do. They wouldn't throw the money away if it was a waste. You just have to consider how someone searching for a competitor may need a different experience than other searches. It makes sense to change up the landing page to something that may address the advantages of your product over the competitor and even acknowledge them, where normally you wouldn't mention a competitor on a landing page.
See it depends on your budget. If you have a massive unlimited budget and you are looking for the last conversion then yes do it. Most companies have limited budget and given these type of campaigns are not the most profitable ones they wouldn't be my first choice.
That really goes for anything. If you have the money to do it, do it but if you don't pick and choose where to invest it. There are lots of types of digital marketing that aren't generally worth the investment but if you have nearly unlimited funds they can be part of your investment.
Based on what you've said, there isn't much you can do. It is possible that they are showing for that term because of the match type settings though, so you could look at the ad and see if it is a blatant attempt to take your business or if it could be accidental. If the ad text seems irrelevant, I'm sure they'd be grateful for you to tell them they need to add some negative keywords, particularly if they are rinsing their budget 😬
I make a separate campaign for my brand name with a really low budget. It's your exact name linking to (hopefully) a domin with the exact same name, a website with the same title, etc. You'll pay pennies for clicks. The only way that competitor strategy "works" (and even that is questionable) is if you don't have ads with your name in them.
It's part of the game. Expect it and have some budget for a brand name campaign. It's also possible they're using a dynamic ad set and not even intending to, but you'd know better about your competition.
I had a competitor doing this. I phoned them and spoke to my digital marketing opposite and said let's not advertise on each others brand.
They didn't actually realise they were dying it as they had just outsourced it to an agency.
Sometimes just a call can sort these things out.
We've also done this as we had the same agency, we had a gentlemen's agreement not to buy each others terms and it seems to have stuck
Lots of businesses run branded keyword campaigns using their own name and products and those of competitors.
Make sure you rank number 1 organically for your business name and all common variations. And branded products and services.
And be sure that you've optimized for rich results / SERP features, for your business name and products and services.
I wondered why big brands are running ads on their own brand name. Now this answers my question. So the try to not loose the brand name on campaign and also making the keywords budget expensive..
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