Branded search is a somewhat polarizing part of paid search.
While branded searches tend to signal stronger levels of intent than the average unbranded search, there is still something inherently frustrating about it as a marketer. Why am I spending money to attract a searcher who has already demonstrated an interest in my brand? Why do I have to deal with competitors driving up the bid on terms I should already automatically 'own?'
This is especially poignant since Google pivoted to a first-price auction a few years ago, where the cost is determined by the winning bid, not the second-place bid. As a result, many advertisers have experienced increased costs-per-click. This adds an extra layer of urgency to assessing our approach to paid search and branded search.
As it turns out, though, Yext Answers makes our branded search dilemma a bit easier.
How We Did It
In an analysis of Yext branded search, we found that we 'won back' 33% of branded searches from Google since implementing Yext Answers on our own site in October 2019.
What do I mean by 'won back?' By answering more user questions on our site, we were able to avoid some of the costs we would have otherwise incurred had those questions been asked and answered via Google instead.
Before Yext Answers, we saw an average of 44,531* total branded impressions per month on Google, which includes any search/query containing the term 'yext'.
After implementing Yext Answers on our site, we saw an average of 29,989** total branded impressions per month on Google – a 33% decrease period-over-period – which means we were able to save on branded search costs. When we factor in queries on our site through Yext Answers, though, the result is a 30% savings in monthly paid search spendanda 61% increase in overall engagement across both mediums of search.
Excluding Navigational Queries
This holds true when excluding 'navigational' queries that are just 'yext' from the analysis (since the long-tail searches that include Yext ie 'does Yext help with SEO?' are the more valuable queries we want to focus on). Before Yext Answers, we received an average of 10,358*** non-navigational branded impressions per month on Google. After implementing Yext Answers, we saw an average of 6,930**** non-navigational branded impressions per month on Google. This is significant because rather than performing multiple searches about us in Google (costing us more money), people are asking their long-tail, follow-up questions on our site, where we give them the clear answers they were looking for.
Through Higher Quality Scores:
Let's say the searcher still uses Google to explore his/her question. Even so, because Yext Answers will inherently improve the 'relevance' of the webpage to answer the question at hand, Google will likely reward this when assessing the ad's Quality Score. Higher QSs result in a lower cost-per-click, allowing you to stretch your paid search budget even further.
With Improved SEO:
Yext Answers also helps with SEO by allowing us to achieve a stronger organic ranking for specific branded queries. So even if a searcher continues to look for their answer on Google, Yext Answers still increases the possibility that an organic result – not a paid one – receives the click. The potential cost savings here can be reallocated to more competitive, unbranded searches.
Answers, Not Just Ads
Most customer journeys include a search, and there are two primary places this occurs: 1) on Google or similar search engines, and 2) on your company's website. When you create an optimal search experience on your own site, you minimize the need to pony up for branded search clicks in Google, and position yourself to earn more traffic and business in the process.
* Google Ads 'Search Terms' report, search term contains 'yext', January 2019 – September 2019
** Google Ads, 'Search Terms' report, search term contains 'yext', November 2019 – November 2021
Note: Branded search efforts in Google Ads were paused from January 2021 – March 2021; these months were not considered in calculating average monthly branded impressions for the time period November 2019 – November 2021.
***Google Ads 'Search Terms' report, search term contains 'yext', January 2019 – September 2019
**** Google Ads, 'Search Terms' report, search term contains 'yext', November 2019 – November 2021
Note: Branded search efforts in Google Ads were paused from January 2021 – March 2021; these months were not considered in calculating average monthly branded impressions for the time period November 2019 – November 202
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