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Brand and Non-Brand Search Measures – Understanding the Difference

By Aron Allen
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Search expert Jennifer Johnstone revealed how search can be measured more accurately and the difference between measuring branded and non-branded search efforts. While it is important to have a robust measuring scheme in place, the numbers will not make sense if brand and non-brand search terms are analyzed separately. Measures like Cost Per Acquisition or Cost Per Action (CPA), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), Value Per Action (VPA), Cost Per Impression (CPI) and Click-Through Rate (CTR) are superficial if additional diagnostics are not used.

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Branded and non-branded search terms have different behaviors. Even Google introduced a feature, last year, which differentiates brand and non-brand, paid and generic search terms. Once the distinction is made, brand search terms are identified as paid search effort and analytics will make assumptions based on that terms’ CTR, domain name or text string. The non-brand search terms are identified as generic paid search effort. If your brand search efforts are giving you poor results then you can focus your non-brand search terms of that keywords. For example, if your brand search is giving weaker results for ‘black lycra leggings’ then you can focus on it through your non-branded search.

If managed effectively, brand searches have a high return on ad spend or ROAS as the user is aware of your brand and closer to make a decision. In comparison, non-branded searches are users who are not aware of your brand and represent less inclined users. But when your ads show up for generic terms, your brand awareness is created. Once you have analyzed both these search terms separately, you can further optimize the non-brand search terms on the basis of various factors. These factors typically are the location, age group, gender, time and duration of the users. This will make your ads reach a targeted set of users who, most likely, are closer to conversion.



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