You've probably heard about brand protection in paid search, it's the act of bidding on search terms which contain your brand name to protect against competitors stealing brand traffic from your SEO efforts. PPC brand protection isn't going to prevent your opposition bidding on your brand terms and you can report ads which infringe your brand, but if competitors do bid against you, they're going to have to bid more than you for the traffic.
If you own a trademark, you can register it with Google Ads who can then automatically disallow ads which infringe your trademarks and you can find out more about that in this Google Support Community thread.
In theory this is great bidding on your own brand to stop competitors taking your traffic, a proportion of your media budget is assigned to brand protection and it can go a long way as your costs could be low, but a poorly implemented or maintained brand protection approach could actually be costing you money, traffic and sales.
Why Can PPC Brand Protection Go Wrong?
At the weekend I found a mouse had been visiting my garage, so after cleaning out the mess I decided that I needed some mouse traps and naturally the first place I turned to was Google. Here's a screenshot of what I saw in the SERPs when I searched for the term "Screwfix mouse trap".
As I was in my garage, I was on my phone and got a single width set of results with Screwfix returning in the only ad and P1 in organic search. This wasn't private search and as I use Screwfix quite often, it's no surprise that I got them in P1 for organic but even if this wasn't the case there's a strong chance SF would come top.
Long story short I clicked on the PPC ad as I wasn't really concentrating and was presented with a generic category page offering me everything but what I wanted, as a user my needs weren't met as the page wasn't realted to what I needed.
What Can You Do?
The simple answer would be to stop, but as with anything in the digital space, it's rarely that simple. Brand protection in paid search is a great method for reducing CPA, maximising budgets and increasing sales there's no doubt about that and it's been written about many times. As a digital marketer experienced in organic search, we must also be aware of the detremental effects that this can have on SEO campaignsby virtue of reducing CTRs, not only that but we must consider the impact on the people that really matter, the end user.
This is the heart of the issue, think about the user. If you're going to use paid search to protect your brand do it in a way that supports the user. Use relevant ad copy and landing pages so that the user gets what they need from that click, this also has other benefits such as reducing bounce rate and increasing engagements which can help increase quality scores.
Yes this will take time and effort, but surely your potential customers are worth that?