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Competition Forces Retailers to Rethink the Role of Branded, Non-Branded & Trademark Traffic

Chris Corrado

When it comes to Google Ads, most retail marketers are interested in a single KPI – return on ad spend. To increase ROAS, some marketers devote the majority of their ad spend to high-converting, branded traffic. While a focus on efficiency still serves retail marketers well today, it’s more difficult to improve ROAS than ever. That is because investing primarily in low-funnel, branded traffic limits reach to the shoppers who already know your brand. This customer pool is both finite and shrinking.

Google Ads is also saturated with competition and constantly changing. Players including Amazon and Walmart are buying up the SERP and often outbid other retailers on their most lucrative keywords and products. Dwindling real estate for organic ads creates additional pressure to spend more to remain competitive.

To combat these challenges, retail marketers must adopt a more holistic approach to Google Ads. It’s important to understand how to acquire new customers and continue to retain existing ones by targeting diverse traffic types.

In this article, we’ll outline how reevaluating your keyword traffic can help you achieve unique goals for your business, including new customer acquisition and retention. Read on for tactics to keep costs in check and maximize the value of your trademark, branded, and non-branded campaigns on Google Ads.

An Integrated View of Google Ads Traffic

First, understanding the full customer journey on Google Ads means understanding the unique value of different keyword traffic. Naturally, keywords indicate purchase intent—which is why it’s important to create campaigns that target branded, non-branded, and trademark keywords, and to bid each keyword type according to its value for your business.

While there are exceptions, low-funnel shoppers tend to search using branded keywords. They know what type of product they want and are closer to making a purchase. Upper funnel shoppers tend to use generic, non-branded keywords because they are still researching what they’d like to buy. Shoppers who use trademark keywords are often returning customers.