A few weeks ago on Twitter an interesting concept came up: bidding on competitor keywords. The context was Ikon vs Epic where Stuart from Storm Skiing Journal had noticed that Ikon was bidding on Epic’s name.
As the conversation went along, I mentioned something that was not on the radar of a few resort marketers I’ve since talked to:
With how commonplace it has become for brands to bid on their own name and keywords, I'm honestly surprised Vail's not doing the same with something as specific as that.
— Gregg Blanchard (@slopefillers) March 18, 2021
Interestingly, Vail has since started to bid on their own keywords (although, Ikon is still in #1 ad slot at least in my results),
So, should your resort do the same?
More than likely, the answer is “No”, but like most marketing tactics this is a tool so let’s at least look at three of the primary benefits.
Benefit #1: More Control
While you can have a little control how your search listing will appear in organic search, you get a lot of control with ads. This is also true of the URL folks get pointed to and the sitelinks that show up below your listing. How I rank for Inntopia is a good example. Some of these sitelinks are what I want, but others aren’t (I’d prefer to highlight our products). An ad would give me that control.
Benefit #2: Avoid Competitors Snagging It
If you have an aggressive competitor bidding on your name (there is legal and permitted by Google, by the way), bidding on your own name is a way to keep yourself in the #1 spot. This is going to be very rare for resorts and Epic vs Ikon is likely one of only a small handful of situations where this exists.
Benefit #3: Double Dose of You
You likely don’t have competitors on paid search, but you certainly do on organic search. Whether it’s a ski resort directory or a weather page or whatever, lots of folks want to rank well for your brand name. And while you’re likely #1, they might be #2-#10. Putting an ad with a bunch of sitelinks above your organic result makes you #1 and #2 and pushes down the competitors and, thus, the likelihood they’ll click on one of their links instead of yours.
Yes, then? Or still no?
The cost of these clicks usually isn’t as high as you think because your quality score will be so good (ie, you’re giving folks exactly what they’re looking for so all the metrics on your ad will be amazing), so does that mean I’m trying to make a case for this?
No. Again, this is a tool. Some resorts will see those benefits and go, “Hey, that would help us a ton” and other will say “meh”.
There’s no right or wrong on this one. It’s simply one of those tactics to keep in mind as you go about your marketing days.
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