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The Great Debate: Branded Keywords in Local Advertising

Sebastian Vergara

Image by macrovector on Freepik

When it comes to local advertising strategies, one topic often stirs up controversy: the use of branded keywords. Franchisees, in particular, have had their fair share of disappointments in the past. Local agencies, eager to boost vanity metrics like click-through rates (CTR) or online conversions attributed to search ads, have been known to game the system. They bid on branded keywords, leaving franchisees rightfully skeptical. After all, why should they pay for someone who is already searching for their business?


However, before we dismiss branded keywords as a wasteful endeavor, let's consider their potential benefits. Branded keywords play a critical role in a holistic local strategy that leverages full-funnel channels and tactics to drive awareness and capture intent simultaneously. While the ultimate goal may not always be an immediate conversion, the aim is to generate more sales that would not have occurred without raising awareness in the first place. When it comes down to it, sales are the only metric that truly matters.

Let's face it: people don't typically wake up in the morning and search for your store's name out of the blue. Unless, of course, your business name happens to be a generic term like "affordable movers." In that case, bidding on branded keywords would be an expensive and unwise choice. However, for the majority of businesses, a good local strategy that covers the full buyer journey relies on branded keywords.

The number one goal of driving sales is to make new consumers aware of your brand or products, so they actively search for YOUR brand's name. This is where branded keywords become indispensable. As part of a holistic strategy, they are critical for capturing the intent that your marketing efforts have generated. Without securing your branded keywords, competitors could swoop in and steal potential customers who were initially exposed to your brand through your awareness marketing dollars.

Imagine this scenario: you invest time, money, and creative energy into capturing consumer attention through various marketing channels. Your compelling social media campaigns, captivating TV commercials, and engaging print advertisements successfully build awareness. However, when consumers are finally ready to act on their intent and search for your brand, they are confronted with your competitors' ads instead. Ouch! Not only have you lost a potential sale, but your competitors have reaped the rewards of your hard work.

This is precisely why branded keywords are essential. They act as a protective shield around your brand, ensuring that your hard-earned awareness converts into actual sales. By bidding on your own brand's keywords, you can intercept those potential customers who are actively seeking your business. You secure their attention, redirect them to your website, and guide them through the sales funnel, where they are more likely to make a purchase.

Of course, it's important to strike a balance. Branded keywords should be just one piece of a comprehensive local advertising strategy. Other elements, such as non-branded keywords, display ads, social media campaigns, and influencer partnerships, all play their part in driving awareness, generating interest, and ultimately converting leads into sales.

So, before you dismiss branded keywords as an unnecessary expense, consider their role in capturing intent and preventing competitors from poaching your customers. When implemented strategically within a holistic local strategy, branded keywords can be a powerful tool for driving sales and ensuring the success of your franchise.

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