Is a competitor bidding on my brand in Google Ads? There probably aren’t too many things more annoying than your competitor sneakily snatching up your business’ brand in order to effectively gain business. It’s a tactic that shouldn’t be legal but unfortunately is as Google has said that you can not lay claim to keywords even if you’ve trademarked them. Their exact words were:
“Google won’t investigate or restrict the selection of trademarks as keywords, even if we receive a trademark complaint.”
I assume if you’re one this article then you may have an idea how they do this but for those that don’t, I’ll explain.
Let’s say that your brand is on the up and up, you’re getting a decent flow of traffic, repeat customers, glowing reviews, and ratings. Then all of a sudden things start to slow. You decide to take the initiative by playing detective and you discover that one of your competitors has decided to take your brand name and use it as a keyword. This is an effective way to gain higher conversions at a fraction of the price. The more established and credulous your brand is, the grander the outcome for them unless you take preventative measures to stop them.
Competitor Bidding on My Brand in Google Ads
Can you stop a competitor bidding on your brand?
How can you stop Google Ads using competitors’ names…or better yet, your competitor using your brand name in Google Ads, you ask?
Well, first we need to assess the damages, if they’re ambushing your PPC then it’s safe to assume it’s not just on Google. You see, Google has partners with those that use Google Ads, an example would be the well-known Amazon site and Google isn’t so forthcoming with just who all their partners are. If you’re serious about damage control then you need to research the list and go through as many of them as possible. Determination is key.
Trademarking your name
Now, this tip has to do with something I touched briefly on in the opening paragraph; Trademarking your name and/or brand, it’s greatly advised for you to do so in the event you haven’t yet. This is not a quick process, it can take half a year or longer before you receive your trademark and that’s if you do not run into other issues involving competitors or other companies with the same idea as you.
An advantage to having yourself trademarked means that you filed a formal petition that would prohibit competitors from using your brand in their ads. This doesn’t mean that they are unable to use your name 100% but it would be a heavily restricted situation. I know, that doesn’t make the situation much better but every little bit helps even if you don’t see results right away.
Bid on their brand name
Have you heard the phrase, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”? This is a situation in which such things could apply, just as they used your brand name in their keywords to steal potential clients, you could too but you need to remember it can become pricey. You should also keep in mind that your goal is not to bring down your own brand by being shady. I know it can be rather tempting to do exactly what they’ve been doing to you but you’re better than that. You can be sassy but keep it civil and classy.
Contact your competitors
Speaking of civil ways to handle things, the answer to your problem may lie in something as simple as a letter. Yes, a letter. Obviously, they’re probably not going to listen to begging or pleading but being called out on their behavior may embarrass them enough that they may stop. You could tell them that you don’t mind friendly competition but specifically using your brand as their keywords isn’t friendly nor is it proper sportsmanship.
The idea of writing a letter may feel a bit embarrassing but what is a little embarrassment if it gets rid of your problem?
Report trademark infringement to Google
The last two bits of advice I can give you are simple enough, first, you could actually speak to Google. They’re not going to make the people quit using your brand as a keyword per se unless they are violating trademark copyright. In other words, if they are using your logo, your brand, your slogan to advertise theirs, well, then you’ve got yourself a case. They’ve committed trademark infringement and it has legal repercussions. Now you can report it to Google.
Run branded ads
Lastly, if you have the extra money you could spend your way out of the situation by increasing the amount allotted for your branded ad. Again, it can get pricey as you have to spend more than your competitors for those keywords. Fortunately for you, you aren’t the only one that has to do this. There are other big-name brands that do it as well. It just comes with the territory, whoever pays the most tends to have the bigger reach.
In conclusion, remember where there is a will, there is a way. Need to launch a Google Ads campaign to protect your company from a competitor bidding on my brand in Google Ads? Contact us today for a free consultation!