What to do when competitors bid on your brand keyword?

Figuring out that your competitor uses your own brand keywords on Google Ads can be unpleasant. After all, it's your brand, so only you have all the rights to use it, right? Well, according to Google - no. Since 2019 June, they have stopped preventing competitor brand bids.

This decision has opened up many possibilities and a lot more headaches.

So the main question remains meaningful in 2022 - what should you do if a competitor bids on your brand term?

P.S. We already covered what is brand bidding in here.

1. File a trademark complaint if possible

If your brand name is trademarked, this is the most obvious and must-do solution.

Google Ads trademark complaint

You can file a complaint against all advertisers who use any of your brand keywords.

If you own the trademark, then this is probably a good step to cut off most forms of Google Adwords trademark abuse, even if your brand is not currently being conquered.

  • File a Google Ads trademark complaint using this form.
  • File a Bing trademark complaint here.

The trademark system helps protect consumers from confusion about the source of products. It’s a relatively simple process, but it can be confusing for some people who are not familiar with trademarks and their legal obligations.

If you're filing a trademark complaint, here are some tips for doing so

  • Know your rights as an owner of a trademark.
    • If someone else is using your trademark without permission, you may be able to stop them by filing a trademark infringement lawsuit. You also have certain rights under the federal law called “common law” rights. These include the ability to prevent others from using your mark or making false claims about your product.
    • Understand the difference between registered and unregistered marks. Registered marks are protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Unregistered marks are protected under common law.
    • Make sure your mark is valid. Before starting a trademark infringement lawsuit, make sure your trademark is actually registered.
    • Consider hiring a lawyer if you're not sure about the legality of your trademark.
  • Get your account managers involved early.
    • If you have a designated account manager, make sure they know about it. They should be able to push the request through to the end, speeding up the process.
  • Collect all supporting documentation first.
    • The complete list of trademarks and phrases that are protected by law.
    • Trademark registration number, country code, and owner.
    • Your ad account ID and name.
    • Screenshots of the ads that are causing issues.
    • A list of all sites that are allowed to use your brand name.

2. Talk with a competitor, consider filing a cease and desist

Talking with your competitor is the next best option if you don’t have a trademark.

Your competitors may not know they're bidding on your keywords. If they're using a third-party agency that didn't disclose it was using this tactic.

A simple request could go a lot further if they did it by accident.

If you're suspicious that they did it intentionally, you need to file a cease and desist order against them. However, remember that your competitor might still ignore it.

3. Bid on your own brand terms

If it fails, you should probably start bidding on your terms. It might create frustration, as you will see somebody else displayed in a better position. Worse still, you will have to pay Google for ads to rank higher on their branded search results. However, there are good reasons why it might not be as painful.

  • Your ad words will have a much higher keyword score, so your cost per click (CPC) will be cheaper than your competitors.
  • You don't have to be outbidding them 100% of the time across all countries, only in the markets where you have an actual interest.
  • The recovered lead is likely to spend more and cover your ads expenses.

4. Start bidding on your competitor’s brand

Last but not least, you should consider fighting fire with fire. If your competitor does successful campaigns against you, maybe you could do the same to them? You could experiment with this idea if they don't have a trademark for their own brand. Keep in mind that your quality score will be very low when you bid on a competitor's brand. So your CPC will skyrocket.

You might eventually come to a mutual agreement that you and your competitor will simply stop it.

Discover competitors bidding against you a lot quicker

Finally, always remember to protect your own brand name terms. You might not know if your competitors are bidding against you. You can efficiently address it with SerpWall. Start a free trial today. No credit card is required.

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