Announcements

Get Certified in BrandVerity’s Affiliate Monitoring and Trademark Monitoring Programs

Are you a superuser of BrandVerity’s paid search monitoring software? Did you know that now you can earn Affiliate Monitoring and Trademark Monitoring Certifications from BrandVerity?

The certification program allows YOU to become certified in Affiliate Monitoring, Trademark Monitoring, or even both.

With these certifications, you have the opportunity to show that you are an expert in using the BrandVerity software. This means having the ability to interpret and leverage data as well as utilize best practices in order to use our software to its fullest extent.

Say you use BrandVerity to monitor affiliate marketing partners. It can be difficult to identify or correct affiliates who are violating your program’s terms, and the certification shows that you are able to use the software to find those violations, interpret the data, and follow up appropriately.

And, if you’re using the software to monitor trademark violations, you’ll want to identify ads that violate the search engines’ trademark regulations and have them removed. The certification shows that you are able to leverage BrandVerity’s system to identify violations and send them to the search engines for takedown when applicable.

Neat, huh?  

Certification involves a test that covers the core elements of BrandVerity’s paid search monitoring product. Successful users will then be awarded a certificate and a badge they can use on their resume and LinkedIn profile. Check them out:

Badge-Trademark Badge-Affiliate

Interested? If you’re currently a customer and would like to learn more about certifications, email us at certifications@brandverity.com. We’ll get you started on the road to certification!

FTC-Compliance

Content Compliance in the Financial Industry: Where Should You Start?

When marketing consumer financial services, marketers have to be hyper-aware of the many rules and regulations that go along with the industry. Marketing a financial service—be it retail banking, loans, mortgages, or credit cards—is often a complicated matter. There is a strong need to curb risk, but also successfully promote your products.

While the advent of digital and social marketing has added lots of new marketing opportunities, unfortunately it has also opened up new areas of risk. Marketing partners, affiliates, and social media can be vibrant sources of advertising, new revenue, and brand growth—but they need to be used correctly.

Keeping all of this in mind, we released our Guide to Content Compliance for Financial Brands today. This guide provides information about how to mitigate the risk of working with various types of partners in a world where transparency, fairness, and accuracy is of the utmost importance.

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By providing resources and information about who’s responsible for managing compliance, how and why partner and affiliate sites fall out of compliance—both on accident and intentionally—and best practices for running a compliance process, we hope to help brands take charge of their online marketing efforts, for both their reputation and their bottom line.

Download a copy of the report today. And, let us know what you think about it. Feel free to comment below or Tweet us @BrandVerity!

Paid-Search

Thanksgiving Weekend Retrospective: Trademark Bidding Peaks on Black Friday

Well, the madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over. And although most marketers still have plenty to do for the rest of the year, we hope you’ve enjoyed at least a moment of respite.

After pointing out the uptick in trademark bidding prior to Thanksgiving, we continued our monitoring through Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Just like in our previous post, we used the same index of brands from our report on branded keywords.

The results? Well, they were pretty similar across several industries. Here are some trends we noticed:

  • Black Friday continued to be the peak of trademark bidding
  • In contrast to last year’s data, we noticed more of a drop-off in trademark bidding on Cyber Monday
  • Even on days surrounding Black Friday, trademark bidding is higher than on typical days (see comparisons to September Average in charts below)

We’ve also made some handy charts for several industries:


Clothing & Apparel

Clothing-Apparel-BF2


Consumer Electronics

Consumer-Electronics-BF


Online Retail

Online-Retail-BF

Branded-Keyword-Report

BrandVerity Releases Its Q3 Report on the State of Branded Keywords in Paid Search

Today, BrandVerity released its analysis of branded keywords in paid search covering the third quarter of this year.

If you’re new to us, the report provides brands with a benchmark of what advertisements appear on the search engines when potential customers search for their brand and how much traffic brands may be losing because of trademark bidding.

A few key findings…

Mobile has long been a growing force in the average marketer’s world. But, it is now becoming more important as the volume of mobile search increases. Our analysts found notable rises in advertising on Google Mobile.

After seeing a sizable drop in advertising on Bing last quarter, that trend continued in Q3. Essentially, in each of the past two quarters, BV analysts have noticed the drop of nearly an entire Ad per SERP on Bing.

Read the Report Today

To get the overall scoop on the paid search landscape for ten different verticals, read the full report. It’s available as a free download on our site.

Paid-Search

The Status of Trademark Bidding as We Approach Black Friday

Black Friday is more than a sale for retailers, it’s the main event of the year. Weeks of preparation culminate in one rapid-fire sequence that can make or break annual goals. It’s no wonder that so many ecommerce teams are on lockdown this time of year.

As shoppers frenzy to compare prices and peruse wares, brands are likely to see a surge in searches for their brand terms. And with that surge can come trademark bidders. As we observed last year, trademark bidding jumped during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

But what about this year? Will Black Friday lead to another jump in trademark bidding? To get an idea, we took some data that we’ve been collecting for upcoming editions of our report on branded keywords. Here’s what we found:


Trademark Bidding Surges in Clothing & Apparel Category

BF-2015-Clothing-Apparel

The Clothing & Apparel category has seen a steady increase in trademark bidding on Google since the beginning of September. Starting at an average of a little more than 0.2 Ads per SERP, that figure has more than doubled to a little under 0.5 Ads/SERP.


Consumer Electronics Starts with High Trademark Bidding

BF-2015-Consumer-Electronics

Whereas the Clothing & Apparel category averaged only about 0.2 Ads per SERP in September, Consumer Electronics started out at a much higher figure around 0.45. However, after setting that mark out of the gate, it has essentially plateaued since then. Our trendline shows only a moderate increase. Trademark bidding may still pick up as we approach the actual day of Black Friday, but results are surprisingly stable so far.


Online Retail Relatively Low, Flat

BF-2015-Online-Retail

Similar to the Consumer Electronics category, the Online Retail category showed only a slight increase in trademark bidding on Google. However, Online Retail started out at less than 0.10 Ads per SERP—a very low rate of trademark bidding. This is consistent with the quarterly averages from our reports on branded keywords, but we had expected a higher figure given that Black Friday is nearing.


What Are You Noticing?

With Black Friday at our doorstep, how have your campaigns been affected? Have your CTRs or CPCs changed on branded keywords? Let us know in the comments below or by Tweeting to us @BrandVerity.

Butterfinger-Halloween-Ad

Who’s Winning Halloween Paid Search?

After marketers got creative with their Back to the Future tie-ins last week, another marketing-friendly holiday is approaching quickly. Boo! It’s almost Halloween already.

For the past week, we’ve been monitoring some Halloween-related keywords in paid search. Here are some points of interest that we’ve found. Read on—if you dare!


Who’s Winning on “Halloween Candy”?

When it comes to Halloween candy, See’s surprised us by showing up the most often. You don’t tend to think See’s for Halloween—at least I don’t. (And if you do, maybe your neighborhood is where the trick-or-treaters should be going!)

Outside of that, the advertisers were predominantly retailers. M&M’s also snuck in at #3.

Top Advertisers

  1. sees.com
  2. candy.com
  3. mms.com
  4. walmart.com
  5. amazon.com
  6. orientaltrading.com
  7. lamaisonduchocolat.us
  8. candywarehouse.com
  9. 1800flowers.com
  10. blaircandy.com

Who’s Winning on “Halloween”?

Interestingly, it seems that advertisers are largely avoiding exact matches for “Halloween.” The term might be a bit too general. It also gets a lot of volume this time of year, so that might make it too costly considering that it might be hard to monetize.

The only advertiser that showed up with any regularity was partycity.com, who promoted costumes.


Who’s Winning on Halloween Costume Keywords?

We also monitored 25 of the most trafficked keywords related to Halloween costumes. The majority of advertisers were speciality costume and Halloween shops, but we also saw several major retailers (Walmart, Target, and Amazon) get into the game.

Top Advertisers

  1. halloweencostumes.com
  2. spirithalloween.com
  3. wholesalehalloweencostumes.com
  4. costumeexpress.com
  5. costumediscounters.com
  6. walmart.com
  7. target.com
  8. amazon.com
  9. costumesupercenter.com
  10. trendyhalloween.com

Candy Brands Running Their Own Ads

We also did some monitoring on the branded keywords of popular candies. What we found was a fair amount of advertising from the candy brands themselves. Here are just a few examples:

Butterfinger

Butterfinger-Halloween-Ad

Kit Kat

Kit-Kat-Halloween-Ad

Skittles

Skittles-Halloween-Ad

Search-Engine-Update

What’s Next for Paid Search on Yahoo?

Paid search could be in for some big changes on Yahoo. After reaching a new search deal with Microsoft in April that afforded it more autonomy, Yahoo has now announced a separate deal with Google.

Why run two separate deals with different search engines? “Flexibility” was one of the key factors that Yahoo mentioned in its announcement. Interestingly, the new agreements give Yahoo the freedom to pool paid search ads from three sources: Google, Bing, and Yahoo’s own Gemini advertising platform.

What Can We Expect from the New Yahoo?

That freedom does include one major limitation: on desktop searches at least 51% of ads must be sourced from Bing.

Yahoo can choose to divvy up the remaining 49% however it wants between Google, its own platform, and any other provider it may strike a deal with. That leaves the following potential shares of desktop advertising on Yahoo:

  • Bing: 51% or more
  • Google: up to 49%
  • Yahoo Gemini: up to 49%

For mobile advertising, that structure goes out the window. Yahoo is free to choose any distribution it wants. It could split 50/50 between Bing and Google, or go all-in on its own Gemini platform. Any combination is up for grabs.

What Geographies Do These Deals Cover?

The Yahoo-Bing agreement is described as a “global partnership.”

The Yahoo-Google deal covers North America as well as some parts of South America, Asia, and Oceania. The full list is available about halfway into the Search Engine Land article.

How Will Things Change?

With the requirement of 51% share for Bing on desktop search, Yahoo won’t completely change overnight. However, we’ve already started observing significant shifts in our quarterly report on branded keywords, so the Google deal is likely to magnify those. As always, we’ll be keeping a close eye on those trends in upcoming reports!

Paid-Search

If You Haven’t Yet, It’s Time to Prioritize Mobile Search

Mobile has been an industry buzzword for a while now. From the “Mo” in the eye-roll-inducing “SoLoMo” to articles heralding responsive design as the holy grail of websites, mobile has regularly been the rallying call for anyone who wanted to make marketers feel behind the times.

Lots of clever marketers tapped into that anxiety in order to pitch various things—creative services, advertising opportunities, their new startup. Their message was effective. Mobile was new, and therefore pretty unknown. Your anxiety gave you some reasons to listen.

But now, mobile is beyond buzzword status. Google recently announced that globally they see more searches on mobile than on desktop. Mobile is the real deal. It may not yet present as big of a business as desktop search (due to consumer habits on various devices, fewer advertising options on mobile, and other factors), but it’s also not to be ignored.

If your brand has been de-prioritizing mobile up to this point (which has been easy to do), now’s a good time to give it some more attention. Start focusing on your strategy, building out campaigns, and monitoring the mobile search landscape. Mobile traffic growth continues to outpace desktop—so there’s no better time than now.

Paid-Search

Volkswagen Emissions Fallout Hits Paid Search

The Volkswagen emissions scandal is probably the biggest hit that a brand has taken since BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The financial impact has the potential to be tremendous. Current estimates show that VW could be on the hook for $18 billion in EPA fines alone, plus legal fees and the cost of recalling 500,000 vehicles in the US.

Volkswagen has already set aside $7.4 billion for the recall. That’s a sizable sum, so we were curious to see whether it might lead to any opportunistic advertising in paid search. We’ve been monitoring for a set of VW-related terms for a little over a week, and have already been finding some interesting examples:

Law Firms Seize the Opportunity


“Class Action”

Volkswagen-Emissions-Ad-1


“Get Compensated”

Volkswagen-Emissions-Ad-3


“Fraud”

Volkswagen-Emissions-Ad-6


“Sue VW”

Volkswagen-Emissions-Ad-4


Options for Damage Control?

Regardless of your perspective on the scandal itself, it’s clear that this has become a communications nightmare for VW. And these paid search ads only reinforce that scandal by labeling it with terms such as “fraud.”

Volkswagen has responded by placing its own ads, using the domain vwdieselinfo.com:

Volkswagen-Emissions-Ad-2

What do you think of this strategy? Will it help quell some of the fallout? If you were Volkswagen, how would you approach this?

Announcements

CSC Joins Forces with BrandVerity to Provide Paid Search Monitoring Service

BrandVerity and Corporation Service Company® (CSC), a provider of legal, business, and financial services, are working together in a pretty fantastic way. CSC now offers paid search monitoring to its clients through BrandVerity.

“We are thrilled to partner with CSC to provide paid search monitoring services to their customers,” said BrandVerity CEO David Naffziger. “We are excited about the opportunities it presents and look forward to a long, prosperous partnership.”

BrandVerity and CSC together support organizations as they seek to protect their brands in the digital marketplace. Our Paid Search Monitoring detects a broad spectrum of brand abuse and enables clients to enforce against it. It’s a great collaboration!  

Check out CSC’s blog post about the partnership or our complete press release for even more information.