Brand Terms - The PPC Lone Ranger
The simplest explanation of a Lone Ranger would be a branded term from which your company will appear organically, without a paid ad. While many PPC marketers refer to terms like these as their “bread and butter” due to high return on ad spend (ROAS), Adthena refers to these terms as a “no-downside opportunity to reduce wasted spending”. If your company will already appear organically with little to no competition, this is wasted ad spend that could be used to acquire new customers that are not already searching for your specific brand. Especially with recent economic strain, brands and marketers need to be using their ad spend as effectively as they can instead of wasting budget on Lone Ranger terms.
Although Lone Ranger terms are a concern, this does not mean all branded ad spend is concern. The key here is to diversify your branded ad spend and weed out the Lone Ranger terms – this requires close teamwork between SEM and SEO teams. While SEM should not bid on Lone Ranger terms, SEO should be ensuring that your website has the highest possible top impression share organically so no possible new customers are missed.
Beyond the typical Lone Ranger brand terms, SEM and SEO teams can also shift broader branded terms from paid to organic – essentially creating more Lone Ranger terms and saving your marketing budget. As SEM teams uncover new branded terms that perform well and are serving with little to no competition from other brands, the SEO team should be building an organic presence behind them. If done correctly, the SEM cost per click on these terms should reduce to a point in which they are Lone Rangers. This process can be recycled over and over again to continue growth of overall impression share and search volume while being as efficient as possible in their SEM ad spend.
Overall, branded SEM spend is necessary to maintain top impressions share for your brand and appear when users are searching for your products. However, all SEM and SEO marketers should keep their eyes out for possible Lone Ranger terms with low cost per click and high return on investment in order to avoid wasted pay per click ad spend.