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I’m often asked if it is possible to bid on competitor names or trademarks.

It certainly is possible (here in the UK).  I run many AdWords campaigns for clients where their cheapest conversions come from those who were actually seeking a competitor.

However, do be aware that they will soon recognise the tactic and start doing it back to you.    This will very quickly mean you need to start running your own brand name campaign to prevent your competitor stealing your traffic.

Having said that, when you create your ad copy you are not permitted to use trademarked terms such as the word IPhone, Sony or anything where the trademark owner has asked Google to prevent people using their brand in advert copy.

I am also often asked if it is actually ethical to bid on a competitor’s brand.  Only you can make this decision.  In addition – watch out for potential problems with bidding on competitor brand terms, which can arise due to the fact you are likely to receive a low quality score from Google due to irrelevancy.  A way around this is to consider placing their brand terms in your advert somewhere (unless of course it’s trademarked in which case you won’t be able to).

If you are priced more competitively than your competitor, you should be able to acquire cheaper conversions by bidding on their names, so consider testing this theory out today.

Beth is a member of our SEO team and works as a Search Marketing Executive. Her role is to write creative copy and help clients optimise their website.

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