Have you ever tried to measure how many advertisers are using your brand terms on Google Ads without your permission? If your answer is yes, how many illegitimate results have you managed to identify? 5, 10, 15…?
Typically, there are between 50 and 400 different advertisers displayed on Google in response to a user who makes a query using a brand name. Depending on the brand’s industry, between 30% and 80% of these advertisers are unauthorized resellers.
By climbing in the SEA results, these illegitimate advertisers impose, at a minimum, a triple penalty on brands and their official advertisers: decrease in visibility, increase in the costs of SEA campaigns and very high risk of undermining their credibility and their image.
This phenomenon – not to say this scourge – affects all search engines and all businesses, even small brands.
On search engines, parasitic advertisers act like any legitimate advertiser. They are bidding on branded terms that do not belong to them or for which they are neither legitimate nor authorized to conduct campaigns on the SEA.
In fact, technically nothing prevents them from doing so: no preflighting or any forward checking is provided by the search engines. The latter are not held responsible by case law because of their status as hosts.
Who are parasitic advertisers?
There are a multitude of parasitic advertiser profiles. I list the most common here:
- Completely honest advertisers who just forgot to negate your brand term. It is a common phenomenon indeed. This is because advertisers using generic words can very often have their ad automatically linked to a query with a brand term. Google’s algorithm makes these connections automatically and arbitrarily, without anyone really understanding why. In order for these embarrassing connections not to be made, the advertiser must explicitly exclude brand terms from their campaign. This process requires a minimum of technical knowledge, not to mention that it requires time and energy. This is why many end up ignoring it;
- Misguided distributors. The misuse of brand terms often concerns its own partners and official distributors, most of them poorly supervised or guided. The brand must clearly specify who has the right to conduct SEA campaigns with its terms while indicating how to calibrate them, for example by determining a precise geographical area;
- Unscrupulous competitors, who use the SEA as a weapon to steal traffic and prospects from you;
- Unauthorized resellers. The latter represent harmful competition and a risk for the brand image by highlighting unauthorized sites, at best poorly compliant with the brand’s merchandising and at worst offering counterfeiting;
- Hackers Using Your Brand Terms to Lure People to Fake Official Websites to steal their personal data, which can have catastrophic effects on your brand awareness.
Alone, the marketing manager cannot have an exact vision of what is happening in his brand territory. Indeed, if you type your brand term on Google, you will only have a very limited view of the situation, like a snapshot taken at a very specific place.
As you know, search engine algorithms take several criteria into account when deciding the order of results to display in response to a query. The location of the device and the time of day are part of it. The results will therefore never be the same for everyone.
The only way to exercise complete surveillance is to simulate the behavior of Internet users all day long and everywhere in the city, department, country or the world …
Tools exist for this!
Download our white paper at good reasons to watch your brand on Google Ads.
About the Author
Founder of Monibrand, a startup specializing in online brand protection, Jérémie Lipfeld, has more than 15 years of expertise in digital marketing, e-commerce and digital advertising. Monibrand offers a competitive analysis and monitoring solution for commercial links designed to protect brands’ online advertising campaigns. The only French startup in this activity today, Monibrand makes it possible to identify all the advertisers, competitors, affiliates or fraudsters, who parasitize the sponsored links of brands and reduce this competitive pressure via automated withdrawal procedures.
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