This post contains no sexy graphics, ground-breaking roundups, or insight into the world of Online Marketing. Actually it’s long, filled with lots of numbers and my analysis of my experiments in Brand campaigns using Adwords. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you have a number fetish, or you’re working for big brands and want to explore branded Adwords campaigns, read on, my friend, because I’m about to geek out my metrics.

A few years back at a Search Engine industry conference, jotted a few statistics during a conference on Adwords and Brand names. I remembered one figure thrown out I thought was worth testing: for some well-established brands, bidding on Brand keywords increased sales conversions on those terms by 5%. It seemed worth testing; it’s a small piece of the pie to throw up a few ads and test the outcome on revenue and transactions.

So that brings us to today, and I’m armed with a solid 10 1/2 months of data to measure our Sales growth for the brand in Google Search.

Here’s how the slicing-and-dicing panned out.

Some Facts to Begin:

1) It is expected the campaign will immediately cannibalize Organic visits & revenue if you have the top Google position for each keyword.
2) My branded keywords were pulled directly from the Organic brand terms in December 2009.
3) Ads will only appear Google’s sites and partners. This way, we can get a fairly accurate reading by using Google CPC and Google Organic data.

Let’s Get Us Some Data

We want these analytics figures for the time period of the Brand campaign:

  • Brand Adwords Cost (Pull this figure directly from Adwords)
  • Brand Adwords Revenue
  • Brand Adwords Transactions
  • Brand Organic Revenue
  • Brand Organic Transactions
  • Brand Organic Revenue of the previous year (before the Branded Adwords campaign.)
  • Brand Organic Transactions of the previous year (before the Branded Adwords campaign.)

Here’s my method to obtain this data with Google Analytics:

  1. Sign into Adwords. Choose the campaign timeline. Jot down the Ad Spend for that time period.
  2. Sign into Google Analytics (or your analytics program). Chooose the same time period. View Google CPC and show the E-commerce data. Export the list to CSV and erase all columns except Keyword, Visits, Transactions, and Revenue. Now pick out every Branded search row and delete the rest. Sum each column.
  3. Repeat step B above with Google Organic.
  4. Choose an identical time period before the brand campaign started. I would recommend either the identical dates of the previous year, or the exact number of days starting backwards from the date you started the Adwords campaign. Repeat Step B with Google Organic data in this date frame.

*The numbers below are altered incrementally, but represent the same formulas & measurements used to determine a change in conversions.

Google Adwords and Organic Data from Dec 1st, 2009 – Oct 20, 2010

Adwords Brand Spend: $7,108.61
Adwords Brand Revenue: $252,065.28
Adwords Brand Transactions: 2303
Google Organic Brand Revenue: $330,447.57
Google Organic Brand Transactions: 2807
Total Revenue from Brand Campaign & Organic: $582,512.85
Total Transactions from Brand Campaign & Organic: 5110

Google Organic Data from Dec 1st, 2008 – Oct 20, 2009:

Total Revenue from Organic Brand KW: $446,104.75
Total Transactions from Organic KW: 5016

2010: Total Brand Google Revenue (CPC/Organic): $582,512.85
2009: Total Brand Google Revenue (Organic): $446,104.75

Revenue Increase: +$136,408.09
Subtract 2010 Adwords expenses (-$7,108.61 ): $129,299.49
2010: Total Transactions from Adwords Brand Campaign & Organic Brand KW: 5110
2009: Total Transactions from Organic Brand KW: 5016

Transactions Increase: +94 Transactions
Growth Percentile: 29% Growth over the Previous Year
Conversion Growth Percentage: 1.9%

What we Know…

Brand revenue has grown in Search about 29% over the previous year. Growth in Transactions is almost nihil.

Did these branded ads make an impact in revenue? Is this growth rate unique? We’ll need a little more historical data on the traditional growth rate:

2010 Brand Revenue: $582,512.85 (+30.5%) Transactions: 5110 (+1.88%)
2009 Brand Revenue: $446,104.75 (+88%) Transactions: 5016 (+139%)
2008 Brand Revenue: $237,267.49 (+2776%) Transactions: 2097 (+343%)
2007 Brand Revenue: $8249.68 Transactions: 473

Thoughts & Conclusions

Transactions for Brand have also seen strong growth historically, but the past year has been stagnant. Revenue has grown, but this growth is not unique and there are other factors apart from branded search accounting to that. With all things considered it is unlikely the branded Adwords campaign alone affected this growth. Considering the extra expense of this Adwords campaign and that this year did not follow at least the same trends as the last year, it’s probably best to throw this budget elsewhere. And that’s exactly what I’ll do.

I will, however, continue to monitor the campaign by measuring the organic brand keyword conversions for traffic and revenue with a follow-up review in a couple months to measure any differences.

There are many methods and reasons to run Branded search campaigns. While this experiment did not result in the increases we expected, tomorrow I’ll follow up with more ways to use Branded Adwords campaigns, so be sure to subscribe or visit!