When it comes to paid search we tend to think of our branded keywords (i.e. your organization’s or show’s name) as the real stars, getting the most clicks and driving the strongest conversion numbers, with non-branded keywords in supporting roles. Makes sense, people searching for your brand by name already know you and are potentially well on their way to buying a ticket. But paid search can also provide targeted, effective, and valuable acquisition.
In 2014 we partnered with Bravo! Vail, a summer music festival, to support their festival season, which involved rebuilding and managing their Google AdWords grant account. We included many branded keywords, in addition, we built out campaigns focused on acquisition and used non-branded keywords to support their festival and target people researching the Vail area, looking for summer events, and cultural activities in the area – all typically very competitive markets, with users that are difficult to reach.
After managing this account for just over one month we saw some amazing results. In this period, non-branded keywords were responsible for 7% of all site traffic to BravoVail.com, with 90% of those being new visitors to the site (compared to site average of 57%). These non-branded campaigns were responsible for over 10% of all new visits to the site during this period.
In addition to driving highly qualified traffic to their site these non-branded campaigns helped Bravo! Vail beat out the competition on search against travel and events related sites. Our non-branded campaigns had the highest Impression Share of all related sites bidding on these keywords (these included, Vail.com, Visitcos.com, and Breckenridgemusicfestival.com), with Bravo! Vail receiving almost 20% of overall impression-share.
Beyond driving new visitors to the site these non-branded campaigns also generated significant ticket sales, with $0 in media cost, as this is a Google Grant account. During the 6-week period we managed this account, non-branded keywords brought in 140 sales conversions (with 200 assist conversions). That accounts for over $12,000 in revenue – all on non-branded keywords targeted towards people unfamiliar with what Bravo! Vail has to offer.
We all know that we owe much of our success to branded keywords (our stars) but let’s not forget the importance of non-branded keywords (supporting artists) when it comes to generating new site traffic and getting our programming in front of new and engaged audiences.
Photo courtesy of Bravo! Vail