How Effective is "Official Site" in Paid Search?

As we all know, Brand Terms (keywords focused around your company name) convert extremely well, and usually have the highest ROI compared to the other keywords in your Paid Search campaigns.  However, advertisers still need to be maximising the performance of these keywords and traffic they drive through them.

One way to increase CTR on Brand Ad Groups is to add ‘Official Site’ to your Ads.  Adding ‘Official Site’ helps your ad stand out against Affiliates, Coupon Sites, Competitors, etc.  To validate this strategy, we launched a test on one of our clients that has recently seen a decrease in Brand performance.  We attribute the majority of the performance drop-off to an increase in brand-focused Affiliates that make their ads look like the official site, and they even go so far as to create custom landing pages that look very similar to our clients site.  At this point, our client is okay with these affiliates, because they are in a very competitive space with many of their competitors bidding on their brand, so these Affiliates are effectively moving the competition down the page – so our client still gets the sale.

Of note – this was not a straight A/B test, it was a hard cut-over to where the Account Associate expected an increase, so the old ads were cut out entirely.  The analysis looked at the last 2 weeks of the non-Official Site ad versus the first 14 days of the Official Site ads.

So here are the results:


Due to the very competitive nature of the advertisers brand, the ‘Official Site’ ad had an amazing impact and we were able to more than double the CTR on this Brand Ad Group.

Have you done a test similar to this?  Please comment!

Written by Andrew Belsky (andrew.belsky(at)