How to protect against competitors bidding for your brand keywords

4th November 2019

Competitors bidding on brand keywords in relation to online listings has been the subject of much discussion and media attention in recent years. Many will remember Samsung’s famous “Awkward. You obviously mean S6” Google campaign that targeted Apple’s iPhone 6s. While to outsiders, this may have been seen as creative and amusing, the reality is that, for businesses, competitors bidding on their brand keywords can have damaging consequences, as it can divert a large percentage of traffic and potential sales away from their business.

It is important to remember that while hostile, such marketing strategies are still possible.

In order to protect your business, the following steps are advised:

Review and monitor your competitor’s advertisements carefully 

If your competitor is using your business’s trade marks in the text of their advertisement or in their domain names, this will be a breach of the search engine’s rules, for instance “Google’s Trademark Rules”. If such unauthorised use is taking place, Google will take steps to restrict and remove the ads as well as enforcing other penalties. In addition, you may also have the ability to commence a trade mark infringement action against the competitor.

Own your own brand keywords

While a seemingly obvious step, many businesses neglect to bid for their own brand keywords and it may simply be the case that their competitors are only bidding on their brand keywords because they are not doing so. A business may feel, that the money could be better spent elsewhere, however, having multiple listings can dramatically improve click-through rates and allows a business to create and directly compare different types of advertisements to see which are the most effective. A further benefit, is that by owning your own brand keywords, a business is able to control its brand message and position its products and services accurately in the market.

If you would like more information on or assistance in relation to the issues discussed in this article, please contact Rebecca Anforth on 01872 226990 or by email at