What do you think of word names

Brand Monitoring on Google - Strategies and Tool Presentation for Brand Protection

In this article I would like to address many questions and give you various information and ideas that have to do with your brand on Google.

Or with the use of third-party brands.

But let's deal with the complex topic one after the other.

This is what you will learn in this article:

  • Are you allowed to book on foreign brand terms?
  • Does this make sense?
  • How you can protect (register) your trademark with Google
  • Ways how trademark protection can be circumvented
  • Is it expedient to place ads on your brand if you are organically (SEO) already well listed
  • Free opportunities to find out about your brand from third-party bookers
  • What brand monitoring tools are
  • What the SEMScout tool offers you

What kind of brands is search engine marketing all about?

Mainly a word mark used by a company.

In search engine marketing you can also use the figurative mark or violate someone else's figurative mark, but the common one is definitely the word mark.

The word mark can be used for the keyword (the search term) and the ad text including the extensions.

Ideally, your word mark is also officially registered with the Patent and Trademark Office and you have proof of this.

Detailed information on this is available, for example, from the law firm BPM Legal, through which we have had the trademark of our agency "Damcon GmbH" protected.
The costs are quite manageable and an investment in the long term.

Can I book third-party brands on Google (place ads)?

Yes, and have been for a long time! Google stays out of this almost completely. But more on that later.

If you want to know more now, you are welcome to read through certain articles such as those by the lawyer Plutte.

In principle, every advertiser in Google Ads can place an ad for every search term.

However, there are important details that you have to consider!

You must never use the third-party (protected) brand in your ad text. In the best case scenario, you will receive an error message when creating an ad text in Google Ads.

But there are also many brands that are not protected in the Google Marketplace (see below), in which case you will not receive an error message.
But if the brand owner sees these ads, they can easily warn you - and that can be expensive.

In this respect, never use the dynamic keyword placeholder {keyword: ...} in these ad groups!

So if you book the foreign brand keyword and the ad picks up the search terms, then you have the same effect.

But what if you sell products from this third-party brand?

Let's imagine a cell phone online shop. Someone who sells Apple, Samsung and other branded phones is of course also interested in mentioning this in the ad copy.

So for example. "Apple iPhone XR from 1 € with contract". 

Brands like Apple in particular are extremely sensitive to this. You should get written permission from the respective brand to allow you to use this in your ads.

Then you are legally on the safe side.

One gray area is the snippet extension in Google Ads. Here you can list a list of brands that you offer.

So far, I am not aware of any case in which Google has rejected these trademarks or a warning from a trademark owner. Nevertheless, caution is advised here too!

What does this snippeter extension look like?
It is simply attached to your ad text as additional text, here is an example from O2.

Is there a way to protect my trademark on Google?

Yes, especially if you discover that someone else is using your brand.

The whole thing works via a form.
You can find the form here.

You can find more information about brand guidelines here.

Alternatively, there is also a dedicated team for this, which can be reached by email: [email protected]

You can also use this to prove that you can be activated for the use of a third-party brand (above example with an Apple reseller).

Does it make sense to place SEA ads on someone else's or my own brand?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions in this context.

There are various studies, tests and a list of pros and cons.

I summarize the most important arguments:

  • The simultaneous placement of SEA ads with very good SEO visibility increases your overall brand visibility!
    Simply compare two Google search results pages with and without a paid ad - with the visible screen area is usually 100% taken up by the brand. The user can hardly help but click on one of your brand elements.
    Among other things, there is an older study that says 1 + 1 = 6
    In many tests, the SEA (1) and SEO (1) presence resulted in six times the number of clicks ...
  • You have full control over the text in the SEA.
    When you promote a promotion, this text can appear on Google within minutes. In terms of SEO results, this can take days, weeks, or months
  • The CPC for your own brand is usually very low
    Often times, you only pay a few cents for a click on your brand ad. The investment is therefore usually very manageable. The click and conversion rate is very high.
  • If you fail to book, you run the risk of a competitor securing the top ad space for your brand.
    He can thus position himself very attentively above your SEO result and "tap" a part of your potential visitors.
  • We ourselves have run many tests in the past to measure the effect.
    The result: the same number of visitors will almost never come to you if you pause SEA and assume that they will click on your SEO result.
    You can lose up to 30% of the visitors to your competitors.

If you (or your boss) keep asking yourself this question, let the numbers speak to a test scenario:

  1. Pause your SEA ads on your brand for exactly one week
  2. Make sure that you are using a reliable web analysis tool (e.g. Google Analytics)
  3. Compare the number of clicks (and ideally also the sales) via SEO to the previous period and find the difference

You should make sure that you do not have any seasonal effects in your business or in your target group during this week (holidays, Christmas, public holidays, etc.).

What if someone else uses my brand?

Seeing someone else using your brand in ads?

Do you have the feeling that this is the case (e.g. your own impressions of the brand keep falling or you see referral clicks in your evaluations)?

Do you use affiliate marketing? The partner programs are predestined for external booking - so-called Ad hijacking.
Speaking of ad hijacking: There was already a major discussion and evaluation in 2011 that around 13 million euros in damage are caused annually by "taking away" an advertising space (article in Internet World Business).

One can argue about this, because the damage is manageable, especially with affiliates. In the worst case, the merchant pays a commission for an order that would otherwise have come through his own ad.

But I can tell you: this is partly a really massive problem. Especially for large, well-known brands with an affiliate program (in which the advertising partner receives a commission for an order), but also for small and medium-sized companies.

In this respect, I would like to definitely sensitize you to this problem.

How can you "find out" the foreign bidders?

Unfortunately, this is often not that easy to find out. A few ideas:

  • Monitor the impression share of your brand campaign in Google Ads.
    You can show columns for "Competitive metrics" and then look at "Percentage of possible impressions in SN". Google gives you a percentage metric of how many impressions your campaign gets in relation to the total search queries on Google for your booked keywords.
    With a sufficient daily budget, you should actually be over 90% here. If you are well below that, someone else seems to be "stealing" your advertising space.
  • Auction dates
    You can also view the "auction data" at the top of the campaign and keyword level in Google Ads. Here you can see other domains that are showing ads on your keywords. With this you do not recognize (!) Ad Hijackers.
  • Referrer
    References that you see in your web server or web analysis reports, for example if you see ... google.de ... more here
  • Live ads
    You search for your terms on Google and see third-party advertisements.
    However, affiliates in particular, but also external SEA managers, are so smart not to switch to your location.
    Note: also use the additional parameter at the top of the URL & pws = 0so that you see non-personalized search results.
  • Use the ad preview in other regions (see tricks from third-party bookers)
    You can find over in every Google Ads account Tools> Ad Preview and Diagnosis a great tool to get you the Google search results page for any location in the world

I shot you a short video so I can show you where to find the auction data and the impression share:

Google Ads auction data and impression share

I'll show you how you can use auction data and impression share in Google Ads to find out if someone else is booking your brands. You can find the corresponding article at https: //www.christo ...

Pro tip: Monitor your brand terms with tools

I've already taken it up above.

Affiliates in particular, but also external SEA managers, often want to test whether you can see that advertisements are being placed on your brand terms.

Here it is not about the technical possibilities to switch at the location of your company or agency, only to work at times when the office is usually not occupied (evenings, weekends) or to work via remarketing and target group targeting.

It continues through the various devices and many other dimensions so as not to reach you.

Your brand can also be used textually without your being aware of it. For example, there was always a popular trick to write the "iPhone" not with an I (like "Ida") but with an l (like "Lennard").

This primarily bypasses the Google Ads internal testing guidelines.

There are no limits to creativity here and we've already seen a lot from the agency's point of view.

The most glaring thing about it was an affiliate that even Google hadn't recognized in the first place.

He has used a sophisticated system of numerous AdWords accounts, only booked to major brands at certain times of the day and only with links that are valid once.

The really creative thing was that even if you had found these links (e.g. via web server protocols), the link no longer went via a traceable affiliate link when you called it up again, but to the original domain.

Long story short: With the possibilities described above to find ad hijackers, you usually do not get on the track quickly or without much effort and research.

And that's why special tools have become established that are specialized in querying the stored brand keywords on Google and Bing and scanning the Google search results page at random minute intervals at hundreds to thousands of locations in Germany up to and including worldwide (depending on the tool) on Google and Bing.

You usually save your original links and as soon as the tool detects that there is a different one behind the display, you will receive an alarm including a screenshot.

You can legally use these screenshots to contact you and, if necessary, to issue a warning.

Often, however, making contact is enough to refrain from pointing out it. These so-called "gentlemen's agreements" (you don't book on my brand, I don't book on yours) often work very, very well.

The tools that monitor this have different terms on the market:

  • Brand Watch
  • Brand protection tools
  • Brand screening
  • Brand monitoring
  • Brand monitoring / brand monitoring
  • Brand bidding management

What kind of tools are there?

A multitude. The following come to mind that we have worked with in the past.

The former tool is my favorite, and it has given us the most reliable and best results in many cases.

I would like to introduce SEMScout to you in more detail.

We have been able to find and identify the very creative affiliate described above with it in the past. The tool monitors every keyword up to 590 times a day ... Hardly anyone can "hide";)

In addition, it is possible to have very close contact with Bernd, who is also happy to help personally and with his team with questions or configurations.

Here are a few facts about SEMScout and what the tool can cover for you:

In addition to Google (including especially Google Mobile), the tool also checks Bing (Microsoft Ads).

What you shouldn't forget when booking a brand: If you have other brands that book on your brand, you can "remove" the CPC and increase your brand visibility with anyone you can "remove" here.

In order to reduce these foreign bookings, SEMScout gives you legally secure documentation of all finds, including an activity report, the advertising texts used, screenshots and much more.

You can also use the tool to send an email directly to third-party advertisers and, in the worst-case scenario, have all the data for legal prosecution of the trademark infringement.

By the way: As far as I know, the tool is the only one on the market that can also record the shopping ads with product names and links from all advertisers on their own brand keywords and send them as an Excel report.

So if you've always wanted to know which shopping ads are being shown, feel free to use SEMScout.


You can test SEMScout free of charge and without obligation.

Have everything explained and set up for you and see if you can already find the first foreign bookers.

If you then decide to do so, there are of course costs for the tool, which you can use to create alerts at any time and then receive reports by email.

Depending on the volume, the number of keywords, etc., the costs are around EUR 30 per keyword per month.

Conclusion on trademark protection

The topics and questions relating to your or someone else's brand are very diverse and complex.

When it comes to whether you can book on a third-party brand: yes, but with restrictions.

If you have the feeling or proof that someone else is booking your brand, now you know what options you have to proceed.

In my opinion, however, you will not be able to avoid dealing with one of the brand monitoring tools offered in the medium term.
This allows you to professionally monitor the use of your brand and intervene if necessary.

Christoph Mohr
As an officially certified trainer for Google Ads, Christoph Mohr distributes his knowledge and runs an online marketing agency with Damcon GmbH. Publisher of the free Google Ads course, book author and video course provider. In online marketing since 2002. He thinks that Google Ads is often wrongly viewed as a well-known, "boring" and "uncreative" marketing channel.

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