Is using your competitors’ brand name unacceptable in your Google AdWords strategy? Airbnb doesn’t think so, and Google agrees. According to Google’s current policy bidding on competitor’s brand names is perfectly legal and accepted.
“Google will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received.”
In the examples below, Airbnb has blantantly incorporated “HomeAway” and “VRBO” into their Google AdWords keyword strategy.
According to White Shark Media, using competitor’s names in your ads isn’t advisable. “Keep in mind that you don’t want to give your competitor’s brand name more publicity than what they are already getting, and that you certainly don’t want to get into a legal fight over brand names and trademarks,” said Carlos Rodriguez.
“On the headline of your ad you could either use your own brand name or a generic description of your competitor’s brand products. In a worst-case scenario, you could end up in trial due to manipulative marketing if you use another brand name in your ads. This can be perceived as you trying to trick the user into thinking that your website is your competitor’s website.”
For example, if you are using VRBO as a keyword and writing VRBO in your ad headline, visitors might think that you’re actually VRBO.com. In the example below, Airbnb has used VRBO as a keyword and written VRBO in the headline. In the example above, Airbnb used the same strategy with the keyword HomeAway. This tactic can be perceived as manipulative and is against the law in many countries.
The idea of using competitors’ brand names in your AdWords strategy is considered by many to be questionable. If you decide to use your competitors’ names as keywords do not use them in your headlines or with Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI).
DKI takes any of your keywords matching the search query and dynamically fits the 25-character limit of the headline in your ad. As in the Airbnb examples, if you’re using DKI, the headline of your ads could be showing your competitors’ brand names and that could be a big potential problem.
Worst-case scenario, you could be involved in a lawsuit. So, it’s never a good idea to use DKI for your ad groups with competitors’ names or brands included as keywords.
By Amy Hinote