Posted September 17, 2008 10:38 am by with 13 comments

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OK, we’re PG13 at Marketing Pilgrim, so I’m not going to take the above cheekiness any further. That said, it is accurate. According to new research from Google and Millward Brown, securing the top spot on Google AdWords can increase the unaided awareness of your brand. Take a look at the brand increase achieved by Sprint:

Q: Thinking about companies that offer wireless phone services, which companies come to mind?

As you can see, Sprint achieved a 16% increase in brand awareness by securing the #1 position on Google AdWords.

Other interesting observations?

  • Securing the top spot also resulted in an 8% decrease in brand awareness for Sprint’s competitors.
  • Even if your AdWords ad only shows-up in the side-bar, you’ll see some brand lift.

Of course, Google’s releasing these numbers to help us all see there are benefits to using Google Adwords, that extend beyond the actual “click.” What I’ve asked to see next is this:

  • What’s the brand awareness increase for being #1 in the organic results and how does that compare with AdWords?
  • What about other industries (this was just cell phones)?
  • How much brand lift would a new brand (start-up perhaps) achieve from using AdWords? Surely these results were influenced by the fact that Sprint has spent hundreds of millions on its brand awareness already.
  • How does the increased bid cost of being #1 versus say, #8 correlate to the brand lift? Is it worth spending the extra money?

Anything you’d like to see Google study?

  • definitely google is releasing these figures to get more and more cutomers….

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  • Don

    Talk about interpreting results! There are so many issues with this release I don’t know where to begin:

    They should have started with companies that don’t have a lot of household recognition prior to advertising on Google
    They should have reviewed any additional variables that may have played an impact on the brand recognition and discussed why this data is reliable

    There are many others, but for brevity I’ll limit it to two. Somehow I doubt this was the most scientific analysis.

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  • YajR

    DO they tell you how they measured the brand awareness. Impressions?

  • @YajR – I believe it was a controlled study of around 1600 participants.

  • Hawaii SEO

    Sorry Andy but I’m going to call BS on this one until I read the testing methodology.

    Please point a link to the methodology if you can find one. ;^) It sounds like a bunch of smoke & mirrors to me.

    I’ve seen a lot of studies make this type of claim but I have yet to see a study like this that I could not rip apart.

  • @Hawaii SEO – so Google releases a study showing the benefits of AdWords and you think the testing might be biased? Well, duh! 😉

  • Yeah, going to have to agree with the above. While I’m sure there is a positive brand lift happening via AdWords, but 16% is a bit hefty. As Don says, how many of these surveyed had absolutely NO recognition of said product BEFORE the sampling?

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  • Yes, why don’t they release the methodology followed? Otherwise, this is very hard to believe.

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  • Can you give a link pointing the research, please?

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  • Guys – there is no link to the research. The above was shared with me via a telephone briefing–Google was, understandably, vague on the full details of the study. 🙁

  • This is a great study on branding but how much does securing the top spot cost?

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  • #12, you can;t easily put a price on the top position. It depends on your quality score and the quality score of your competition. Quality score is affect by relevance, CTR, historical CTR and CPC. That makes it very hard to estimate the cost of capturing the top ad position.