Eighty-six percent of brands buy ads against their own terms. However, non-branded terms seem to be more in demand as prices are higher (104% higher market value than branded terms) and they account for the majority (two-thirds) of traffic directed to brand sites. And while all brands used a unique mix of branded and non-branded terms for an overall search strategy, L2 was able to identify four dominant search strategies among Health Care brands.
Brand-oriented SEM: These brands are engaged in SEM but struggle to generate returns, mostly because they are bidding on expensive, competitive terms.
Category-oriented SEM: These brands appear to be using their SEM budget to acquire new customers. Their over-investment in unbranded key terms drives uncommitted visitor to their site.
Category-optimized SEO: These brands are fully-optimized, as they are able to drive traffic with unbranded keywords despite making smaller SEM investments. Ownership of a large market share in their categories makes that possible.
Brand-optimized SEO: These brand invest little in SEM, but their brand names drive traffic to their site.
As shown in the graph from L2’s Insight Report on SEO/SEM Strategies of OTC Healthcare, brands with a category and brand optimized SEO strategies yield a high number of organic results relative to their overall traffic. And brands with a brand-optimized SEM strategy yield the least number of organic results relative to organic search, being brands that defensively purchase their own brand terms. Additionally, certain search tactics are prevalent in certain sub-categories. For example, Allergy and Cold & Flu brands mostly use brand-oriented SEM as the high segmentation has made investments in paid search a competitive baseline. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, Pain Relief brands are less invested in SEM as 38% of brands have not purchased any traffic. Advil, Aleve, Excedrin, Motrin, and Tylenol – brands that do invest in SEM – are able to drive traffic to their sites by just relying on their brand names.