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SEARCH MARKETING: The AdWords trademark lift - threat or opportunity?

On May 5 Google changed its trademark policy for the UK and Ireland, opening up keyword bidding for trademarked keywords in Google AdWords. In essence this means anyone, including your competitors, can bid for your trademarked brand and appear in the Google sponsored links. However your trademark will still be protected from being used in the creative, the pay-per-click (PPC) ad copy itself.

What was the trademark restriction?
Previously, if you submitted a Google trademark complaint procedure you could prevent your competitors from bidding for your brand name in PPC ads served in the UK and Ireland. The benefit? You would be the only one in the paid listings appearing for your brand term, which meant it was cheap to drive traffic to your website through your protected brand term.

Meanwhile, the open market for bidding on trademarked brands has been in force in Canada and the US since 2004, allowing Hitwise to compare results. They show that 91.8 per cent of brands searches ended up on the brand owners' websites in the UK, compared to just 84.2 per cent in the US. This equates to a 7.6 per cent gap, equivalent to millions of searches every day.