Branding with Pay Per Click?

Branding is all about getting inside people's memory. You want them to know what your company/product is all about, as soon as they hear or see your name or web address. It's obviously a long term marketing thing. You can't brand with one or two months of advertising. You need to allocate a budget for entire year or more if you want to position yourself as unique brand in consumer's mind.

Can this be achieved with PPC? Absolutely. Look at all the giant insurance companies. Geico is always at the top of PPC results. For years. They obviously have millions to spend on marketing, but it doesn't mean you couldn't do it too. With smaller budget, for main keywords you could keep advertising for years and sooner or later people would start typing your domain into address bar.

Search Marketing

Search marketing is considered direct response advertiser's marketplace. However with all the restriction on PPC, it can be easily considered brand advertiser's place. So how would you brand yourself in PPC space? Assuming you already created your USP, logo and the offer...

I'd suggest focusing on main broad match keywords. You want as many people to see your ads as possible, so target broad match. Target related, but short-tail keywords in this case. (Opposite to what you'd do strictly for ROI driven campaign). Now your CTR will be lower in this case. This means you need to take advantage of your ad to do the branding for you. In this case, copywriting for the action may not be your best choice. You should include in the ad your USP. Why you're different. Also use your company name in the as well. Those who don't click will see your ad anyway. When they'll see it enough times, they'll click on it.

Social Marketing

Facebook is ideal for brand marketing. Enormous amounts of people you can reach no matter if you have millions or only thousands in your credit card. On FB you can pay by CPM or CPC, but as long as we're talking about CPC here, let's continue with that.

Facebook will show your ad less often if your CTR is bad. So even for branding, you should keep your CTR high enough. Facebook has tons of impressions. CTR is usually 0.01% to 0.1% compared to 1% to 5% on search PPC. This means that 10x to 100x more people will see your message on social media network. FB allows you to use image. For branding, your logo may be your best shot. It will probably give low CTR, but it doesn't matter if you pay per click, until CPC becomes too high.

Social media is… well social. You have to treat it a bit differently. Think of all the FB users as your neighbors and not some strangers like on PPC. Connect to them. Give them something of value for free. Video marketing, webinars work well as a strategy to get people to buy from Facebook. You can't stuff these people with crap anymore as you can with cold and faceless internet. On Facebook they'll talk to each other, they'll comment about you. So you better come up with something that they'll love and appreciate, before you push them any one of your products.

Summary

Branding with PPC can be definitely done. But you must look at it as a long term strategy. You must have a memorable brand. You better have a good USP that kicks your competitor's asses if you want to do brand marketing effectively.

Even for brand marketing, you may want to develop different strategies for all mediums like search, contextual, social platforms. Social is definitely more different than search or general web marketing. So take time to come up with your plan. Prepare a monthly budget and don't back out. Again, this is not ROI campaign. Not that you can't brand profitably, but this isn't your goal at this time. Brand advertising can be measured to some extent, but it generally works by spending lots of money and then waiting for that inertia effect to kick in and keep producing you sales.