On March 3rd, Microsoft’s Bing and Yahoo! Search, also known as the Search Alliance, will update their trademark policies for the U.S. and Canada, no longer reviewing trademark keyword complaints. Both search engines will continue to investigate brand owner complaints related to trademark use in ad text. This move aligns Bing and Yahoo!’s policies with industry standards.
What does this update change for my brand’s keywords?
Prior to March 3rd, a marketer could not bid on a trademarked keyword, such as “Nike.” If another company bid on that term, the ad would have been directed to an editorial board and the trademarked keyword would have been either approved or denied, on a case by case basis. Typically, Microsoft would allow you to bid on the term if you were an aggregator, reseller, or an informational site. It would not approve the keyword if you were a competitor.
The updated policy allows a marketer to bid on a trademarked term, such as “Nike,” and the keyword is instantly placed online.
What does this update mean for advertisers?
Depending on the nature of your business, this change in policy could have a significant impact on your account.
If you’re a reseller such as Expedia, you can now bid on any airline to build awareness around anyone looking to travel with other brands. This provides additional exposure for a brand, such as Expedia, at the expense of other brands.
However, if you’re the airline, your costs may now increase due to more competition on your trademarked, branded terms. In addition, the airline or brand may lose volume as the page becomes crowded with additional ads that are now relevant to the searcher’s query.
Recommendations for advertisers
Monitor your brand’s identified branded terms to ensure that you are aware if any competitors begin to make significant investments on those branded terms and bidding to the first position for any high-performing branded terms across Google and Yahoo.
In addition, you might consider bidding on other branded terms in highly competitive markets. Although expensive, it may make sense as an awareness play for consumers that aren’t aware that a particular service or brand is available in their area.
- Microsoft Advertising: Intellectual Property Guidelines
- Ya!Bing: Your Brand Keywords Are Going To Cost More, But Don’t Blame Us — Blame Google