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What’s your superhero strategy: Branded or generic keywords?

Group of people working on tablets around a table.

Did you ever notice that the most successful superheroes always work as a team? What would Batman be without Robin, Michelangelo without the other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Beatles without John Lennon?

There’s no difference with search advertising. When we looked at search trends in the UK Travel industry, we saw that 83% of conversions that were generated by a branded keyword search started off with a generic search term. So while generic search terms are less likely to convert immediately—68% of the journeys convert on a branded keyword search—they are often followed by a conversion.

The Microsoft Audience Network: Increasing brand superpowers

Simply investing in generic keywords and hoping for more branded searches to happen is probably not the best strategy. You’ll need a platform where you can get your audience’s attention after they’ve made a generic keyword search and present them a branded experience. For Microsoft Advertising, that’s our Microsoft Audience Network.

When we compared all customer journeys in the UK Travel industry with customer journeys that contained impressions on the Microsoft Audience Network, we saw that the branded journey was longer for the second group. A whopping 75% of customer journeys containing Microsoft Audience Network impressions start off with a generic search before converting to a branded search.

Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with—Iron Man

Infographic detailing why and when to use generic and brand keywords.

When is someone ready to make a branded keyword search?

Just like Batman won’t know when the Joker's ready to strike next, an advertiser won’t know exactly when to expect a branded search. However, in both cases there are clues. When we look at the data, we see that generic budget searches like “affordable holiday” are 47% more likely to turn into a branded search. Similarly, when a user makes a generic beach search like “holiday at the beach” within their first 5 searches, there’s a 22% chance their next search will be brand-led.

What would Wonder Woman do?

While branded keywords certainly drive conversions, we have demonstrated that generic keywords are needed to fuel branded searches. Our recommendation is to include both in your strategy and bring your brand to life with our Microsoft Audience Network and our rich Multimedia Ads.

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