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4 Ways to Avoid Brand Blunders when using Google AdWords

These days AdWords offers a host of ways for our Client’s Brand to receive exposure through advertising, and a few ways to get your Client’s Brand into some awkward positions if you are not careful. 


Remarketing is a perfect way for a Client’s Brand to be put one of those awkward positions.  With Remarketing a website visitor’s browser is tagged with a tracking cookie that allows that browser to be identified anywhere on Googles vast Display Network so advertising can be served to this person.  In theory, it’s awesome, but it also can back fire when that tagged browser visits sites that contain inappropriate content and drag your Client’s Brand along for the ride.  How would it look to see a Toy Company’s Brand on a site that contained sexually suggestive or juvenile, gross and bizarre content?  Not only will your Client feel very unhappy if see their Brand tarnished by alignment with inappropriate content, your target audience might be creeped out of they feel their privacy has been violated because they are browsing content that may not be so much on the up and up.


Targeting Google’s Display Network and Search Network can also leave the door open for your Client’s Brand to show on websites that display inappropriate content or alongside search results that are inappropriate.   Careful targeting and thoughtful exclusions are very important.


Four easy ways to protect your Client’s Brand are:


  1. Display Keyword Exclusions
  2. Category Exclusions
  3. Topic Exclusions
  4. Placement Exclusions

Negative Keywords prevent your Client’s Brand from appearing alongside certain content or alongside certain search results through query matching.  Negative keywords can be included in Broad, Phrase or Exact match types to give you different levels of control.  There is a laundry list of negative keywords that most every Agency should routinely add to any account – use your imagination, now is not the time to be shy. 


brandblunders3.pngCategory Exclusions are one of my favorites.  There are categories of websites that I routinely exclude every time I launch a Remarketing or Display Network initiative for a Client.  There are plenty of easy choices to make here when it comes to excluding. Think about how many people may be on the company or family computer each day and all the websites these people in their different age ranges may visit.  Your Client could be at the mercy of plenty of strange Brand Blunders especially with Remarketing.  If you use your imagination I am sure you could come up with plenty of uncomfortable scenarios where you may possibly find a Client’s Brand in an uncompromising position – pun intended.


Topic Exclusions are great for excluding certain topics that are not a good fit for your Client’s Brand.   Perhaps Advertising for a Children’s Vitamin Brand does not belong on a site about Erectile Dysfunction?  My guess is nope, not a good fit. 




Placement Exclusions allow you to stay on top of things by reviewing your Placement Report to see where your Client’s ads have appeared and excluding what is not a good fit.  If any sites fall through the cracks of your other exclusion methods this will allow you to see where you need to make adjustments.


When an Agency is marketing their Client’s Brand it is important to protect that Brand as it was your own. The four steps outlined above plus diligent review and maintenance are key to avoiding brand blunders.

about Kim Clinkunbroomer

Owner, Clink Digital Marketing, Google Partner, AdWords Top Contributor 2006 to present. Our goal is to provide our Clients with the highest level of service to help reach their goals and grow their businesses. Contact: 847-361-3057

Asim K
February 2014
Great post Kim, just one point negative keywords in GDN don't prevent ads showing, but they make it less likely that ads will show on the page that contains the keywords.
Kim_Clink Top Contributor
February 2014

Thaniks Asim.


Negatives do work to prevent the ads from appearing along side content that is related to the negative keywords and is generally pretty effective when you are doing a complete job with identifying and adding negatives.  There could be a chance that the ads may still appear but that is why it is important to review the placement reports regularly and identify if there are and cracks that need to be filled by excluding placements.