Affiliate Marketing Trademark Bidding - JEBCommerce

Affiliate Marketing Guide to Trademark Bidding

Posted December 16, 2020 in ,
Last updated: February 21st, 2021

There are many different strategies affiliate partners use to promote an advertiser’s brand, product or seasonal promotions. One of the pro-level strategies affiliates use is trademark bidding. JEBCommerce shares insider tips in this ultimate guide to Affiliate Marketing trademark bidding.

Why Trademark Bidding?

There are 5 main reasons advertisers engage in Trademark Bidding:

  • Aggressively targeting new customer acquisition
  • Growth focused
  • Concerned about how your brand is being perceived by your customers
  • Want to control the costs of acquisition across all channels
  • Want to control as much of the narrative about your brand as possible

Trademarks encompass your brand, the brands you sell, your company name, your website url, etc. If your brand is established, customers who already know you are beginning their research or shopping journey using those trademarks to find you and your products.

But customers don’t stop there. Fickle and funny creatures they can be. They will augment their queries with additional terms. Things like “brand name coupon” or “brand name discount” or even “brand name reviews”. We call these things Trademark Plus bidding, the plus being an additional term to your brand name.

why monitor trademark bidding blog image of two men back to back on their mobile phones

Why Monitor Trademark Bidding?

If you aren’t watching the trademark plus bidding digital landscape, you need to right away. There are really two reasons to monitor and engage your efforts in this area, the first is protection and the second is optimization.

Brand Protection

Oftentimes the search results pages (SERPS) are the most common or first interaction your customers have with your brand. What shows up in that SERPs for your brand can be the lens through which they see your company and its products. 

You want to be monitoring and controlling what is going on here to make sure you control the story. 

You also most likely are engaged in SEM (or PPC bidding as it used to be called) to some degree. 

Not monitoring who, what and the how’s of what is going on here can increase the cost of your own campaigns or make them invisible completely.

Find out how to detect who is bidding on your branded keywords in the article, “Protect Your Brand from Affiliate Hijacking,” by JEBCommerce.

Brand Optimization

Think of the SERP as a painting showcasing all the important features and benefits of your brand. But alas, you can only have one paid listing yourself. So how do you paint more of the picture for your customer? Trademark bidding!

The Affiliate Marketing Guide to Trademark bidding covers who can bid on  how to set TM bidding rules for your affiliate partners and the reasons to allow trademark bidding.

setting the right rules for advertisers blog image illustration of three people looking at a giant clipboard

How Do I Set the Right Rules for Advertisers?

This is the area that makes or breaks the success of an affiliate trademark bidding strategy. Here are a few things to consider when you are creating your rules:

  • Who is currently bidding on your trademarks and trademark plus terms
  • How active is your own SEM
  • What budget is your current SEM campaigns under
  • Are there times of the day or of the week/month where your budget typically runs out
  • Are there terms or groups of keyword terms that your team hasn’t been able to convert and maintain profitability
  • Are there products or areas of your website that you haven’t found profitability through SEM
  • How cooperative is your SEM team and how open are they to work with another channel to achieve a higher overall revenue stream and lower overall costs

Once you have those things outlined, you need to take each of them into account in determining your rules. Here are some examples of rules we have used in the past:

  • Absolutely no trademark bidding allowed, no trademark plus, nothing
  • Bidding on trademark plus only, no trademarks
  • Close all SEM to affiliates in the terms and conditions and then work with only one or two hand selected SEM affiliates to construct the right terms of engagement and go forward with them only
  • Limit trademark and trademark plus bidding to after 5pm or after Friday evening when our corporate SEM budget typically is empty for the day/week
  • Limit bidding to certain products
  • Outline the exact keywords that affiliates can bid on
  • Outline the exact bid prices your selected affiliates can bid on
  • Bidding is allowed as long as they use the provided ad copy

You see, you can be as creative as you can imagine and as you need to be. We highly recommend working with one or two partners who have been down this road or contact us to get another point of view on your rules.

reasons to allow trademark bidding blog image illustration of two people shaking hands in a business transaction

5 Reasons to Allow Trademark Bidding by Affiliates

The reasons to allow trademark bidding, come down to 5 basic things:

  1. Protect your brand (keep traffic going directly to your site)
  2. Better coverage of your keywords
  3. Third party validation of discounts
  4. Increased exposure on affiliate sites
  5. Increased conversion rate

And I’ll add one more – increase the power of your budget. Many times, well, almost always, your SEM budget is finite. At some point it runs out. Affiliates can augment that, effectively making your budget unlimited and controlling your costs. Don’t allow fixed budgets to keep you from your most important keywords and from losing control of your brand messaging.

Affiliate Marketing TM Bidding Takeaways

  • Trademark bidding allows you to extend your budgets
  • Trademark bidding allows you to control the narrative about your brand
  • Trademark bidding helps you control your costs while increasing brand visibility
  • Trademark bidding should be engaged to protect your brand

The JEB team has over 75 years of collective experience in managing every aspect of affiliate marketing management. Our team is the most qualified in the industry and our track record proves it. Learn more about JEBCommerce.

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About the author

Morgan Hanigan

Senior Affiliate Manager

Connect with me on:
Morgan is a Gonzaga University graduate with a corporate CPG background in influencer marketing, social media, co-branded partnership campaigns and public relations for the grocery industry. Since joining JEBCommerce in 2018, Morgan has managed and driven revenue for some of our most profitable clients within the following industries: Tech, Health & Wellness, Automotive, Fashion, Outdoor Recreation and Home Décor. Morgan’s strategic thinking, goal-based strategies and knack for developing strong partnerships leads to consistent year-over-year growth for her clients. Outside of her work on the affiliate team, Morgan works closely with our team on agency marketing, content contribution and social media strategy. Outside of work, Morgan volunteers as president of a local marketing group, Spokane Regional Marcom Association. She also enjoys what can only be described as “making extensive messes” in the kitchen when she’s not spending time outdoors with her family enjoying the beautiful Inland Northwest. Certifications: CJ Ambassador, Impact Radius Certified, Rakuten Marketing Certified Agency Manager