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How To Identify And Eliminate Brand Bidding From Your Affiliate Channel

How To Identify And Eliminate Brand Bidding From Your Affiliate Channel?

Performance marketing took over the internet like a storm. Approximately 79% of marketers reported that affiliate marketing helped them better their engagement with pre-existing customers. Around 38% of the markets agree that affiliate marketing is the most effective form of acquiring more traffic. 

Affiliate marketing, when done correctly, improves the CTRs, increases the ROI, and decreases the CPCs of your paid advertising. Unfortunately, brand bidding is a growing problem in this industry. There are malicious affiliates out there who don’t hesitate to violate your terms and conditions to earn a little extra cash. 

While a majority of your affiliates might be bringing in incremental revenue, there are some “threat actors” who can consume your marketing ROI, increase your CPCs, and disintegrate your brand reputation, all with the assistance of brand bidding.

So, What is Affiliate Brand Bidding?

Brand bidding, in simple terms, is the action of incorporating branded keywords, including trademarks, brand names, slogans, etc, in your paid search advertisements. The objective of brand bidding is to divert traffic and potential customers away from the brand’s official website and direct them to the bidder’s own website or affiliate link. This can create confusion among consumers, dilute the brand’s message, and potentially harm the brand’s reputation. Brand bidding in affiliate marketing is considered unethical and may raise legal obligations in case of trademark infringement. 

Identifying Brand Bidding In Your Affiliate Channels 

Detecting brand bidding is challenging, but several techniques can help you spot and address this issue. 

Monitor Search Engine Results 

Regularly search for your brand’s name and related keywords on popular search engines. Look out for affiliate ads that show up in the paid results section. 

Analyze Affiliate activity

Keep a close eye on your Affiliate program’s performance metrics. Unusual spikes in traffic or conversions from specific affiliates may warrant further investigation. 

Review Affiliate Keyword Usage 

Request keyword reports from your Affiliates to assess whether they are bidding on your brand’s trademarked terms. 

Google Alerts 

Leverage Google alerts for your brand’s unique name and associated keywords. This will send you notifications whenever your brand is referred online, including in paid advertisements. 

What Is The Impact Of Brand Bidding On Your Brand?

Brand bidding can have several negative consequences for your brand, some of them include:

Cannibalization Of Organic Traffic 

When an affiliate’s paid ads rank higher than the brand’s organic search results, it can cannibalize the brand’s own traffic and reduce the chances of attracting organic visitors. 

Reduced ROI

Brands often pay a commission to affiliates for successful conversions. However, brand bidding can lead to increased advertising costs for the brand, reducing its profit margins. 

Brand Reputation

Misleading ads or websites set up by affiliates may not deliver the brand experience customers expect. This can lead to dissatisfaction, erode their trust in the brand, and damage the brand’s reputation. 

Competition For Trademarks 

Brand bidding can often start a bidding war for trademarked keywords, driving up costs for both the brand and affiliates and potentially wasting marketing budgets. 

How To Combat Brand Bidding?

There are multiple sets of techniques that can be utilized to combat brand bidding efficiently:

Use Trademark Monitoring Tools

Leverage trademark monitoring tools that can automatically detect unauthorized use of your brand’s name or trademarks in ad campaigns. These tools can help you stay vigilant and identify affiliates engaging in brand bidding activities more efficiently. Virus Positive Technologies (VPT) offers automated tools that evidently help internationally renowned brands identify and eliminate brand bidding in their designated affiliate channels and networks. 

Conduct regular audits and compliance checks 

Perform regular audits of your affiliate program to ensure compliance with your guidelines and policies. Check for any potential brand bidding violations and promptly address any issues that arise. Regular audits will serve as a deterrent for affiliates engaging in unethical practices. 

VPT’s Guide To Combating Brand Bidding 

Brand bidding in affiliate marketing can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation and revenue. By actively monitoring affiliate activities and setting clear guidelines, you can detect and eliminate brand bidding from your affiliate program. 

If you want automated help with diligently identifying brand bidding, contact Virus Positive Technologies. At VPT, we excel in brand compliance and monitoring of your affiliate network. Through automation, we successfully uncover the threat actors in your affiliate channels and assist you in recovering lost revenues due to affiliate fraud


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Gaurav Sethi | Co-Founder & CEO

Gaurav is a passionate people man who has worked on delivering business solutions and unlocking business value for a wide array of clients across different industry verticals and across different geographies. He has been an esteemed speaker at various Ad tech events for many years. With his pedigree rich in technology and business management, he has been an entrepreneur for over 15 years.

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