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From 14th September Google has announced that they will be bringing their UK trademark policy into line with the US – advertisers will now be able to include trademarked terms in ad text.
The policy states ads must use the term in a descriptive or generic way, and not in reference to the trademark owner or the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term. It also states that trademarks must be used in a nominative manner to refer to the trademark or its owner, specifically the following:
- Resale of the trademarked goods or services: The advertiser's site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to a trademark term. The landing page of the ad must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the goods or services corresponding to a trademark from the advertiser.
- Sale of components, replacement parts, or compatible products corresponding to a trademark: The advertiser's site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the components, replacement parts, or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trademark. The advertiser's landing page must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the components, parts, or compatible products corresponding to the trademark term from the advertiser.
- Informational sites: The primary purpose of the advertiser's site must be to provide non-competitive and informative details about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term. Additionally, the advertiser may not sell or facilitate the sale of the goods or services of a competitor of the trademark owner.
The most obvious beneficiaries of this will be retailers and resellers who will now find advertising a lot easier. For example do a search for Apple or Dell currently and you will see a lot of empty space down the right hand side or a lot generic ads that just don’t appeal. These brands are notoriously protective of their brand terms even with official resellers.
This of course will in turn improve the user's experience on Google as ads will improve in quality – they will be more accurate & relevant through closely targeted ad text. Generic ads can currently be very misleading to the consumer and don’t exactly speed up the search process.
What does this mean for I-COM clients?
Well for retail clients and official resellers this will make the job of writing ad text a lot easier! We would expect to see quick improvements in ads click through rates and quality scores as ad text becomes more accurate and relevant. We will of course see a rise in brand CPCs as the floodgates open and competition increases bids. The increases to brands on their own trademarks should be marginal though if they have a good quality score and relevancy built up historically.
Of course all is not lost if as a trademark owner you still want to protect your trademark. If you do not want resellers to use your trademark you can still prevent this through your relationship with them, or through your affiliate terms – just not through Google.
It’s worth also remembering that this policy change does not affect competitors – they will not be able to include trademarks, as stated above the ad text must link to a page relating to the trademark not a competitive product. Through stronger enforcement your brand will still be protected.