The Missing Link in your Brand Protection Strategy
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One of the most important components of your brand protection strategy is a comprehensive, paid search monitoring program. After all, if you're going to spend time and invest money into building your brand, why not protect it?
Join CSC® Product Manager Mary Jo Murphy for a free webinar during which she will lend her expertise on getting the most out of paid search monitoring to enhance your overall online brand protection strategy. She'll cover topics like branded keywords, how to protect against rogue affiliates and abuse by competitors, and how failing to monitor your paid search can cost you revenue and damage the overall customer experience.
Additionally, we're delighted to host our guest speaker—Jonathan Elkin—from digital monitoring specialist BrandVerity. During this webinar, Jonathan will explain:
- The definition of paid search monitoring
- The five most common infringements
- How paid search monitoring fits into a comprehensive brand protection portfolio
- Quick wins to get you started
Anu: Hello, everyone. And welcome to today's webinar, "Paid Search Monitoring: The Missing Link in Your Brand Protection Strategy?" My name is Anu Shah. And I will be your moderator. Joining us today are Mary Jo Murphy and Jonathan Elkin. Mary Jo is a product manager at CSC. She manages various monitoring services, including trademark monitoring and customer training on the NameProtect monitoring portal. Previously, Mary Jo has also served as an online services representative at Thomson & Thomson for seven years and prior to that was a customer service representative at Dialog Information Services.
Jonathan leads BrandVerity's European operation from London, which he returned to in 2015 after spending three years in the United States. Jonathan has worked in the online brand protection industry since 2009 helping brands to protect themselves from trademark, compliance, and information security risks. And with that, let's welcome Mary Jo and Jonathan.
Mary Jo: Okay. Thank you, Anu. Good morning and good evening, everyone. And thank you for everyone who joined the called today. Just to go over the agenda, so move forward on the screen, the agenda for today's call, basically just we will review just the value of the paid search monitoring service to brands and why this area of infringement is very important to monitor. We'll also cover the common types of paid search violations. Also, cover the remediation and how to enforce or attempt to enforce on these paid search violations, everything from trademark infringement and things like that.
And then also the integrated brand product, brand protection, strategy and how paid search monitoring fits into that overall process that we feel is very important for brands on this call. We will also review several case studies of say, in this case, Getty Images and Sonos of their experience with paid search and how monitoring-assisted the brands with their enforcement of their IP rights. Then we'll follow up, just conclude with some questions and answers. And as Anu mentioned, that we do have a Q&A widget for any questions that you might have. And with that, I will hand it over to Jonathan.
Jonathan: Wonderful. Thank you very much indeed, Mary Jo. And a very good morning, good afternoon, or indeed good evening, depending on where you are dialing in from today. Thank you very much indeed for joining us. It's difficult to know exactly what everyone knows about paid search and who's on the webinar today. And so I wanted to start off with some guiding principles just to help us all get on the same page. Working in a clock-wise direction from the definition, "What is paid search?" whether it is advertising within the sponsored listing of a search engine or a partner website, typically resulting in the brand owner paying the publisher every time that your ad is clicked.
Now, this channel doesn't just go by paid search. It also can be known as PPC, which stands for pay-per-click. SEM, which stands for search engine marketing, which historically actually was all-encompassing of both paid search and search engine optimization or SEO, but more recently it's been known to only refer to paid search. SEA, which is search engine advertising, which is very commonly used on the continent here in Europe. And if you look up any titles of individuals working in Germany, you'll notice that SEA is a common title there. And lastly, AdWords, which is referring specifically to Google's platform, Google AdWords, which actually is used very commonly in France for referring to paid search as a whole.
And working our way around in the clock-wise direction, we've got protect your branded keywords. Now, when customers do search for your brand, you want to make sure that that customer can convert directly through your paid or organic listings and, of course, at the lowest possible price. We'll go into a little bit more detail about why branded keywords are important and the other types of keywords that may be of interest to monitor later on in the presentation.
And lastly, we have balance promotion with protection. Companies invest significant amounts of money in the PPC channel. And we're talking millions, if not billions, of dollars over time. And that's because it has a very high return on investment, but also or equally, appealing to this channel are the low barriers of entry and for individuals to go ahead and create their own paid search ads. And this, therefore, suggests that brands should adequately protect these investments that they're making to promote their brands worldwide. Essentially, it is this scale and the reach of the search engine platforms that provide both a great opportunity, but also creates a lot of the challenges, for brand owners. And for those of you who are interested, if you do search for Google's and Bing's bad ads studies, you can learn more about their proactive efforts to police this channel.
So let's take a look at the search engine results page and the different component parts. And to start with, one of many acronyms today. We've already gone through a couple. Let's talk about the SERP. As you can see here, we've got a search engine results page that was created from Google Desktop in the London and UK a couple of weeks ago by searching for the keyword "Nike shoes." Now, just below that search bar, we can see that there are a couple of paid search ads, one placed by Nike and the other placed by Farfetch. Below that, we have the first of many organic listings or the SEO listings. And you can see here that Nike in the first position for both PPC and for the SEA rankings. And this is an optimum setup and/or an optimum outcome for this particular SERP that Nike would be looking for when they set up their search strategy. As studies have shown that if an ad and an organic listing of SERP both in the first position, this typically results in the highest rate of conversion.
And lastly on the page here, you can see on the right-hand side we have the Google shopping ads or product listing ads or to throw another acronym at you, the PLAs. These have been adopted and, indeed, invested with higher allocations of budget as the years have progressed. And you can see that it's in a very predominant position here on the SERP.
Now, as we move forward, we can see a different SERP that looks quite similar to the previous one. And this is a Bing Desktop. And you can see here, again, a similar layout. We've got ads from Nike, JD Sports, and Skatehut. We can't quite see the organic listings here because Bing typically will be showing more ads on their search engine results pages. On the right-hand side, you can see an informational section about Nike, the organization. And just below that, you can see the title "Shop for Nike Shoes," whereby if you were to scroll down, you could see the Bing shopping ads just below there.
Now, if you were to search the same keywords combination, "Nike shoes," on the mobile variations of Google and Bing, as you can see in these two screenshots that have appeared within the presentation view, you'll notice that there is a very similar component to these SERPs, but again, in a slightly different layout. So on this occasion, we've got the shopping ads that are coming first in terms of what the user can see on the much smaller screen. And they are then followed by the paid search ads, and then following that, the natural or organic listings.
As the prevalence of mobile increases for consumers in terms of how they navigate to make purchasing decisions or learn about organizations, and you can obviously draw some conclusions, but it will be as important to focus on paid search as a channel in terms of your brand protection strategy and as it is to focus on the desktop and the current volumes of traffic that your company may or may not be acquiring through PPC.
Ads can be highly targeted, both to full brand owners, as well as infringers. They can be very specific with when and where their ads appear. Now, this could be great when brand owners are trying to connect with a target audience in a cost-effective manner, but it can also make it possible for infringers to place their ads in a systematic way to avoid being detected and maximize the return on their own investments in PPC.
Now, as we look at these five bullets, a brand might, for example, choose to have their ads appear on any keyword search that includes their brand term. So if we were to use Nike shoes or Nike, as an example, they may wish to appear on any search for Nike, Nike shoes, Nike sneakers, etc. However, an infringer may choose to target the misspellings of Nike, Nike with two E's, for example, or perhaps a misspelling of their primary domain name, so "www Nike com," for example, is a very commonly targeted keyword in paid search by infringers.
Now, a brand may well specify where they wish their ads to appear in terms of location. However, typically, they're quite far-reaching targeting those cities. And that's where their primary audiences are located. However, the infringer might will try to be clever and only place their ads in locations that are away from that brand owner's headquarters. And the reason why they've done that historically is because if the brand owner does not have an automated monitoring solution and they are just checking on Google once every couple of weeks to see what ads appear, then the infringer's ads won't appear on any of those manual searches being conducted within the office of that brand's headquarters because they're targeting their ads elsewhere and all the other search engine results pages within that country potentially.
Time of day for the search. This is also important because the infringers may well choose to only place their ads outside of the office hours and for which that brand owner's headquarters are operating, very much for a similar reason to the location being a variable that they might try to manipulate to avoid being detected by the manual lookup efforts of the brand owner.
The search engine used. Well, the brand may choose only to advertise in Google and Bing also the primary search engine in most countries worldwide. However, the infringer may choose to target those other search engines where there are not paid search ads, whether it's the mobile variation or the desktop variation. The device consumers are searching from is also an important factor where ads can be targeted because as we see with many infringers, we see a prevalence towards Google Mobile for many different brands. And not only because it isn't being monitored actively by a brand owner, but also, as we saw, the paid search ads arguably have a better position on the page before you have to scroll down and look at the organic listings.
So for all these five reasons, ads can be very targeted to brand owners and infringers, but most importantly and to consider as a brand owner, it's very, very difficult to try and replicate these variables manually. You have to imagine that you would have to have members of staff in different cities throughout the country that you're operating in and ready to run a search on their mobile and on their computer across multiple search engines and to repeat this process on multiple keywords in that given space of time and then repeat that whole process again 15 minutes later or an hour later, whatever the frequency of searching that is being conducted.
So let's take a look at some brand-specific data then to just give a little bit more context around the importance of paid search as a channel. We can see here the headline, "30 million nike.com visitors came from Search over the last 6 months," but, of course, search may not necessarily be a high-priority channel for every single brand, but we can use free tools like similarweb.com. And you can see the source in the bottom right-hand corner there just to help give an indication as to the importance of search. Of course, even better, you could have a discussion with your digital marketing or e-commerce leader. And that will obviously uncover a more accurate representation of the importance of search in the marketing mix.
At nike.com, we can see that over the last 6 months, they had about 60 million visitors and of those 60 million visitors, about 44% of them came through search, the most important channel in terms of the percentage of traffic captured across these six different channels highlighted at the bottom in that bar graph there.
To give another perspective on the broad consumer reach of search engines, let's take a look at some recent data from Google. And this shows that on a monthly basis, there's an estimated 10 million plus searches per month on different variations of Nike shoe keywords. And so this is very far-reaching. And this is only looking at the Google platform.
But, of course, Google is not the only search engine that's out there, as we can see from the next graph here that's been pulled from statcounter.com. And they certainly are the world's market leader worldwide with an approximately market share of around 90%, but, consumer preferences can change by market, as we can see with this second graph here, which is representing the search engine market share across China. This, of course, presents a fantastic opportunity for brands to develop their marketing strategy using PPC to promote their brands worldwide, but equally, it makes the challenge of protecting their brands and their marketing investments in this channel even more challenging.
Moving onto the second section, we're going to have a look at the common types of paid search infringements. And we will focus on some brand-specific examples that have been identified recently. And you will notice that the examples reflect SERPs or search engine results pages generated by searching for branded keywords. And as we alluded to on the first slide of this presentation, this is a very important distinction from other keyword sets like generic or competitive keywords. And that's because branded keywords arguably are the most important for brands to protect. And I'll give two reasons for that. The first is the customers searching for branded keywords are most likely to convert. And that is because they have a good idea what they are searching for. And, therefore, they are most likely to click on the ad and one of the first results that they see on the SERP once it has been generated on the screen.
Secondly, there is less competition on branded keywords. And as a result, the marketing costs, the bid on these keywords, is much lower. These lower barriers to entry, however, do make branded keywords very appealing for infringers to capitalize on as, of course, the costs are cheaper. And they are hopefully, from their perspective, going to capitalize on these higher click-through rates or CTRs.
So let's look at the first type of PPC violation, trademark infringement. And we've got an example here that we're going to talk through for Adobe. Now, before I go through the specifics of this example, I just want to give and share three ground rules that are very important to try and remember when thinking about whether or not an ad is or is not infringing your intellectual property rights.
Now, the first rule is . . . Well, they seem to be bidding or the customer seems to be searching for adobesignup.com. Now, is that allowed? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. The search engines do not prohibit any advertiser from using different companies' branded keywords in their PPC campaign strategy. So you may have ads appearing on your company's branded keyword by your competitors. What is not, however, allowed is if your competitor or a third-party advertiser chooses to then use your trademark within the ad copy.
Now, if the first rule is that brand bidding is allowed, the second rule to remember is where in the world was the ad detected because if the ad was detected in the country which was primarily English-speaking or part of the European Union, then you have to consider whether or not the landing page content of that ad, the website, contains relevant information or resale of that company's products. And this is recalled a reseller and informational policy. Because in English-speaking countries or a country within the European Union, if a company bids on your keyword and then uses your trademark within their ad copy and the landing page does give relevant information or resell your products, then, unfortunately, you cannot have that ad taken down using the search engine takedown procedures.
So the first rule, brand bidding is permitted. The second rule, we have to consider the reseller and informational policy for adverts that have appeared in the English-speaking or European Union. And the third rule is where within the ad copy is the trademark referenced? Because if the trademark is only referenced within the display URL, which is the green part of the ads that you can see on the screen here, then, unfortunately, the search engines do not accommodate for this violation within their policies.
If you do see an advertiser who is using your trademark very heavily within the display URL of paid search ad copies, then you would have to take an alternative form of action outside of the search engine's takedown procedures, likely through a direct communication or engaging your trademarks, your legal team's intellectual property team, to be able to enforce your trademark outside of those search engines processes.
The three rules in summary, brand bidding is allowed. Consider the reseller and informational policy and when thinking about where is the ad detected. And finally, where is the trademark used within the ad copy? It must be within the title, which is the blue line here, or the description of a text, which is everything apart from the green display URL.
So let's take a look at this particular infringement for Adobe with those considerations in mind. We can see that this SERP was created here on Bing Desktop on the keyword "search Adobe signup." And I've highlighted the ad in question that we're going to look at the landing page on the right-hand side. And we can see this was placed by pdffiller.com.
And you can see in the text of their ad that it was referencing Echo-Sign alternative. Now, Echo-Sign is a product of Adobe and is likely a trademark that is registered here in the UK where this ad was generated. And because it isn't the UK, we do have to look at the ad's landing page to see if the reseller and informational policy applies.
Now, on the landing page, we can see that PDFfiller has decided to go with the headline banner, "PDFfiller is everything Echo-Sign is and more." There's no information about Adobe or their product. There is no reselling of that particular product. It is purely a competitor who is bidding on their keywords, which is allowed, but then using their trademark to essentially disparage the product, which is not permissible by the search engines and would be eligible for takedown.
Let's look at a second example here. So here we have an example from Nike fitting with the theme of Nike shoes. And we can see three different ad copies under the ad column that were identified across Yahoo and Bing and Bing Mobile. And if I was to focus in on the second ad copy there, you can see that macys.com here, a U.S. retailer, is offering 25% off Nike's shoes. Now, this is an English-speaking country .This was identified actually in the United States. And so the reseller and informational policy does apply. We can see that Nike is being used within the text. So let's have a look at the landing page. So when I went to the landing page, it actually results in a directory for Macy's. So I ran a search to see if they do actually stock Nike products. And when I ran that search, I couldn't find any Nike products available in their directory.
So this would be another example of trademark infringement. And if Nike don't have a relationship with Macy's through perhaps previous relationships through reselling and stocking their products, then they may choose to also submit this ad for takedown.
And the last incident of trademark infringement we're going to take a look at today is for Jimmy Choo. Now, this particular infringement was found in the United Kingdom. And so, of course, the reseller and informational policy applies again. For this particular example, you can see that it was found at the top of the page.
And so from a customer experience perspective, it may be a bad thing if it is indeed infringing, but you can see where in the ad copy that Jimmy Choo is only referenced this time within the display URL. And so this would not be eligible for takedown. Rather, when we look at the landing page, we can see on this occasion that Yoox, which is part of the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, and do indeed stock Jimmy Choo's products. And, therefore, even if they were not an authorized reseller, this would not be an ad that would be eligible for takedown a) because they're not using the trademark in the text or the title of the ad copy and b) because the landing page does resell their products.
This moves us nicely into the second type of violation, which is a reseller violation. Because if this, indeed, Jimmy Choo, were a reseller of Nike and they would likely want to take a softer approach towards remediation, which we will come to later on in the presentation. And for this particular example, we have Atlassian, who are an Australian enterprise software company, that develops products for software developers. Now, it is common for organizations to want to try and fill the search engine results pages with ads that are their own, as well as their resellers, just to try and increase the likelihood that a customer does not click on a competing ad or a competing organic listing, for that matter.
However, if Atlassian did have rules in place with this advertiser, elasity.io, and then they may well be violating the terms and conditions of that agreement that they have in place with that partner. Equally, if they did allow them to brand this, but they had a rule which meant that their partners could not or their resellers could not rank above them on the search engine results page, and you can see Atlassian's ad is in the second position here, then this may be another violation of that reseller agreement that they have in place. And they would have to go about trying to correct it.
If we look more broadly at all of the different advertises over a period of time that were appearing on the Atlassian's keyword, we can see in terms of the number of ads that were detected. Atlassian were coming out at the top by some margin. And elasity.io were appearing 14th in terms of the number of ads found. And so there may well be other opportunities to address advertisers who are other resellers or other partners of Atlassian to try and undertake a similar investigation to determine whether or not they too are infringing the reseller agreement that is place between the two organizations to try and get some quick wins and try and ask them to correct their behavior and make sure that only the correct ads appear on the SERP and that the ads appear in the correct order.
Moving onto a different type of partner, marketing partner, OTAs, and we're specifically looking at IntercontinentalHotels Group here or IHG, within the travel sector, there is a lot of competition on the SERP by hotels, airlines, and online travel agencies or the next acronym for today, OTAs. Most OTAs are likely to be a marketing partner contracted by the hotel or the airline to bring them traffic. And as a result, they do generate significant revenue for the brand, but as a result of this increased revenue, a lot of it does stem from branding. And so OTAs can significantly increase a company's marketing costs through the increased demand for those branded keywords from their PPC campaigns respectively. And they can also result in lower margin sales, if the customers are purchasing the inventory, the hotel room or the flight, through the OTA rather than directly through the hotel or the airlines ads on subsequent websites.
Brands need to have as much visibility as they can into this type of activity. And so then that way, they can evaluate their increase in their marketing costs from competing on paid search campaigns on their branded keywords, but also they need to weigh that up against the expected revenue or historical revenue, that the OTAs are bringing them so that they can figure out what rules they want to put in place in terms of who can appear on their branded keywords. And potentially, they might allow an OTA to appear on what we call the long tail of keywords, which might be, for example, Marriott Charlottesville hotels or Marriott New York deals, but they might strictly prohibit the likes of Expedia and Booking from appearing on their exact match term for Marriott or Marriott Hotels.
As we look at the data on this particular slide, you can see over the months of May this year that of the top five advertisers by volume of ads found, 80% of those ads were placed by OTAs, and only 20% placed by IGH. Now, of course, as we think about the partnership agreement, IGH may well be happy to fill the SERP with those ads by OTAs that are indeed promoting their own inventory. However, if it is an OTA that is not promoting their inventory and is not a contracted partner, then that would likely be a priority for them to follow up on and try and address as quickly as possible.
Now, counterfeit ads, well, counterfeit products and gray market goods, it's about a $500 billion industry these days. And PPC can definitely be used as a communication or a promotional vehicle for counterfeit websites worldwide. And it is a global issue. And so search engines do take counterfeiting very seriously indeed.
An example that we have here is for the luxury brand Burberry. And for this particular ad, you can see that the advertiser, graziadaily.co.uk, is promoting an 89% off offer on Burberry scarves, as well as free shipping worldwide. Now, even if this was an authorized reseller of Burberry, I'm sure, and based on their branding guidelines, they would not want to have advertised their resellers creating ad copy and promoting this level of discounts. And therefore, this would likely be something, even if this wasn't a counterfeit example, which it is, to actually be promoting on the internet.
Now, just below the ad copy there, you can see there are three numbers. And this represents the redirects that took place, once the ad was clicked. Now, the first redirect, and when you try to watch these on your screen, they go extremely quickly. I'm sure you've seen them before, but the first redirect goes to a goo.gl URL short net. And this is a very common tactic by infringers to essentially try to analyze where the traffic is coming from firstly because if they're suspicious that it might be an alternated solution that's trying to uncover who they are, they might choose just to perhaps resolve the ad to the correct website, burberry.com. However, on this occasion, the infringer decided to follow this redirect with a second redirect to try and complicate the journey for the end consumer and finally resolve to burberry.uk.net.
I can't say I'm an avid shopper of Burberry myself. However, if I was to resolve on this website and those redirects were to complete very quickly without me paying very much attention, perhaps I just looked away from the screen for a moment, then if I got to this landing page, I might definitely be convinced to go ahead and make a purchase here. At the very least, I might choose to give up my credentials, my financial credentials, but I might end up with a counterfeit product, I might end up with a gray market good, or I might end up with no product at all.
And, of course, there are differing levels of severity based on what the product is as to whether or not it could harm the consumer, based on I'd say what it is and whether it malfunctions, for example. But regardless, and this would be an ad that has been promoted through paid search, by bidding on Burberry's keywords, that is resulting in users being scammed to go to a counterfeit website and to potentially purchase counterfeit products.
Now, affiliate violations. And if you're not familiar with affiliate marketing, this is a channel essentially where members of the public are paid a commission for driving an action, typically a sale. However, this channel can create problems for brands. Affiliates are really looking to make a quick buck and by promoting their offers and then trying to make as much money as they can before they move onto their next affiliate program for a different organization.
And, of course, there are affiliates who are long-term affiliates for individual brands. And they do conduct themselves with the correct practices. And they establish very good rapports with brands. However, on occasion, we do find that affiliates are indeed looking for those quick wins by promoting their offers in paid search. And if they are, of course, they are likely very limited to consequences, maybe kicked off the program or given a warning, and then perhaps kicked off on a second occasion.
Now, a brand's affiliate program that is usually launched by what we call an affiliate network. And the affiliate network acts as a conduit or a middleman to both recruits, pay affiliates amongst a bunch of other administrative deliverables. It's the T&Cs that are in place, the terms and conditions, between the affiliate network and the affiliates that strictly prohibits brand bidding from most affiliate programs. So it could well be worth understanding if your organization has an active affiliate program and where those affiliate programs are located worldwide and with which affiliate networks they are currently running.
For this particular example, if I were to put something on the screen and stop keeping you in limbo, we'll see an example here for Jumia. Jumia is the leading e-commerce platform across Africa. And this particular SERP was found on Google Desktop in Egypt. And we can see that the keyword search was "Jumia Facebook." We can see the first ad has been placed by Facebook themselves. And a second ad has been placed by what appears to be Jumia using their Egyptian top-level domain, .com.eg.
Now, if I were to click forward, you'll notice a box in the bottom right-hand corner that shows a rather more complex serious of redirects, but with a very similar nature to what we saw moments ago for Burberry. On this occasion, we're seeing the first redirect or what we call the fronting website being yabs-yandex.ru. The traffic then redirects through to the affiliate's tracking links, which helps us to uncover who they are, but also allows the brand owner, Jumia, once they finally resolve through to their website and make a purchase, to track back to see where the traffic came from. See it came from this affiliate and ultimately pay them a commission because they're not able to see whether the traffic originated from a PPC ad.
And then the last of our six I should say of the PPC violations that we're going to be taking and looking at today is related to fraud. And like any online risk, it's very important to evaluate the risk return for proactively monitoring that channel, but unfortunately, fraud does occur across many online channels from email to domain name infringement through to PPC. And this provides another opportunity for infringers with a quick in and out strategy to collect customer credentials and benefit financially.
Now, the next two examples we'll be looking at phishing and the vishing example or voice-based phishing and via the telephone. For this first particular example here, we can see for Lloyds Banking Group that there were various phishing scams using different display URLs there in green. The first one being lloyds-logon.uk.com found in the top position on Bing in August last year. Then we have a similar example, this time using the domain lloydsbgnk.co.uk, again in the top position, this time on Bing Mobile. And lastly, we have a violation found in Cardiff in Wales in the United Kingdom under domain name lloydsbnnk.com. The ultimate goal here being to get individuals to click through to that website, insert their customer credentials, and ultimately be scammed.
With a similar view, we have these potential phishing ads. I'll load them both up on the screen. We put "potential" because we're not able to validate if these were or were not vishing scams, excuse me. The idea here being that the user searches for these branded keyword combinations. On the left, we've got a result on Google Mobile for Esure claims line. And we can see the top ad is requesting the user to call a telephone number here in the UK. That telephone number might be one of two things. One, it might be a premium line, which might end up costing that user a lot of money and result likely in a complaint through to the customer services team of Esure or, even worse, it could be someone, an agent, on the end of the line, asking them for their login credentials or some banking details before they proceed any further and result in their fraudulent scam being targeted against them.
And the old adage in online brand protection goes, "There is no point monitoring if you don't take action." And so on the following slide, I'll walk you through some of the different options available to remediate these risks and either by an automated solution or indeed on a case-by-case basis. And as I mentioned at the top of the presentation today, these slides will be circulated afterwards. And so those hyperlinks in the next slide you'll be able to click on and navigate through the relevant landing pages.
Now, we're going to look at the four different groupings of PPC violations. So we've got trademark infringement, partner violations, whether it's a reseller, online travel agency, or affiliates. We've got counterfeit ads, which, of course, came out a moment ago as the violation of most interest for today's participants. And then we have fraudulent ads there, which was the second most of interest PPC violation category.
As we work from top to bottom, we'll just work through and firstly the trademark infringement. So firstly, we always recommend that brands register their trademarks with the search engines. There is a process that they have in place. It is designed to prevent advertisers within the same trademark class as yourselves from using your trademark within the ad copy.
It does work, to a degree. I typically like to refer to it as a safety net. It, of course, doesn't prevent advertisers outside of that trademark class from misusing the trademark. And on some instances, as we saw with Adobe, it can also slip through the cracks in terms of potentially that trademark class and whereby competitors are competing against one another. However, registering your trademark with a search engine is certainly a good first step.
Next, we encourage you to understand the search engine's policies. Absolutely, service providers are there to help you and to keep you up-to-date with the latest policies. However, as shared with you earlier, there can be some nuances when we talk about trademark infringement when it comes to things like where was the ad found, is the ad's landing page referring to the reseller and informational policy, and therefore is not eligible for takedown? Where in the ad copy is the trademark used, etc.? And so understanding the search engine's policies to determine if an ad is indeed a trademark infringement is very important indeed.
Submitting ads for takedown using the search engine's takedown process in regularly and in bulk. And the hyperlink, once you receive the presentation, will take you through to that form for submitting ads on a one-by-one basis using the search engine's takedown processes. However, it is recommended that you do undertake this exercise regularly and that you do that across a much broader set of ads than just one by one because, of course, you don't know what you don't know.
And once you've got a perspective as to the number of ads that are being cased by a given infringer, you obviously want to try and make as much impact for the protection of your intellectual property and the improvement of your marketing efforts in PPC as you can. And, therefore, if you can do this with frequency, typically, it will then deter those infringers from using your trademark because they're not getting any return on their spend. Their ads are being taken down promptly. And they're not getting many users clicking through on their ads and resolving to their websites.
Moving through to partner violations, and so as alluded to earlier, the most important thing is to first to be aware as to what is happening and then, if necessary, establish partnership agreements, whether it's with your resellers who are perhaps bringing you little traffic, but appearing in a lot of SERPs, therefore increasing marketing costs, whether it's with the OTAs or indeed the affiliates. Once those partnership agreements are established, which may cover things like are they allowed to brand it? Are they allowed to outrank your own ads? Is the ad copy, does it have any restrictions and such as branding guidelines or regulatory guidelines? And does the landing page content only have to reference that brand owner's inventory?
Those are various things that might go into the creation of that partnership agreement. And once you've got the partnership agreement in place, of course, it's important to then monitor that and enforce any non-compliance from those partners. Of course, this is a softer approach than sending ads through to the search engines for takedown. However, based on the number of ads that have been placed by various advertisers, you may see a greater impact to your brand and your PPC strategy from enforcing against the partners, rather than the trademarking infringement. And on some instances, it will be the other way around.
Now, counterfeit ads. Now, obviously, it's important to take down the landing page content, for which there's a service that providers like CSC and others are very well-established and well-versed and into boarding brands with. However, if you do choose to take down the ad's content, which is obviously highly recommended, it is also important to probably do your best to cut the neck of the snake, so to speak, and try and take down the paid search ad itself. And you can do that by submitting through a similar process to the trademark infringing ads, but it's actually a separate form that you have to fill in. And it goes through to a different team at the search engines for remediation.
And then fraudulent ads, so a similar kind of remedial steps here to a counterfeit ad. Take down the landing page content as a priority. Again, something that CSC excels in and other service providers, as well, but if you wish to take down the ads, as well, that is creating the promotion, the communication, for that phishing website. Then the actual submission process for fraudulent ads is the same as the process for trademark infringing ads. You know, essentially in PPC, the volume of infringements is so high. So it is key to prioritize risks and the subsequent impact to your business.
For one business, this may be addressing a significant loss of traffic to fraudulent affiliates. For another, it might be establishing and enforcing rules with their resellers and obviously likely financial services that's going to be some sort of component of addressing phishing and vishing, but whatever the decision is, it's likely to be based on the scale of the problem. And so trying to figure out how many ads are being placed by each advertiser is obviously very important.
And regardless of the PPC violations, the nature of the PPC violations, that we've broken down into four categories here, the more ads that a brand owner can remove, then the less demand that will be on their branded keywords from a PPC perspective, which in turn can help your own marketing teams to capture more traffic and lower their own costs from bidding on those branded keywords.
For those who are well-versed in remediation strategies across other online channels, it's well worth noting that for PPC, there aren't any additional costs when it comes to remediation and for submitting ads to the search engines or, indeed, communicating with partners who are violating those partnership agreements.
Mary Jo: Okay. So I'll take over the next few slides quickly where just to talk about the integrated brand protection strategy that, you know, where does paid search fall in this overall picture? And pardon me. I'll take my hand off the mouse, Jon. So we do see very succinct steps at CSC for brand protection. And our talk today really is focusing on the monitoring and enforcement, which as you see, is step four here.
And it's really just the monitoring for these, say the what your customers, your clients, are seeing when they're searching for your brand that you want to prioritize these infringements because this is a key channel, as we can see with the information that Jon has provided earlier, that the numbers of search engines, search results, across the world or even say just 90% of it being on Google or even now much more on mobile searches as well, that this is very say a vital area to enforce, to monitor, as well, as enforce.
So here, we basically start out with, "Well, who is this challenge geared towards?" You know, the folks on the call, we really have seen in the past through experience that marketing departments, really this is your digital ad revenue, right, your ad spend, and whether the expenses because of infringements in this channel are affecting your marketing, advertising, spend.
And so also, the legal folks for when it's that trademark infringement that results in the customer confusion, which could potentially be reduced, customer loyalty, or even damage to customers because of these ads directing to malware perhaps. And then the IT groups of folks, whether it's domain, you know, they are concerned about domain traffic. And that can definitely be affected by these bad actors, whether it's the affiliate behavior that's not acting the way they should or by just these mad malware-producing entities.
So the challenge that we have today, which we really wanted to just cover today, is these different, how do you deal with the brand sentiment when, for example, the affiliate ad can replace a brand's ad with their own and that's going to take away the brand owner's control of their own message or trademark abuse, as we saw in the slides from Jonathan. Cyber crime is a huge issue, as we know, globally where there was a recent study that showed that 14% of searches on a branded term led these, say your clients, your potential clients, 14% of the time led them to a site that was not that legitimate brand's site.
These are all concerns that say folks on the call, you know, can definitely learn from this particular channel and the value of monitoring it. And so for where the . . . as we saw with Jonathan's slides, there's so many different channels that your clients or potential clients are going to and that the customers are savvy. They know how to search online. And these channels are expanding constantly that allows for more and more customized and instant communications that are reaching your clients. So all of these are the channels that will all work together. And, again, this paid search monitoring is a vital part of that overall strategy. The next slide. I'll hand it back over to Jonathan for some case study discussions.
Jonathan: Great. Thank you very much, Mary Jo. And I'm conscious of time that we have five minutes left. And so for the purposes of the case studies, what I will do is simply flash up on the screen the headlines and forget the images and make you aware that within the source in the bottom right-hand corner, you can navigate to these web pages upon receipt of these slides. And you can read through the case studies in a little bit more depth.
The case study for Getty Images, and we're specifically looking at how they have utilized a bulk submission process with frequency and with regularity through to the search engine to protect their iStock brand. And for Sonos, we're looking more so at trying to make improvements to the compliance of their affiliate program. And that specifically is talking about removing what we call ad hijacks, which we saw for Burberry and Jumia where someone creates an imitation ad with the goal of trying to receive an unnecessary commission and obviously increase the marketing costs of those violated brands.
Anu: Great. Thank you again, Jonathan and Mary Jo. The information was extremely insightful. Folks, thank you for joining us. That is all the time we have today. If we didn't get to your question, we will contact you with a response after the webinar. We hope to see you next time.