Google Trademark Policy Update

May 14, 2009

In a move that no one saw coming, Google has just announced that they WILL allow advertisers to have trademarks in their ads even if they are not the owner.

Make no mistake, this is a big deal.

Currently the policy is that advertisers are allowed to advertise on trademarked terms, but they are not allowed to use it in their ad copy.  As you can imagine, bidding on trademarked terms and not having the ability to use that trademark in your ad tends to get pretty expensive in terms of higher CPC’s from low CTR and low Quality Scores.  An example of this would be bidding on a term like ‘yamaha speakers’ and having to use some general, loosely relevant headline like, ‘name brand speakers.’  Obviously when the user sees the general ad, he/she is not sure if you are selling yamaha speakers or selling other brands of speakers.  This has long been a very big pain point for many resellers of trademarked products.

Here are the types of advertisers that will now be able to bid on trademarked terms:

  • If you are a reseller of trademarked goods or services
  • If you sell components or replacement parts for trademarked products
  • If you run an informational site as long as you are providing non-competitive and informative details about the products or services

Starting on May 18th you can submit ads with trademarks, and these ads will begin to show on Google on June 15th.

So let’s talk about the winners and losers.

1.  Increased query to ad text relevancy = higher CTR = more clicks from same level of traffic
2.  They can drop their painful editorial process that is costly and labor intensive

Better CTR’s and better Quality Scores!

Trademark Owners
With everyone being able to use trademarked terms in ad copy, it will now make their ads blend in with the rest of the landscape.  Previously, the trademark owner benefited by being the only ad with bolded text on the page, thus having a distinct CTR/Quality Score advantage.

To take full advantage of this policy update, we recommend auditing your campaigns to identify which trademarked products/categories that you are currently promoting.  Once you complete this, submit new ads incorporating the trademark and leave them in Active status so they go live as soon as Google opens up their filters.  Also – make sure to not do a hard cut-off on your existing ads, as Google will slow down the delivery(as they build up Quality Score) of these new ads when they are launched.

Written by Andrew Belsky (andrew.belsky at