The PPC Playbook for Companies with Multiple Brands

Juggling multiple brands is a tricky PPC feat. How do you avoid cannibalization? How do you allocate budgets?

When it comes to the auction, working with multiple brands has many advantages, like securing more space in the SERP with little room left for competitors or saturating a market by occupying all price points.

In this playbook, we’ll take you through how to overcome the major PPC pain points faced by companies with multiple brands:

  1. Avoiding Cannibalization
  2. Budgeting 
  3. Understanding your Competition

1) Avoiding Cannibalization

When your PPC account has multiple brands competing in the same auction with similar goals, budgets, targets, and audiences, you want them all to succeed without cannibalizing any one of your brands.

There are a few creative ways to manipulate the auction to help each of your brands win without being your own worst enemy.

Keywords & Multiple Ads

Should you serve multiple ads for the same keyword? Well, it depends somewhat on the audience of your brands and how you want to segment your marketing.

If your brands have clearly defined audiences with a small amount of overlap, you may decide not to serve multiple ads. In this case, you’ll need to decipher which keywords are most valuable to each brand.

One way to tackle this is to look at historical data and see which brand converted better for each keyword. If brand A is performing better than brands B, C and D for a particular keyword, be sure to give that keyword to brand A. With this approach, watch out if you’re using modified broad or phrase match keywords as other brands may show in the auction on a designated brand’s keywords. In this case, you’ll need to utilize negative keywords to minimize overlap.

If you want to maximize your coverage and opportunity in the SERP, you may decide to serve multiple ads for a single keyword. By layering audiences and other targeting into your campaigns you can bid on the same keywords, but only the most applicable brand will rank high in the auction. 

For example, by using RLSA retargeting, you can increase your bid for a user if they’ve previously interacted with one your brands, therefore out-bidding the rest of your brands in the auction. If audiences are created at the manager account level, you can effectively negate audiences for the brands they don’t apply to as well, further cutting down on the cross-contamination concern.

Caution! Don’t Double Serve Your Ads

Google has a strict policy against ads that try to gain an unfair traffic advantage over other participants in the auction.

For Example: If you are promoting the same or similar content from multiple accounts on the same or similar queries or trying to show more than one ad at a time for your business, app, or site, your ad(s) could be disapproved.

Google suggests that keywords should fit the target audience’s likely intent when searching, and each website or app that you promote should offer distinct value to users. For more information, check out Google’s policy page.

Ad Copy

If you’re serving multiple ads in the same auction each brand should have a unique voice. Consumers will notice similar brand names, ad copy, websites, etc and you may run into issues with Google too.

When you have multiple ads in the same auction, varying your ads actually increases your chances of resonating with a user!

Schedule Your Ads

Just like layering on audience targeting, it’s useful to consider all types of optimizations, like geography and demographic targeting, which you can use as levers when added to the campaigns of your different brands.A more time-consuming optimization is ad scheduling. By first creating a heat map to show the times of high traffic or conversions, you can create an ad schedule with corresponding bid modifiers. Our famous 24-7 bidding script is the automated solution to ad scheduling.

2) Budgeting

We all budget differently. However, there are some ways to budget that are more effective than others. Here are our suggestions on how you can budget better for each of your brands.

Your Budgeting Strategy

First, look at the overall goals of each brand. Budgeting across several brands should be determined by the overarching KPI for the company as a whole and the most important KPI for each brand.

Next, you want to use the likes of Keyword Planner and SEMRush to get an idea of where your competitors are putting their budget. From here, develop strategies to unseat their ads from the SERP and find better and cheaper keywords.

Then, find out the value of the CPCs of the keywords you’re planning to bid on. It may be time to rethink your keyword choice. For example, keywords that indicate urgency or familiarity are more likely to convert than ones that don’t. Also, branded keywords convey more intent than a competitor keyword. Your keywords will be more valuable if they are specific and unique to your brand.

After you’re done thinking about the overall strategy, we suggest you think more in-depth about your budget.

  • Is my brand one whose clicks fluctuate daily, weekly, or monthly?
  • Is my budgeting taking into consideration the times my target audience is more likely to spend?

Excel Solver

Excel Solver is a great tool to help you calculate and record your budgets across accounts. 

In order to do this, it’s best to start by downloading your data from the last year. Once you’ve done this, follow these steps to organize the data:

  1. Add a few columns and then use text-to-columns to segment the categories listed within the campaign.
  2. Add max spend column (if we wanted to completely max out on the spend on a campaign, what would this number look like?) → Use Cost/IS.
  3. Add “allocated spend” column. Fill this column with zeros all the way down (the solver will be adjusting this for us).
  4. Repeat step 3 for “Allocated Conv,” “Revenue”, and “Clicks”.
  5. Add totals of each of the allocated columns.

Next, you want to set up budgets based on location. In order to do this, you must add columns with SumIf calculations to find allocated spend per location. Look at the potential spend available per location by using the formula:

=SUMIF ($A$4:$A$33, “United States”, $J$4:$J$33)

The $A$4:$A$33 represents the Location column in the campaign lists – and the $J$4:$J$33 represents the Potential Spend column in the campaign data set. Make the change from “United States” to “Canada” and “Mexico” in the two rows below from there to gauge potential spend per location. We can then do the same for Allocated Spend, Allocated Conversions and Allocated Revenue, and then add an ROAS column that is simply Allocated Revenue/Allocated Spend:

Setting Up the Solver 

Once all of this is in place, it’s time to solve your budgeting issues. Shown here is how you’d use the solver to go about setting budgets on different campaigns with the availability:

The solver setup is a fairly simple setup. The first number at the top of the page is the totals in the revenue column. The objective being to maximize revenue in this scenario. The variable cells includes the allocated spend cells across all of the campaigns, as these are the numbers the solver will be adjusting within the constraints.

The constraints assure that 1) we don’t pace higher than our budgeted amount per location, 2) we don’t pace lower than our minimum amount per location, and 3) the spend amount allocated to each campaign is within the realms of possibilities based on availability of traffic.

Finally, you get your results once you hit solve. This will tell you what your yearly or quarterly budgets and goals should look like per the previous year or quarters statistics at the campaign-level, location level and account-level.

Let’s add one more step here. Let’s say you only want to spend up to $XX – but you also only want to spend if you finish within your ROAS goal. In this case, let’s say that goal is a 300% ROAS. All you have to do in this scenario is add one more constraint to the solver showing projected ROAS being equal or greater than 3 as seen in the constraints listed below:

Seasonal Budgeting 

Seasonal budgeting is the first layer of strategy to add to your list. The goal of seasonal budgeting is to budget according to the previous year’s performance. You can do this by setting up a table in Solver similar to the previous sections in this guide. When setting up Solver, include monthly information by adding a monthly column. This monthly column can help Solver to adjust budgets at the campaign level per each month.

Day of Week Budgeting

In order to see where your budget is pacing in Excel we use this formula:

=(Current Spend/Amount of Days)*Total Days in the Month

In some cases, monthly budgeting works. However, this monthly budgeting formula does not always account for the fluctuating amounts of clicks received by day of the week or any recent changes to the account that could affect the spend levels. Because of this, you cannot treat each day of the week the same when budgeting. This is why we suggest budgeting by day of the week.

You can utilize an Excel sheet in order to set up day of the week budgeting. The projection sheet should show the average spend per weekday while taking into account the number of days that have passed and the days remaining in the week. Here is the sheet set up and the formulas for each day of the week:

Day-parting vs. Day of Week

Your day of the week budgeting strategy shouldn’t be replacing your dayparting strategy. Instead, these two should be working together to get the best bang for your buck.

The main job of dayparting is to raise or lower bids for specific hours of the day when ads are showing. Its unique function allows us to improve ad position and CTR during the times of the day that are the most productive, and/or reduce impressions and CPCs for times that generate fewer or less profitable results. Dayparting should be used as a leverage tool for ad schedules and bid modifiers.

In contrast, day of the week budgeting should be used as a leveraging tool for campaign daily budgets. Day of the week budgeting should be used to increase or decrease budgets on specified days of the week for certain campaigns. We love day of the week budgeting because it allows us to maximize spend efficiency by aligning daily budgets with the value of traffic for each day of the week.

Day of Week Budgeting & Non-PPC KPIs

Trying to combine day of the week budgeting with non-PPC performance data can be tricky. Here is a step by step breakdown of how to do this:

  1. Download campaign report segmented by time and then day of the week.
  2. Combine PPC and non-PPC data into a single sheet (make sure “Day of the Week” column spans both sets).
  3. Pivot your data into a Day of the Week table showing impressions, clicks, and costs.
  4. Add whatever non-PPC conversion metric you’ve chosen, in this example we’re using Office Visits in place of traditional conversions.
  5. Calculate the Avg. CPC, Cost/Visit, Visit/Click columns.
  6. Subtract the Avg. Visit/Click from the current day’s Visit/Click to get our Budget Adjustment for each day of the week (use the formula =(Daily Visit/Click – Avg. Visit/Click).
  7. Multiply 1+ Budget Adjustment by our total spend goal (the sum of campaign daily budgets for the given segment) to get the New Daily Budget.
  8. Find the percentage change between each day’s “New Daily Budget” and its predecessors (use formula = (Today’s New Daily Budget – Yesterday’s New Daily Budget)/Yesterday’s New Daily Budget).

The last step here is to find the percent change between each day’s “New Daily Budget” and its predecessor. This will give us the modifier we should apply to each campaign’s daily budget, taking into account the previous day’s changes. A simple formula here is:

=(Today’s New Daily Budget – Yesterday’s New Daily Budget)/Yesterday’s New Daily Budget

This should be calculated for each day of the week. You should also take note to adjust budgets manually on the day of implementation by substituting “Today’s Current Budget” for “Yesterday’s New Daily Budget” in the formula. From there, the day-to-day budget adjustments can cycle seamlessly week-to-week.

In your budgeting campaigns, you should be utilizing a combination of dayparting, day of the week, and seasonal budgeting to optimize your accounts. The best way to budget effectively is to use a hodge-podge of all the methods. Test these strategies out, and then implement them in ways that work best for you. However, don’t forget to start by looking at the bigger picture. Look at your brands first, then build your budgeting around what works best for their particular needs.

Use Supermetrics to Automate Budget Predictions

Supermetrics is an add on to Google Sheets. It can automatically pull in data from across your PPC platforms, (Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, Yahoo, Facebook, etc.) letting you analyze the data all in one place.

3) Understanding Your Competition

No matter what industry you’re in or the size of your brand, your business will at some point, face competition. And your competitors, the competitive landscape, will continue to change. To successfully face off against your competitors, you need to be proactive.

Competitor insights are key to improving performance and spiking conversion rates and there’s a few key tools which can help:

Google Ads Keyword Planner

With this free Google Ads tool, you can glean insights regarding the competitive nature of keywords and search terms. You’ll find real insights like how often a keyword or term is searched, associated ads, CPCs, seasonality etc.

By adjusting the parameters, you can get insights for either Google or Google and Search Partners. You can adjust your location targeting and you can also change your date range. To get a more accurate picture, try doing a three to six month time range. If you want to see larger competitor trends and seasonality of searched terms, open the range to the last twelve months.

Once you give Keyword Planner’s forecasting tool your keywords, it will predict how many impressions and clicks you could generate and an estimate of what to spend. You will also see max CPC and average CPC. If you know your approximate conversion rate, you can forecast conversion metrics as well.

Auction Insights

This is Google’s Competitor Auction Impression Share tool that shows competitor domains and how they rank, outrank, overlap compared to your activity. This can be as granular or wide-viewed as you’d prefer – at the highest campaign level you can see competitor metrics for all active campaigns for a particular date range or you can drill down to either one keyword or a specific set of keywords.

This is most helpful for understanding a change in competitor activity following a drop in performance or a decline in spend.

With absolute top impression share and top impression share percentages, metrics we can get insights into a competitor’s strategy or budget based on where they’re ranking and how often they’re ranking in the top position.

Our auction insights script allows you to take Google’s snapshot in time data and see how it changes over time.


This is another keyword competitor insight tool that identifies changes in the competitor landscape. SpyFu focuses on Google Search data for both organic and paid advertising.

SpyFu’s advantage is their “Kombat” tool which will pull multiple domains and show their overlap in keywords. SpyFu also has a couple of other helpful automated reports that give insights into current and untapped terms and their competitive rankings. 


SEMRush also focuses on keywords and search, but additionally covers Display, Video, and Shopping data and as a result, SEMRush can provide multi-channel reports,

To Conclude

There’s a lot of “it depends” situations. No two businesses are the same, which means there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution either. The real impact to your company’s bottom line comes from customization. You need innovative strategies to apply the right mix for each product or brand without losing sight of the business as a whole.

Whether you are managing your brands in-house or working with an agency, make sure you’re customizing each brand with the right mix of channels, audience targeting, tools, and strategies to maximize the impact of each.