About brand settings for Search and Performance Max

Brand settings can be applied to Search and Performance Max campaigns to help direct branded traffic based on your advertising needs.

  • For Search, brand restrictions limit traffic to serve only on search queries related to specified brands.
  • For Performance, brand exclusions provide added control so your campaigns won't serve for brand queries you want to avoid on Search and Shopping inventory.

Brand setting features aim to help you with your branded traffic needs, but we recommend you only implement them on campaigns that really need them to avoid constraining your conversion opportunities. Learn more about best practices for Search ads and Performance Max.

Brand versus keywords:
Brands are organizations or trademarked goods and services that have a distinct branding, logos, or websites. Keywords are words or phrases that potential customers use to find your products and services.
One benefit of using brand lists instead of keywords is not having to enter misspellings, variants, or versions in multiple languages.

How brand settings work

Brand settings help your ads to appear with brands you are related to and prevent them from serving on brands you may not want to be associated with. Review the options below based on how you want to set up your brand settings.

Manage a brand list

Brand lists can be created at the account level and applied to individual campaigns. Learn more about how to Manage a brand list.


Manage brands within your brand list

To add a brand that isn’t already in the Google Ads brand library, you may request to add a brand to your brand list. Learn more about how to Manage brands within your brand list.


Apply brand restrictions to Search campaigns

For Search Campaigns, you can restrict your campaign’s traffic to Search queries that contain specific brands. Learn more about how to Apply brand restrictions to Search campaigns.


Apply brand exclusions to Performance Max campaigns

For Performance Max campaigns, you can prevent your ads from serving on specific brands on Search and Shopping inventory. Learn more about how to Apply brand exclusions to Performance Max campaigns.


Brand settings FAQs

You can apply brand settings to Search and Performance Max campaigns to direct branded traffic based on your advertising needs. As you set up brand lists, restrictions for Search campaigns, or exclusions for Performance Max campaigns, here are some frequently asked questions that may help you.

Will brands be recognized in multiple languages?

Yes. Brand lists work with the newest version of broad match to match the brand in multiple languages, without needing to enter different spellings or variants. For example, the brand “Youtube” will match Youtube, 유튜브, ยูทูบ, یوتیوب, and יוטיוב, since users refer to this brand in those ways, even if some of the variants aren’t trademarked.

How is a "brand" defined?

We define a brand as a product or service that has at least one of the following:
  • Logo
  • Trademark
  • Domain name (even if it redirects to the parent website)
  • Product name which dominates the packaging or website
  • Business name which may constitute a brand for small and medium sized businesses
Only brands that meet this criteria will be added to the Google Ads brand library. For brands that go by multiple versions of their own name or have parent and child brand names, such as Google and YouTube, ensure each alternative brand name is included in the brand list.

What is a brand variant?

A variant of a brand is a term other than the main name of an entity that is usually used by users to refer to the same entity. For example, while the paid subscriptions to YouTube is now YouTube Premium, it used to be called YouTube Red and users may still refer to it with that name.

Will one variant of a brand capture all variants of the same brand?

When multiple variants of a brand have at least one common word, such as “Google” and “Google LLC”, the simplest variant will typically capture all variants. For example, “Google” will capture all variants of Search queries that include “Google”. You don’t need to add the other variants to your list.
However, when multiple variants of a brand don't have common words, such as "Google", "YouTube", and "Alphabet", you'll need to create a list that includes all of the variants. Otherwise, the more general brand will often, but not always, capture all traffic related to all brands.

Does the brand URL impact how branded traffic is filtered?

No. The URL shown is only to help distinguish between similarly named brands when building a brand list. The URL should link to a site using the same brand image (logo, color, and so on) but may not be the geographically identical website.
URLs don't change how branded traffic is filtered, so geographic specific URLs don't require separate brand submissions. For example, the URL for Google India is www.google.co.in, but the brand for Google India is just Google. The URL www.google.com identifies that brand, so even if Google wants to use its brand in India, it can use the brand Google within the URL www.google.com. Therefore, it's not necessary to request the same brand to be added to the index with multiple URLs, and requests for a different URL for an existing brand will be rejected.

Will there be any additional cost to use brand settings?

There’s no additional cost to apply brand lists to campaigns. However, brand settings limit the reach of a campaign and performance may decrease.

Why did my campaign’s performance decrease after applying brand settings?

Brand settings inherently limit traffic. For Search, your campaign may have previously included traffic that doesn’t match brands in your brand list. For Performance Max campaigns, brand traffic is being excluded from Search and Shopping inventory.

Why did my campaign’s performance increase after applying brand settings?

If your branded keywords were previously exact or phrase match, applying brand restrictions to your Search campaign requires enabling the broad match setting. If all the same branded keywords were converted to broad match when you applied them as brand restrictions, performance may increase given broad match’s expanded reach.

Do campaigns with Dynamic Search Ads and keywords support brand restrictions?

Yes. The campaign needs to opt in to the broad match campaign setting to apply brand restrictions. The restrictions will apply to all traffic in the campaign. The broad match setting will not change DSA traffic in other ways.
Note: Domain names for parent brands with geographic specific URLs don't require separate brand submissions. For example, the domain name for Adidas India is www.adidas.co.in, but Adidas India isn't an independent brand. Adidas is the parent brand and their domain name is www.adidas.com. It’s not necessary to submit both brands to the brand list.

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