Bing has announced that on March 27th they will remove their current restrictions on using trademarks as keywords in a range of global markets including the UK. What does this mean for your online business? Essentially, more advertisers around the globe will be able to bid on trademarks they don’t actually own in order to optimise search engine results to their advantage. On the one hand this might mean more advertising but this change also brings important consistency in both global and industrial enforcement of trademarks.
One of the benefits this might bring to businesses is the ability to align searches across markets making it easier for advertisers to transfer campaigns between search engines with less intervention to improve optimisation. Customers also benefit as a single search should now return a broader range of results which will offer greater choice and improve their search experiences. Bing Ads believe users will appreciate receiving broader results when searching for trademarked terms.
The change has already been implemented in the US and the current roll-out will affect markets in Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Continued Trademark Protection
Bing have emphasised that they will continue to protect the use of trademarks in actual copy: “Fair use of a trademark in ad copy will continue to be allowed for resellers of an authentic good or service, informational websites (such as product reviews), the ordinary dictionary use of a term, or comparative advertising (when supported by independent research).”
Brand Owners: Increase Efforts to Maintain Web Presence
The change makes Bing Ads’ policy similar to the trademark policy of Google’s AdWords and shows Microsoft is looking to enhance search options for both traders and customers. Opening the door to further advertising campaigns may be annoying to some but broadening searches can only lead to better results. Like Google, Microsoft is keen to protect intellectual copyright for keywords used in the actual copy of an advert. Trademark owners may be alarmed that the trademarks they own can be used as keywords by their competitors but since that practice has been commonplace at Google for some time there is likely to be little real effect on day to day practice. Brand owners will need to be aware of the change and should consider increasing their focus on maintaining a strong overall presence on the web via multiple search engines.