Should You Test Company Names or Product
Names on Google?
by Marcia Yudkin, Head
Stork, Named At Last
A few years back, the firm
MarketingExperiments ran tests of product names and domain
names using Google AdWords, with results that could very
well impress company and product namers to employ this
method. By changing just the name in identical ads, the
research team was able to show significant differences in
click-through rates from otherwise identical text ads.
You "no longer have to rely on guesswork or personal
favorites to try to predict which domain name will perform
the best," the research report concluded. In one test, they
extrapolated from a 9 percent increase in click-throughs to
a possible $1.3 million increase in revenues over the course
of one year from using the name that tested better on
Wow! Should we all abandon our non-empirical naming methods
and select names according to such tests?
No. While suggestive, these experiments have limited
applicability. Indeed, MarketingExperiments themselves noted
that their projections assumed that the differential
click-through rates would not affect the rate at which
click-throughs led to sales. In real life, however, it's
quite likely that different names attract different kinds of
people who have varying propensities to buy and to become
the kind of long-term customers you want.
Things to Consider Before Running Name Tests on Google
Consider these additional factors limiting
the relevance of this testing method.
1)Do almost all of your customers use search engines to shop
for what you sell?
Company names and product names that excel in search engine
ads can tank in print ads or on billboards. They can be
easily confused with competitors, sabotaging word of mouth
sales. They can look terrible on signage or be tongue
twisters to pronounce. They can have negative appeal to
those who don't shop online.
2)Do your customers tend to buy on their first visit to your
The longer your typical customer takes to buy, the less
relevant the gain in initial click-through becomes, and the
more important it is to have a memorable name that makes a
positive, relevant impression away from the computer screen.
3)Are repeat sales important in your business?
MarketingExperiments recommends starting your testing with
highly descriptive names, such as PowerScreener Pro or
StockScreener Plus, which have had a terribly hard time
carving out a firm place in people's memories. People who
buy once from a search engine and then go back to the search
engine when it's time to reorder, because they can't recall
who they bought from previously, quite likely buy from a
competitor of yours the next time.
4)What about other drawbacks of names?
Nowhere does MarketingExperiments remind people to make sure
names that test well are free of legal risks, including
trademark infringement or over-promising in the name.
There's also the risk of attracting people who buy but
differ greatly from your ideal customer.
In short, I would recommend testing names with Google
AdWords ads only if you sell something exclusively online
that people tend to buy on their first visit from a search
engine. Even then, you need to be mindful of the
considerations I noted above.
For most of the clients who come to Named At Last for help,
this testing method would be quite irrelevant. Broader
strategic concerns are as important or more important than
click-throughs from search engines.
Stuck on thinking up or choosing your new
company or product name? Get help generating an impressively
original business name or product name.
Copyright 2014 Marcia Yudkin. No
reprinting or republishing without written permission.
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