Rebranding a company is no easy feat, especially if it involves a name change and new website domain. Take it from us—earlier this year, we rebranded from Logojoy to Looka after months of planning and hard work.
Because Google Ads is such a huge acquisition channel for us, it was imperative to create a campaign strategy for the rebrand months in advance. We made some mistakes and learned a few valuable lessons along the way, and we wanted to share with other companies embarking on a similar process. It’s daunting, but you can do it.
With that, here’s our 11-step checklist to updating your Google advertising campaigns for rebrand success.
The first eight steps on this list should happen four to five months before your company rebrand launch day. This will give you plenty of time to test, troubleshoot, and pull in any other team members you may need to assist you.
Unless your rebrand is targeting a completely new market with its own set of keywords, or you’re launching a new brand or product offering (e.g., a sub-brand under your main brand), you’re almost always better off updating your existing search campaigns.
This way, you’ll be able to leverage previous learnings and performance. If you do fall into the scenario where you’re targeting different keywords, prepare to create a whole new search campaign.
If you’re changing your domain name and planning to (eventually) shut down your old site and redirect all traffic to the new site, you can implement the same Google Ads conversion tag from your existing account. Doing this should make life much simpler for you (and your devs!).
Before the rebrand, make sure you have at least three expanded text ads and one responsive search ad in rotation per ad group. If you’re targeting the same keywords, you should already have this in place, or be in a position to get your account optimized and in excellent shape before the rebrand.
Make sure to:
If you’re using automated bidding strategies, such as target CPA or target ROAS, you want to make sure that the algorithm is as stable as possible. This stability will allow you to isolate any drop in performance to the rebrand (whether it’s due to a new landing page, ad copy, or something else).
The bottom line? If you’re planning to make any major changes to your search account, implement them early and let the dust settle well before the rebrand launch date.
It’s easy to forget just how many spots your brand name appears. Take the time to review your copy with eagle eyes, checking for your name in the following places:
Assuming that both your new website and old website will be live at the same time (at least for a short period), use Google Ads’ campaign drafts and experiments to start sending a percentage of traffic to your new site. Within your campaign draft, update your ad copy, ad extensions, and landing pages to the new brand name.
Important: Before you launch into a quick “find and replace” to update your old brand name to your new one, make sure to consider a few things.
After launching your new experiment, monitor the conversion rate closely. The farther out from your launch date you start testing, the more time you’ll have to gather data for statistical significance and optimize your landing page accordingly. We learned this the hard way by testing our new landing pages too late and not achieving statistical significance before our launch date, but you can learn from our mistake. Continue to iterate on different landing pages until you’ve reached a conversion rate that’s as strong—if not stronger—than your old website.
While you should already be running branded search campaigns, it’s even more essential for you to have branded search ads live during a rebrand, as you need to make people aware of the switch before your competitors jump on your old branded search terms.
Again, don’t make our mistake: At the time of our rebrand launch, we unfortunately didn’t have the capacity to build out our branded search campaigns. This led to other logo makers bidding on our branded terms at a time when we were advertising heavily for the rebrand, thus stealing our earned traffic. Eventually, we realized this lost opportunity and prioritized it, and we have been seeing great results ever since.
If you already have an existing branded search campaign currently running, then you’re already two steps ahead! Just make sure to:
You’ll also need to create a new branded search campaign for your new brand, ensuring that your ad copy addresses the rebrand with language like “formerly” or “is now,” and schedule this campaign to go live on your rebrand launch day.
Give people the opportunity to learn more about your rebrand if they have questions about why you’ve changed your name or if they have doubts that you’re the same company. The best way to do this is to create a dedicated landing page that includes sections like:
Once the landing page is ready, add the sitelink extensions to your ads and schedule them to go live on launch day.
It’s happening! On the day of your rebrand launch, have a dedicated individual or team in place to complete the next three steps.
If you have a winning experiment that’s currently running, this part is easy—simply go ahead and apply that experiment.
If you don’t have a winning experiment (or if you have a previous winner that already ended), then you’ll need to update everything manually. Assuming you’ve already checked for character length, context, and landing page relevance, you can simply use the “find and replace” function to update the ads (i.e., change all mentions of your old brand name to your new brand name and change all landing pages to your winning landing page)
Note: Try to update your campaigns at a time of day where fewer people are searching for your keywords, such as late at night or early in the morning (tip: bring coffee).
We didn’t have branded search campaigns ready to go at the time of launch, and this was a mistake—learn from it! If you have your branded search campaigns prepared and scheduled (see steps 7 and 8), all this step requires is a quick check first thing in the morning to ensure they’re running smoothly.
Be sure to keep an eye on the following:
Take a deep breath and get ready for ad performance to take a slight dip—don’t freak out if the conversion rate is slightly lower than average right out of the gate. Rest assured that if you’ve done all the right prep work, performance should recover quickly (if not skyrocket past your old campaigns).
Here are a couple of tips to get you through the first few days after launch:
And there you have it! With some careful updating, optimization, and testing of your search campaigns, you’ll be able to tackle your company rebranding with confidence.
But remember: Start early and pay attention to details! By doing everything you can to ensure your ads run smoothly—and in alignment with your new name, domain, and messaging—you’ll be giving your new brand the best chance at success and adoption by both current and future customers.
When all of that happens, you’ll be able to call your rebrand a resounding success (at least from a paid search standpoint)!
Matthew Sison has over four years of experience in digital marketing, with a specialty in pay-per-click and social media marketing. He’s currently leading paid acquisition at Looka, an AI-powered online logo maker that empowers entrepreneurs to easily design and launch their new business.