What is a Brand Search and Why it Matters for Your Startup

Search, Strategy

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth Dwivedi

June 15, 2021

Siddharth Dwivedi

Siddharth Dwivedi

I will share a chart with you and you have to tell what it means.


Let’s go ahead then.

Here’s a chart for comparing how many times Paytm, Phone Pe, Amazon Pay and Google Pay are being searched per month on the search engine.

brand search comparison

As you can see, Paytm has the most brand searches (2.2 million) while Phone Pe has the least with only 110,000 searches.

Naturally, Paytm is being searched more on Google.

Brand searches are a great way to assess what your branding (and even non-branding) activities are impacting your discovery.

In case, you are confused with some terms, I will share some terminologies with you before going forward.

So..what is a Brand Search?

A UK’s agency Goup describes it pretty well:

A brand keyword, or a brand search, is any query via a search engine that includes the name of your company, business or brand

I have started two businesses in the past 7 years. One is the agency, XOR Labs, and the other is a SaaS startup, Vaizle.

Both the names—XOR Labs and Vaizle—are new. People are not searching for them. It’s not like I launched my startup today and people knew what to type to find me on the Google Search Engine.

Right now, XOR Labs has 260 monthly searches in India. And Vaizle has 210 searches per month.

xor labs and vaizle brand searches

That is, approximately 260 times people typed ‘XOR Labs’ in Google Search. Similarly, for Vaizle, it is 210 times at this point of writing the article. And mind you, I am only talking about India. The numbers will increase if I take other countries into account.

What does the increase or decrease in brand searches tells?

The rise or fall in brand searches tell a lot about your brand’s reach.

For instance, coming back to Paytm vs Phone Pe vs Amazon Pay vs Google Pay gives us only gives a partial picture. It tells us how one brand compares against the another.

However, it doesn’t tell how the number of brand searches changed over a period of time.

Here’s a look at how brand searches for Paytm have fluctuated in the past one year.

fluctuation in brand searches for paytm

If you notice, it has decreased since May 2019 from the peak of 4.09 million to 1.8 million as per Google Keyword Planner.

So even though it compares well with the other brands, as I said earlier, it’s not the full picture.

Here are three reasons why you should always track brand searches

  1. It’s a measure of your branding activities’ success—influencer marketing, social media, events, and so on. Even if they were intended for sale, you will notice a rise in your brand searches if they are actually working.
  2. It tells you that your performance marketing budget is contributing in mysterious ways to your brand and growth. We’ve consistently seen that after running YouTube discovery ads, the brand searches increased instantly.
  3. A decrease in brand search is a trigger that you need to focus on branding activities right away.

How to track brand searches

There are tools which can help you brand searches.

  • SEM Rush
  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Google Search Console (Used more for search analytics)

We use all the three tools depending on the use case and also the stage at which a startup is. However, for search analytics we prefer Google Search Console.

When your need to take competitors into account for brand search study, you will need to resort to a keyword research tool like SEM Rush or Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner.

You only need to type your or your competitors’ brand name and the tool will do the job for you.

Your job is to look at the data without bias and make concrete analysis and decisions.


So, did you try checking the number of searches for your own startup?

There are many variations you can do with this study to make it more valuable. For instance, you can create a sum of all the brand searches of companies in your industry and calculate the share of voice for your startup.

Have more questions or suggestions about the topic? Feel free to write it in the comments below and we will have it answered for you.

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