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Illegal use of keywords in advertising campaigns, how to be careful

Illicit use of keywords in advertising campaigns is a critical issue. The legal consequences encountered due to the illegal use of keywords within the ads of Google ADS are increasingly frequent.

About advertising campaigns, we can define keywords as words or phrases that describe the product or service to help the system determine when and where to publish your ad.

The purpose of advertising campaigns is to show ads relevant to the user’s search purposes. 

The keywords are chosen for paid ads on Google ADS, if relevant and of quality, will allow:

  • associate your ads with terms used by users for searches
  • show your ads to users
  • reach the customers who you want, when you want
  • Improve the performance of your ads and avoid paying high prices. Poor keywords can cause you to pay higher costs and lead to a lower ad position. 

It is to understand how the keyword research for the choice of keywords to be used within the campaigns is fundamental. Both to achieve the set objectives and avoid any negative consequences given by the illegal use of keywords. 

The Topic Of This Post

  • 1 The types of keywords
  • 2 Cases and consequences of the illegal use of keywords
  • 3 Why Register a Trademark
  • 4 The requirements for building a brand

The types of keywords

When keyword research is carried out, the types of keywords to choose from are divided into different categories:

  • generic keywords
  • specific keywords
  • similar keywords
  • keywords excluded
  • related keywords
  • keyword in the correct number

In detail, the different types of keywords are characterized by the following characteristics: 

  • generic keywords are keywords that allow you to reach the broadest possible audience
  • the specific keywords instead represent the ideal choice to reach customers who may be interested in a particular product because they are more specific keywords directly related to your ad’s theme
  • the similar keywords are suitable to show more relevant ads to potential customers by grouping your keywords into ad groups based on products, services, or other categories
  • The excluded keywords are those keywords that we exclude from ads on Google ADS so that your ads are not shown for searches for a specific term. Excluding these keywords will help reduce advertising costs and ensure that ads are viewed only by the intended audience.
  • The related keywords allow your ads on relevant websites or apps. Choose keywords that are related to each other and to the websites your customers visit.
  • the keywords in the fit number are between 5 and 20, that is, the number of recommended keywords to be included per ad group, even if it is possible to insert more than 20

Do you want to learn about the legal aspects of advertising (abbreviated ADV) means advertising? It is a paid message that a company sends to inform or influence the people who receive it …? Discover the courses in the Legal category on the Studio Samo Pro platform.

Cases and consequences of the illegal use of keywords

Wrongful use of keywords within the advertising campaigns on Google ADS can occur in multiple ways. 

There are three primary cases in which this happens:

  • when keywords identical to a registered trademark are inserted in the ads
  • when keywords equal to an unregistered trademark but considered sufficiently well known by the majority of people are inserted in the ads
  • when the name of a product belonging to a brand is used (e.g., Nutella, iPhone)

The company that in various ways and measures is found to have been injured due to the illegal use of keywords can put forward two main reasons to validate the claim, which include:

  • the increase in the cost of the reference keywords 
  • a loss of traffic to the site, which can result in a loss of lead.

In using this type of keyword linked to a third party’s trademark, it is possible to run into various legal problems that are not limited to blocking the set campaign and include the request for penalties for compensation for damages suffered.

It is good to clarify how the reasons posed by the injured company can easily be calculated thanks to data such as those acquired by Google Analytics that make it possible to quantify the extent of the damage suffered.

To understand how incurring the illicit use of keywords is possible and often also easy despite being in good faith. Think of the possibility that platforms such as Google Adsense, Instagram, or Tik Tok, to name just a few, give users the ability to use without any limit o I warn the keywords that can cause such consequences.

It happens that in defense of the illicit use made of keywords, platforms are called into question, and the consents that are presumed to have had from them given the lack of impositions in this regard, as a motivation through which to defend oneself.

However, it is good to clarify how the permission of use given by these platforms, unlike how it is often misinterpreted, does not represent a reason to use keywords valid.

Why register a trademark

Knowing the current legislation is of fundamental importance to not run into a multitude of situations that could cause damage to others. It is essential to understand the functioning of trademarks and for what reasons having a registered trademark is necessary to protect oneself from damage.

The two main elements related to the brand and the use that can be made of it are:

  • the protection of the commercial element
  • the concept of de facto trademark

The protection of the commercial element is essential to avoid the occurrence of situations such as:

  • parasitism in which others use the reference keywords of the brand, for example, acquiring traffic with advertising campaigns on Google ADS that would not be theirs
  • Unfair competition can occur if one site pretends to be the official site of another brand.

The de facto trademark includes all those trademarks that, despite not being registered, thanks to the reputation obtained over the long term, represent trademarks recognized by most people, to the point of being considered by the law to be worthy of protection.

However, it is easy to understand how it is challenging to juggle in these cases since if advertising is carried out using the keyword linked to these types of brands, aware of the fact that they are not registered, the lawfulness of use remains in doubt.

Often connected to the trademark by many, it is copyright, which, unlike trademarks that refer to industrial law, is instead present in copyright legislation and is clearly distinguished from everything inherent to the trademark. This distinction is beneficial to know, as the concepts of trademark and copyright, although often associated, are not related in any way.

The requirements for building a brand

Once you understand the importance of creating and registering a trademark, it is good to know where to start to make sure you create a brand that complies with all the rules necessary to comply with the law. 

The brand has three fundamental points to respect:

  • Announcements
  • Lawfulness
  • Distinctive ability 

By novelty of a trademark, we mean that the trademark must be new and not already registered by others. For this purpose, it is good to consider that the registration of a brand has a validity of 10 years. It is possible to renew the registration for ten years. During this time, it is therefore not possible to use or register the same trademark.

To verify that the trademark has not already been registered, it is possible to use tools such as TMview, which allows entering the keyword to see if it is already linked to a registered trademark or not.

For a trademark to be lawful for registration, it is good to consider two main aspects: 

  • it is necessary to make sure that the brand is not already registered
  • it is mandatory to verify that the words used are not to some extent derogatory or contrary to morality, as defined by the relevant legislation

Finally, to register a trademark, there must be a distinctive ability; that is, there are no words that do not coincide with the product.

Therefore, it is much easier to know how it is advisable to proceed with registration to protect yourself from damage and the correct behaviors to follow, not to incur the illegal use of keywords in insurance advertisements that would lead to legal penalties that are not pleasant.

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