Organizations need to ensure they are adequately protecting their brands when it comes to online search, a new report has advised.

According to Hitwise, a significant proportion of branded online searches in the US are directed to websites that do not belong to the brand being sought.

Hitwise US senior online analyst Heather Hopkins explained that this is due to the fact that paid search advertising allows companies to show their own ads when searches for a specified brand are made.

She commented: "Online businesses need to be aware of the extent of the problem and to understand the best ways to deal with threats."

One electronics retailer in the study was found to receive only two-thirds of web traffic from searches for its brand name.

A recent study by research provider comScore indicated that using display ads in an online marketing campaign tends to result in a spike in search queries for that particular brand.

It recorded a 52 percent lift in such searches for the firms assessed during the first week after using display ads.