Search is obviously an extremely important channel for the majority of businesses as it allows them to get their brand and products in front of people that are searching for them or related terms.

In 2013 paid search spend increased when compared to 2012 and The 2013 State of Paid Search report shows that businesses plan to spend even more on their paid search campaigns in 2014.

PPC ads can be set up, tweaked and turned on and off extremely quickly. And due to the fact that SEO takes a lot longer to have an effect paid search is a great way for businesses to get creative and test something new and innovative to get brand exposure with minimal budget.

As costs are only incurred when a person clicks on a PPC ad they can also be a relatively cheap way of testing different messaging. This is especially true when using CPC bidding on Google’s different networks, such as the content network and YouTube, as it doesn’t matter how many people see the ads (and you want as many as possible for a brand awareness campaign), as you only pay when someone clicks through to your site.

For these reasons big brands such as Converse, Sky News and the Perfume shop have innovatively used PPC ads to get in front of their target audiences and here’s a summary of how they did it:


Converse, the American shoe brand, created a campaign that targeted keyword phrases that their prospective customers might be searching for, that had low competition and therefore low click costs.

They set up a campaign bidding on terms such as ‘how to chat up women’ and ‘how to kiss a girl’, as they recognised that teenage boys (their target market) were searching for these types of terms.

To complement the campaign, and in order to have relevant landing pages for the ads, they then created a series of microsites that provided content related to the users’ search query, that also featured Converse adverts on them and linked back to the parent site.

They also used ads to play games with people Googling terms around an American Spelling Bee that was happening at the time.

The game involved asking the user to spell a word and type it in to the Google search box, if the spelling was correct they would see another ad and could continue to play the game…

The Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop used the YouTube Video Targeting Tool to place their adverts for celebrity perfumes over celebrity videos on YouTube.

The brand recognised that its customers are interested in celebrity culture so therefore used YouTube to target them whilst they were watching celebrity videos, with celebrity branded perfume adverts. The renowned figures included Sarah Jessica Parker, Beyoncé and Peter Andre.

The result? Over 9 million views of celebrity based ads and The Perfume Shop recorded an excellent 236% ROI on a view-through-conversion basis.

Sky News

Sky News used PPC ads to target users searching for highly specific news stories.

They worked with a company to create an RSS that automatically generated keywords based on the latest news story that could be uploaded straight to the search engines.

The strategy generated big search volumes by targeting breaking news stories but given that the keywords were highly specific and based on real-time events meant that the costs per click were low.

Moving forwards

When it comes to setting up a PPC campaign the obvious, most sensible and fundamentally successful way to set up a campaign is to target phrases that your customers are searching for and provide them with what they are looking for.

If you sell shoes and someone is searching for “shoes for sale” then you want to be in front of those people. But is there another, more innovative way to get your brand out there and noticed by your target audience?