PPC Advertising

The Most Successful PPC Campaigns of All Time

PPC or Pay-per-click advertising doesn’t have such a long history but has become one of the most common types of advertising today. Internet users see ads every day, in fact, each internet user is exposed to 4,000-10,000 ads daily and most of them are PPC ads. But what is PPC? PPC advertising is a model of advertising where, as its name suggests, a brand pays for an ad each time a user clicks on it. There are many platforms where you can place PPC ads, and Google and Facebook are the most used platforms for ads.

There are many types of PPC ads, and hundreds of strategies, and it may seem impossible to create an outstanding and unique ad. If you seem stuck and don’t know how to make a compelling ad, explore this ultimate list of the most successful ad campaigns and get inspired by them.

Google Search Ads

Every time users search for something on Google, they may see an ad, if they used certain keywords. As more and more brands are using Google ads, many keywords become too competitive, and brands bids are higher in order to appear on the search page. In addition to that, it’s not that easy to attract users’ attention to the ad and make them click. With only 30 characters allowed to be used in the headline, creating an appealing and converting ad becomes even more difficult. Though, there are brands that have nailed it with their creative and successful campaigns.

Alec Brownstein – How to Get Your Dream Job

Alec Brownstein – How to Get Your Dream Job

A senior copywriter Alec Brownstein was looking for a new job and he found a very creative way to achieve his dreams. He wanted to work with New York’s top creative directors and in order to attract attention, he used a Google search ad. How did it help him? He found out that people liked to search their names on Google, and the directors he wanted to work with were no exception. So, he targeted 5 top creative directors and used their names as keywords. When each one of them searched their names on Google, they saw Brownstein’s ad leading to his website. As there was no one else bidding for these keywords, it cost him only 13 cents for each click.

 

The results? 4 out of 5 directors invited him for an interview and he got 2 job offers after! The whole campaign cost him only 6$. This is a great example of how to attract people you need at a very low cost.

Snickers - Bad at Spelling? Eat Some Chocolate

Snickers - Bad at Spelling

You’re not you when you’re hungry. And when you’re hungry you make mistakes. Everyone can relate to this. But only Snickers thought it was an ingenious way to attract people by their misspellings. Snickers created misspelled ads to show to people who made mistakes while typing on the search box. The brand targeted misspelled words that no one thought could become keywords. The result of the campaign was the reach of 500 000 people during 3 days. And as misspelled keywords are not competitive at all, the brand got a very low CPC. 

Kleenex - When the Flu Season Starts

Kleenex - When the Flu Season Starts

With this campaign, you’ll be convinced that thorough market research will surely pay off. To create this outstanding campaign Kleenex collaborated with Mindshare. Experts at Mindshare found a major change in consumers’ behavior: when people get flu or cold they turn to Google instead of a doctor. This insight allowed them to use Google to target people living in different cities with flu outbreaks. For 18 months Mindshare’s ad experts monitored search traffic related to colds and compared it to other data, like doctor visits and calls to Government health lines. With this information, they were able to predict flu outbreaks in different cities, in real-time. Timing is everything, and targeting each city at the time of the flu outbreak gave incredible results.

This campaign was so successful that it received the “Best Use of Digital Media in 2013” and it was rightfully earned. In 2 months during the flu season, the sales increased by 40% year-on-year. The company sold extra 432,499 Kleenex boxes. 

Converse-ations

Converse-ations ppc campaign

This campaign is very different from any other on this list, as its aim wasn’t to increase sales but to create conversations with its audience. The footwear brand Converse wanted to make a connection with its teenage audience.

Anomaly, the marketing agency that created this campaign, analyzed what the teenage audience was searching mostly on Google. They bid on the following keywords:

  • First day of summer
  • Spelling bee
  • How to talk to girls
  • How to kiss

With these keywords, they started a dialogue with the audience. Instead of creating a selling ad, they tried to help teenagers find answers to questions they were most interested in. For example, by typing “Spelling bee” and clicking on the ad the teenagers would see a game that could help them to spell the words correctly.

This campaign was very successful, as these conversations with teenagers helped the brand to lead users back to Converse. Besides, the keywords used in the campaign were not competitive, so the campaign didn’t cost much.

Ann Summers - Sexy Paid Search

This one is a very bold and imaginative ad campaign that won the Revolution Awards in 2011. The aim of the brand was to increase brand awareness. Using current events and major popular news as keywords they created an award-winning PPC campaign. Imagine typing Election 2010 in the search bar and seeing sex shop ads. Or get those ads by typing BA strikes. Well, that’s exactly what the brand did. It was unusual but very successful.

Ads got more than 1.5 million impressions, moreover, they received many publications in the mainstream press. Ann Summers’ campaign was on the pages of The BBC, The Guardian, and The Independent which also contributed to increasing the brand awareness.

SkyNews - The Power of Breaking News

SkyNews - The Power of Breaking News

SkyNews’ aim was to use breaking news to reach their audience. They wanted to target users who searched highly specific news stories and use them as keywords. They collaborated with Unique Digital who ran SkyNews’ RSS feed through their Darwin Optimiser technology. It helped them to automatically generate keywords related to particular news and to upload the campaign to search engines as soon as it has been received by RSS. They created standardized ad copy so that they would be able to post the news quickly.

As breaking news generates big search volumes, SkyNews was able to use that potential to their advantage. This campaign resulted in more than 100,000 clicks with CPCs less than 25p. Compared to other average non-breaking news PPC campaigns, this one generated 400% more impressions.

Apple - Bid on Your Brand

Apple - Bid on Your Brand

It’s highly unlikely that someone in this world hasn’t ever heard of Apple and it may seem strange seeing Apple paying for ads. Having 49% of the phone market share, the iPhone is on the mind of many smartphone users who want to upgrade their old phones. But some people, especially Android users, may forget about Apple, so Apple wanted to ensure that everyone remembered them. Besides, if their brand wouldn’t take that ad space, some other brand will. With this strategy, they are always ahead of their competitors.

The ad’s headline was the name of the latest mobile iPhone 11, and the description started by highlighting the cheap monthly price. The iPhone has a high price, so highlighting the possibility to pay for it monthly, the key benefits of the phone and adding five call-to-action buttons was a very good idea. 

This ad is a good example of how not to leave any gaps for competitors to sneak into.

The Perfume Shop - Targeting Celebrity Videos

The Perfume Shop - Targeting Celebrity Videos

This one is a YouTube ad, which was so successful that it would have been unfair not to mention it here. The Perfume Shop used YouTube ads to boost its brand awareness. The brand collaborated with Net Media Planet (NMPi) to create a brilliant campaign. They found out that the majority of their customers were interested in celebrity culture, so they targeted celebrity videos with celebrity branded perfume ads. They used YouTube Video Targeting Tool in addition to the Mercury technology platform to target relevant videos of celebrities who had their own fragrance brands – like Sarah Jessica Parker or Beyoncé.

This strategy was so brilliant, that they were able to target thousands of celebrity videos with 100% relevancy to viewers. The result was over 9 million views from the ads and 236% return of investment, which made this campaign even more successful than search engine ads.

Facebook PPC Ads

Facebook, as the biggest social media channel, is a great platform for placing PPC ads. It has so many targeting options that can help any brand to create highly converting ads. But it can also be confusing, especially with so many different types of ads. So, here’s a list of successful ad campaigns on Facebook to help you study the platform and get inspired.

Matt Stimson - Find Your Ideal Woman

Matt Stimson - Find Your Ideal Woman

This one is a YouTube ad, which was so successful that it would have been unfair not to mention it here. The Perfume Shop used YouTube ads to boost its brand awareness. The brand collaborated with Net Media Planet (NMPi) to create a brilliant campaign. They found out that the majority of their customers were interested in celebrity culture, so they targeted celebrity videos with celebrity branded perfume ads. They used YouTube Video Targeting Tool in addition to the Mercury technology platform to target relevant videos of celebrities who had their own fragrance brands – like Sarah Jessica Parker or Beyoncé.

This strategy was so brilliant, that they were able to target thousands of celebrity videos with 100% relevancy to viewers. The result was over 9 million views from the ads and 236% return of investment, which made this campaign even more successful than search engine ads.

Slack - Make Work Better

Slack - Make Work Better

This is a perfect example of how a practical and work-focused communication tool can be advertised on social media platforms and be effective. It was a simple display ad with a message that could instantly catch attention. Adding honesty to the message could boost its success even more.

It’s a general truth that everyone hates endless work meetings and pointing out that these meetings could be reduced by 25% percent would drive users’ interest. It was an honest and transparent message, focusing on how people would feel after using the platform. The ad also had a catchy tagline – “Make Work Better”. Besides, the imagery of a meme-style unicorn made the ad more catching and fun. The CTA of the ad was also very efficient, it said “Learn More”, not “Sign Up”, as this information might not be enough to ask users to sign up.

Sifted - Contact-Free Delivery Service During Covid

Sifted - Contact-Free Delivery Service During Covid

This ad has so many things done correctly – the right time, the right situation, the clear message. When Covid hit the world, Sifted knew that their grocery delivery service would be a huge help to many people and they used that opportunity.

They created a carousel ad with great visuals and a clear message, which highlighted their next-day contact-free pickup or delivery service. This ad resulted in 5,100% conversions and a 4,232 % increase in revenue. 

Sephora - Holiday Product Awareness

Sephora - Holiday Product Awareness

Sephora wanted to create this campaign to increase product discovery and delivery during the end-of-year holiday season. To achieve this goal, Sephora chose the tabs for Canvas to ensure that the ad would show the most relevant beauty product category to each user. To target the right audience, they used Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences and broad interest targeting. The ad was also shown to people who had visited the Sephora website’s product page but didn’t make a purchase.

As video ads have a high engagement rate, they created engaging videos that showcased multiple promotions and products for each product category. Besides, below the video, they showed 4 product images. The campaign was highly successful, they had a 32% higher ROAS and 41% higher CTR than their previous digital campaigns.

Porsche - Exploring New Possibilities

Porsche - Exploring New Possibilities

There are always more possibilities to explore in any advertising platform and this example proves it. Porsche implemented a carousel ad with a video and messenger bot. This ad was very interactive. Users could interact with the Porsche chatbot or explore the experience of other drivers. Besides, the ad had a clear message, it was dedicated to the 70 years anniversary of Porsche and sportscars.

Dollar Shave Club - Playing on Curiosity

Dollar Shave Club - Playing on Curiosity

Well-known luxury fashion brand Michael Kors had the aim to increase online and in-store sales of its new product – Lon aviator sunglasses. Being a brand prioritizing innovation, they were one of the first to use Facebook Augmented Reality ads in their campaign. The brand implemented a two-cell campaign to understand what kind of brand metrics could Augmented Reality ads bring versus common video ads. In the first cell, they placed the video ad which showed a model wearing Lon aviator sunglasses, while the lenses were changing the colors. It had a simple message: “So many shades, so little time: discover our chic Lon aviators today.” The CTA button “Shop Now” directed users to the website for purchase.

The second cell featured the same video and besides that had a “Tap to Try On” prompt on the video. By clicking on it, the video opened the camera where users could try on different colors of sunglasses. Users could also save the video or photo and add it to their Stories. Besides, there was a CTA “Shop Now” which directed to the brand’s website.

The success was unquestionable – 14% increase in purchases, 20.4-point lift in ad recall, 5-point lift in favorability, 3.9-point lift in purchase intent.

Michael Kors - Implementing Innovative Methods

Michael Kors - Implementing Innovative Methods

Dollar Shave Club is famous for its humorous ad campaigns, but this one is pretty straightforward. The goal of the campaign was to grow subscriptions to its online membership and reach new audiences. They chose to create a full-screen Canvas and an ad in collection format. By clicking on the ad, the users were directed to Canva’s interactive full-screen experience. This allowed the brand to interact with the customers and get new subscriptions.

The ad had high-quality visuals and a clear, interesting message. “Here’s why so many people are ditching Gillette and joining the Club”. This was the whole message. It drives curiosity and plays on competitor’s name, but remains simple and interactive. The campaign resulted in a 1.5x increase in subscriptions and a 30% decrease in cost per subscription compared to traditional link ads. The ad reached 1.6 million people.

Project Repat - No Need for a Massive Budget

While most of the ad examples here were created by bigger brands with massive budgets, this one proves that there is no need to have a big budget to create a successful ad campaign. Project Repat is a brand that creates memorable quilts made from old T-shirts and backed with high-quality PolarTec fleece. The aim of the brand was to reach new people who hadn’t heard about the brand and would want to order personalized unique quilts during holidays.

They found their target by using Lookalike and Custom Audiences and then created a series of carousel, slideshow and video ads. At first, the ad delivery wasn’t great, but the team found out that the issue was in the long text and they solved it. Through testing, they found that the carousel format worked best for them. And finally, they retargeted the ad to Custom Audiences. The campaign result was a 3.2x increase in quilt sales and a 65% increase in revenue compared to the last year.

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Digital Growth Formula Team

Digital Growth Formula Team

At DGF we know the power of digital marketing, and we can prove that you can scale your business with us. Our team has a deep understanding of the industry, and we want to share our experience and expertise with you.

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PPC

The Most Successful PPC Campaigns of All Time

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