SEO Secret from Snickers: Try Misspelled Keywords

Snikkers

“You’re not you when you’re hungry!”

This catchy tagline sums up the concept behind Snickers’ recent ad campaign – suggesting a Snickers bar as the remedy to your hunger, of course. You’re probably familiar with the TV ads; one featured Robin Williams as a football coach gone mad, and one featured Betty White (and aired during the Super Bowl).

What you may have missed was the PPC ad campaign that ran around the same time but put a slightly different spin on Snickers’ message. How? By targeting misspelled words and insinuating that searchers had a harder time spelling words correctly when they were hungry (for a Snickers, presumably).

Here’s how it worked: an ad agency helped Snickers to come up with a list of 500 of the most used keywords and then developed a second list with the most common misspellings of those words. That list included options such as:

  • Moonsoon
  • Amazin
  • Definately
  • Wierd
  • Ness

Snickers started targeting these keywords with ads containing clever digs at the searcher, such as, “Yu cant spel properlie wen hungrie.” The campaign was an overnight success with over 558K impressions in just 2 days. Unsurprisingly, the CTR was much higher than expected at 1.05%.

Breaking All The Rules

So why did it work so well? Snickers broke all the rules by using misspelled words that actually had nothing to do with their brand. Even though they were targeting these keywords just because they were misspelled, they found a niche without much competition, so it was much cheaper and easier to rank. The key to this campaign was the comedic effect – Snickers struck the right note of laughing with the searcher in a congenial way without being snarky.

Of course, deliberately misspelled keywords are technically against the rules of Adwords, so Snickers clearly worked closely with Google to get this unusual campaign up and running. Even if you don’t have the budget or influence to get special permission from Google to use misspelled words in your campaign, there’s plenty to learn from Snickers!

Think Outside the Box

As you develop your PPC campaign, you may find that many of your keywords have lots of competition and are therefore way too expensive for you. Don’t despair! A good SEO strategy has to be malleable and adaptable to keep up with the industry.

One thing to consider is synonyms. Google seems to identify some synonyms, so replacing one of your words with a synonym might get you a keyword with less competition. The key is to keep looking for ways to target your potential customers in new and creative ways. Like Snickers, you just have to find a niche with low levels of competition!

What are your best tips for coming up with cheaper keywords?

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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