Snickers AdWords Campaign Targets Searchers So Hungry They Can’t Spell

Targeting misspelled keywords has long been a strategy in search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising in order to capture traffic that while it might not have as many impressions, it can be often cheaper than the correctly spelled term or easier to rank for the term. However, Snickers has taken this strategy to a whole new level, not only targeting misspelled keywords, but also using their ad copy to play on the fact that the person misspelled what they were searching for.

Part of the Snickers “You are Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, AMV BBDO ad agency in London worked with Google to obtain a list of the top 500 search terms. Then, using an algorithm, they spun through common misspellings of those words until they had generated a list of 25,381 different misspellings.

How successful was it? In just over two days, Snickers managed to get 558,589 ad impressions on those misspellings. The campaign ran successfully in the UK for three days and they feel there is great potential to expand this type of campaign on a larger scale.

As for the CTR? Surprisingly, it was an impressive 1.05 percent, bringing in 5,874 visitors to their specially branded website.

While CTR is often indicative about how well an AdWords campaign performs, it is worth noting that this campaign was designed for ad impression and getting the brand out there in a unique way, rather than an end goal of people actually clicking the ad.

“The overall CTR was 1.05 percent, which is significantly above what I would have expected for a campaign such as this,” reported Lucy Mitchell of Mediacom. “I would have anticipated a CTR of less than 0.1 percent. This shows that users that did misspell certain words were likely to interact with the Snickers ad/brand.”


Jessica Langdell from AMV BBDO reveals the list of incorrect spellings that brought a surprising amount of traffic for this Snickers campaign.


It’s an interesting spin on targeting misspellings via AdWords because they aren’t simply targeting misspellings because the correct spelling is their target market. Instead, they are playing upon the fact that the user did misspell something with the suggestion that a Snickers would help.

Clearly, the ad agency had to work with Google to get this campaign approved, as Google AdWords takes into account misspellings when showing ads, and it is actually against the AdWords terms to deliberately misspell words in an AdWords ad.

In fact, a year ago, Google began to show AdWords ads for the correctly spelled keywords when users searched for a specific search term Google believed was simply a misspelling. However, the majority of the misspellings from AMV BBDO and the ones shown in the video did not tend to be highly competitive keywords where that would become an issue, for budgets or brand terms.

AMV BBDO created a video detailing how this campaign worked and why they decided to target those misspelling search terms.

Snickers Google from Doc News on Vimeo.

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