As the saying goes, “today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper” and this is even more relevant in today’s social and political landscape. This means that reactive and proactive marketing should be an important strategy when it comes to promoting your brand and getting yourself noticed. Here, we outline the key successes of several reactive and proactive PPC campaigns that I have recently managed and explain why you should also be making room for these types of campaigns.
Having a finger on the pulse
Reacting quickly to current trends and news stories will help you stand out from the competition and give you an edge over your rivals. Using creative is brilliant, but what if your strategy could be as quick and easy as PPC? Yes, it may not have the same visual impact as display or social advertising, but the audience intent will already be there and subsequently it is very likely that there will be more engagement.
This year, we have run several reactive PPC campaigns for Age UK which have been extremely successful and exceeded all forecasts. During the snap election, the term “Dementia Tax” was a talking point amongst not just the old, but the young and the in between. Search volume for dementia spiked significantly from the 18th of May when the Conservatives released their latest manifesto, outlining their key policies and the aforementioned “Dementia Tax”. Sessions to the Charity’s Information and Advice pages also increased, mostly to the pension credit and social care pages and with both the Conservative and Labour Parties investing in PPC, we felt that it would be an opportune time to also bid on Dementia and Social Care keywords.
[Source: Google Trends]
Working in a reactive way meant that we could capitalise on the search volumes during the 10-day run. We generated 232% more clicks than we had anticipated, from a 57.6% lower CPC. While we were already experiencing an increase in organic traffic, the additional budget secured our presence further and without it traffic would have only been a fraction of what we achieved.
Our KPI was to drive additional clicks to site, but we also received added value in the form of PDF downloads and directly attributable donations. This was great to see as while our KPI was driving people to the content, many people went on to further engage with the content and the charity.
High on our success from dementia, we didn’t stop there – when the news broke that the UK pension age would be rising from 67 to 68 in 2044 we saw another opportunity to capitalise on the increase in search traffic. The announcement came just after 2pm on the 19th of June and by 5pm the PPC campaign was set up and live, with Age UK in P1. Within the first 30 minutes the campaign was already spending well; proving to be extremely popular, with sessions to site increasing by almost 100%.
Being one step ahead
Although we worked reactively in the above instances, there are also times when proactive marketing can also be extremely effective. Anticipating an increase in interest will help to create a more thought out strategy. Proactive marketing works well with calendar dates such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Bank Holidays, capitalising on popular events that are likely to be trending topics. However, it’s important to continue to keep a close eye on the chosen strategy as the campaign continues.
Our research showed that, during the event’s peak, on average there are around 33,000 searches per month being conducted by people looking for Father’s Day gifts – equal to the number of searches for online inspiration for Valentine’s Day. This is only beaten annually by over 60,000 searches a month for Mother’s Day gift ideas. Over 19,000 additional searches for ‘Father’s Day presents’ and ‘Father’s Day ideas’ a month are currently taking place. To miss out on the additional search volume by not promoting your brand during these key times is a mistake that many marketers make, but one that can easily be fixed with a bit of planning.
For Mother’s Day we boosted a Facebook post for The Donkey Sanctuary which over delivered the planned adoptions by 133%. The actual CPA was also significantly smaller than anticipated, coming in 30% lower than forecasted. Activity such as this can work incredibly well, especially when you factor in tactical targeting to ensure that the correct demographic is being reached.
Having the right mixture
Consider how yearly calendar events may benefit your future campaigns and capitalise on the increase in search volume around those dates. It would also be a good idea to set aside a portion of your annual budget purely for reactive marketing. By doing this, the campaign can be quickly set up without being held up by additional budget sign off. Of course, it’s easier said than done to allocate a specific budget for these types of marketing techniques, but the proof is in the pudding and the pudding shows that it is a sweet success.