Blog Post

HubShout discovers Viral PPC Campaigns


Positive Psychology Tools

I just got off a monthly conference call with the folks at Happier.com. We handle their ppc management. Happier.com is a start-up that has built tools to apply the principals of positive psychology. They are affiliated with the thought leaders in this area of psychology and have built some nice applications. On top of that all, they are fun to work with.

Early in their campaign (actually in the proposal) we realized that there were not millions of people searching for "positive psychology tools" and the terms for "self-help" were really expensive and crowded. Ellen and I brainstormed on ways to use the Google content network to get their message in front of people who might be interested in their service. Yes, this is the same content network that most people are told to turn off and avoid like the plague. We thought that we could tap into tangentially related content and use the content network more like brand advertising to build awareness (in a direct response sort of way).

Well, we were partly right. We were able to get our ads next to self-help content on the web and those ads had more sign-up volume at a lower cost per conversion than the traditional search network. What we weren't ready for was the volume that came from Gmail. By tapping into the conversations that were going on in Gmail, we made lemonade out of lemons. We learned two things from running this campaign:

  • Make your content network ads disruptive. We added a bit more shock value to our content network ads since the click intent is much lower when reading an article or email. We've pasted a few examples of our ad copy below.
  • Get in the minds of your audience and think about the conversations that you would like to be a part of. By thinking about the topics where someone might need Happier.com's tools, we were able to get more impressions than if we used a narrow keyword set.
Example of Content Ad

The example above shows two different ad copy versions of our don't be negative ad. These ads have been doing well and converting at the client's targeted cost per sign-up.

Here is where things get interesting. In February, Happier.com started picking up tweets and getting emails with people asking about the Google advertising. People would tweet their friends about the ad which would drive traffic to the Happier.com site. See a few examples below.

happier.com gmail - Twitter Search

Happier.com would monitor Twitter for content about their service and then follow the people that had tweets like the ones above. They are handling there own social media but from our conversation today the response has been very positive.

I know my agency friends are going to say I'm wrong, but it is really hard to plan for this type of response. We did intentionally make our ads a little edgy and intentionally targeted people's conversations but we never intended to get this secondary benefit from the campaign. This is why I love the Internet :)