I am happy to admit that I am not the world’s greatest speller. In fact, given how much of my job revolves around writing it is frankly embarrassing how poor my spelling is. Fortunately, most of the time I have spell check to correct my errors or in the case of searches Google generally knows what I am getting at even if I am missing essential letters. And I am certainly not the only one who seems to have this problem. A quick look at the Experian Hitwise data will show you a plethora of misspellings which come up with startling regularity. Take a look at the top 10 most clicked on search terms driving traffic to Amazon in the last four weeks and two of them are misspellings: ‘amzon’ and ‘amozon’. What’s worse is that our spelling seems to be getting sloppier. A part of this may be down to the growth of mobile search. Although Hitwise data doesn’t currently capture searches made on the move from 3G and 4G data it does capture searches made on mobile devices on home Wi-Fi and the growth of smartphones and tablets, with their smaller screens may account for the increased number of errors in our spellings. Alternatively it might just be that we are getting lazier as searchers, safe in the knowledge that the search engines already know what we intend to search for and therefore our need for precision is diminishing. The reason why misspellings are increasing doesn’t really matter – what is important is that there is an increasing volume of searches being made for misspelt words which creates an opportunity for brands to capitalise on for PPC.
The Snickers Misspelling campaign
One brand that has used misspellings to its advantage is Snickers through AMV BBDO & Mediacom. The idea was to bid on commonly misspelt words with an advert that read “Grab yourself a Snikkers” as “Yu cant spel properlie wen hungrie”. The video below explains the campaign nicely: What’s great about this campaign is that with a little imagination any brand could have turned misspellings to their advantage. Although it’s a tenuous link, home and garden retailer B&Q might have run the ad “Yu cant spel properlie wen yur mind is on DYI”. Moreover, as the PPC budget was being used on misspellings which by their nature are not nearly as competitive as the actual brand terms or popular keywords Snickers was receiving cheap clicks in volume. Without seeding the campaign reached over 500,000 people in just three days – to my mind that’s a pretty creative and effective use of search. Until next month.