PZ Cussons

Driving awareness of the importance of hand hygiene to African markets and educating consumers in light of Global Handwashing Day.

Carex is the UK's number one hand wash brand, owned by PZ Cussons. Carex cares for millions of hands every day, with a product range catering for all kinds of situations, needs and skin types.

Global Handwashing Day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand-washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent disease and save lives.

Initial Brief

Ahead of Global Handwashing Day, Carex wanted to create tactical and informative PPC ads to drive awareness of personal hygiene and its importance in disease prevention. This campaign would be aimed at consumers in the African markets, following a successful 2014 Ebola campaign, which similarly aimed to educate.

Carex highlighted three specific objectives to the Fast Web Media Search team:

  1. The campaign had to drive awareness of Global Handwashing Day by directing interested users to relevant pages on the respective country websites.
  2. Educate consumers in African markets about the importance of hand hygiene through disease prevention campaigns.
  3. Drive awareness of the global day to not only those in Africa, but also educational institutions who would be able to download relevant material in order to educate others.

Process and Implementation

To ensure the campaign ran seamlessly, the Fast Web Media Search team focussed on the set-up in three stages:

  1. Strategy
  2. Optimisation
  3. Keyword research.

Carex wanted to drive traffic specifically in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya to the various disease prevention articles. As well as honing in on three locations, the campaigns would be focussed around the following nine topics: cholera, diarrhoea, ebola virus, education, hand hygiene, MRSA, respiratory infections, symptoms & preventions and typhoid. A total of nine campaigns were created per country, focussing on each of these main topics. Each campaign featured two desktop advertisements and one mobile-focussed advert, to help ensure that both devices were captured and open up the potential to appear to a wider audience of mobile users.

Each ad copy contained proven high traffic driving keywords in order to provide relevancy to the user, along with aiming to increase the CTR of the campaign, which is a key metric in improving the Quality Score.

In total, 27 campaigns ran, including 9 which targeted each individual country specifically. These campaigns were centred around content, so the Fast Web Media Search team had to ensure that the keywords in each campaign were sought out, relevant and engaging for the specific topic. The keywords were selected based on two factors: relevance and search volume within the respective countries. This meant that the Search team had to conduct thorough research into the copy.

Extensive keyword research was undertaken prior to creating the PPC ads, to ensure that only the most relevant words were selected to trigger the ads. In addition, the highest performing words that related to the subject in question were used in the ad copy itself, to ensure that ad visibility was maximised.

It was also imperative that the keyword list and ad copy aligned with the content used in the article, as this would be responsible for determining the quality score for each keyword. The Quality Score is Google's rating on the quality and relevance of the landing page the user is being driven to, the ad copy being served to the user, and the relevance of each keyword to its ad group. Higher quality scores typically lead to lower costs and higher ad ranking positions in the search engine results. Any keywords that were not performing were paused, to ensure the budget was being spent most effectively and efficiently.


An important development that the Search team needed to seriously account for was the addition of Google Answer boxes. These are designed to present the user with an instant answer to a query they have, and as a result, eliminate the need for the user to click on a website listing or PPC ad.

The click through rate (CTR) is an important factor in determining Quality Score, therefore with the introduction of the Google Answer Box, there is greater potential for the CTR to be lower than expected, and in turn affect the cost and ranking position of the ad being served.

The below example demonstrates one of the challenges the PPC campaign faced for the higher, more common search terms:

In order to remain prominent against Google Answer boxes, the Fast Web Media search team needed to ensure that the ad copy was appealing and authentic, serving up an alternative option to the query.


The team knew that the overall success of the campaign would be influenced by a number of external factors; such as how present a certain disease was in one of the targeted countries. The impact of various diseases in each country fluctuated in certain circumstances, particularly due to outbreaks or other media coverage that may have influenced search activity and behaviour.

Further research into disease outbreaks for each country provided insights into justifying the performance of some campaigns. For example, the 2015 Ebola crisis which was reported to have ‘come to an end’ during the campaign provided an explanation for why the Ghana campaign did not drive as much traffic as in Nigeria and Kenya.

In the sample batch of results below, Nigeria campaigns contributed to 4 of the top 5 performing campaigns, largely down to the difference in the seriousness and popularity of certain diseases in each respective country. The ‘Education’ campaigns represent the Global Handwashing Day specific messaging aimed at educational institutions.

As expected, results from the campaigns showed a steady increase in traffic leading up to Global Handwashing Day, which ultimately acted as the main traffic driver. Traffic peaked on Global Handwashing Day, completing the goal of driving attention and awareness on this particular global day.

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