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Intel’s Successful Brand Building Strategy Using Adwords

Intel’s Successful Brand Building Strategy Using Adwords

Intel is the world’s largest and highest valued chip makers, based on revenues. One look at their clients and you will realise that they sell to the who’s who of the computer system manufacturing world, like Dell, Apple or Samsung. Intel is the definitive leader in the computer chips market. Which is why one would think, they have little incentive to invest in PPC advertising as a traditional medium for conversion. But for Intel, search engine marketing has been a core component of their integrated marketing strategy. They rely on search engine marketing, specifically through Adwords, to help build their brand online and reach their audiences. The sale is just a byproduct.


The goal for intel in using PPC is to reach out to its audience by creating impact and driving brand engagement – all in an effort to build its customer database. Intel has previously used traditional media campaigns like “Intel inside” to build its brand. But for over a decade they have been using paid search campaigns for their brand building efforts.

Now, branding via Adwords, need not be successful in each case, but Intel has done a few things right to deliver the right results they were looking for. Their approach was simple and to them, search engine marketing played three crucial roles:

  1. Understanding the audience
  2. Reaching the audience
  3. Engaging the audience

Understanding the audience

Intel uses search as a medium to understand its consumer and online consumer behaviour. For example, Intel was trying to push the word “Notebook” instead of “Laptops” in their search ads for their Centrino technology. But after looking at the search insights, they realised that a majority of consumers still preferred to call them laptops instead of notebooks. Thus, Intel changed their future communications to include the word “Laptop” and also focused on such keywords. Intel always looks at their search related insights to get an idea of what the consumer is looking for and how he is responding or behaving to certain stimuli. In fact, Intel has used search insights to help develop new branding messages or TV advertisements. Intel also uses search as a way to experiment with their messaging.

Reaching the audience

As Mr Corey Carrillo, Intel’s global search and online marketing manager put it, “The people we’re reaching with paid search are part of an active audience. These folks have a specific question in mind and they turn to search to get answers. Intel hopes that those answers start with one of our ads.” Intel advertises against a wide range of relevant keywords to capture the needs of its diverse audience. Intel uses branded keywords, category keywords and affinity keywords to reach their varied audience.

Branded keywords like “Intel Ultrabook”, “i7 process” or “intel xenon” take up the role of being consumer friendly and show ads that take one to a landing page which would be relevant to such an audience.

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(image source: google and

Ads for keywords like “tablets” or “2 in 1s” are targeted towards an audience who are looking for a specific category of products. A click on such an ad would take the audience to a landing page which would provide more product info and useful specifications.

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(image source: google and

Intel also has a large knowledge base and solutions aimed at their B2B customers. Thus Intel bids on keywords like “what is big data analytics” or “Cloud computing virtualization” which leads to pages on its website with relevant data.

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(image source: google and

Engaging the audience

Intel uses a sitselinks or ad extensions in their ad copies to deliver brand messages to the consumers.  These extensions help the consumer find exactly what he is looking for through the ad extensions. For example, when someone is looking for big data case studies then the ad delivered by Intel will have sitselinks that will take the customer exactly to that page. This saves the consumer a lot of time and also enhances his experience. Also, such extensions showcase Intel’s expertise and help build up its brand image.

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(image source: google)

Measuring the results

Typically, you would measure metrics such as CPA or ROI for a  search engine marketing campaign. But with Intel, that cannot be the case since its objectives are very different. They do not sell their products on their website. What they are interested in is creating an impact on their consumers and driving engagement of their B2B content. Keeping this in mind, Intel studies post-click behaviours of the consumer and how they move through the site. A consumer would be interested in knowing about Intel’s capabilities and knowing where he could buy a laptop or desktop powered by Intel. Thus, Intel would look for the consumers engagement on a particular page and whether this person reaches the where to buy page on their website. On the B2B side, Intel looks up the engagement rate for the content and what the consumer is doing post clicking through to their B2B focused pages. For example, is he signing up with Intel to receive more insight about the topic or not and whether he is becoming a participant of its IT centre community?

Intel has been using search for sending out its brand messages for over a decade. Over the years, they have experimented tremendously to arrive at the right strategy for them to achieve their goals. Intel has been using Adwords and Analytics to gain valuable insight into their markets to help build up their brand better. As Mr Carrillo puts it “For us, now, paid search engine marketing is not an add-on or adjunct. It’s a core component for integrated marketing. We basically do not launch a product, an initiative or any new web content without some sort of search component and that’s more often than not paid search.”

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