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Merlin Entertainment ‘The Dungeons’ PPC campaign

Merlin Entertainment ‘The Dungeons’ PPC campaign


Merlin Entertainments Group is the World’s second largest visitor attraction operator with leading brands including The Dungeons, which has venues in UK cities (London, Edinburgh and York) as well as The Dungeons in Hamburg and Amsterdam.

The Dungeons were running a successful PPC campaign in terms of CPA and ROI however they had reached a limit on the quantity of sales they could generate through PPC. The existing PPC campaign focussed only on brand keywords.

This limited The Dungeons audience to users who already knew about them and were already in the ‘buying phase’ of the purchase cycle.


In 2009 Merlin Entertainment appointed search marketing agency Tug with the following objectives:
-    Increase the volume of PPC sales,
-    Increase traffic to their five websites
-    Increase overall PPC revenue.


Extensive keyword mining was undertaken by Tug to increase The Dungeons keyword list from 500 keywords to 45,000 keywords.  

The new set of keywords was extended to include keywords that targeted users at all stages of the purchase cycle from those at the research stage (e.g. “fun London days out”) to those at the buying stage (e.g. “buy London Dungeons tickets”)

A complex account structure was created to ensure the best possible quality score, the best use of budgets, as well as ensuring every PPC Ad served was 100% relevant to the search term used.

Tug ran regular Ad testing to ensure the highest possible click through rate (CTR).   The team worked with The Dungeons web design agency to create new keyword rich landing pages to increase the keywords quality score and conversion rates.

New Google Content Network (GCN) campaigns were set up to run in months when traffic levels were low. This was to increase brand awareness, and to use the GCN to go out and actively find potential customers on the web when demand was low


The campaign achieved the following results in a six month period:
-    40% increase in overall PPC traffic to all the ‘The Dungeons’ different websites  
-    65% increase in PPC Sales
-    61% increase in PPC Revenue

Despite these huge percentage increase in traffic, sales and revenue, the average Cost per Click (CPC) only increased by 3p

-    ROAS of 1,280%

Caroline Hepworth of Merlin Entertainments Group said, “Results from this campaign have far exceeded expectations. Expanding keywords across the purchasing cycle combined with relevant, targeted advertising has been highly effective. The 65% increase in PPC sales is a tremendous achievement.”

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