How And Why Did An "Ohio Candle" Go Viral?

Meet Homesick Candles, our client whose scented candles are meant to take you back to a familiar place or cherished memory. They have scents inspired by all 50 states as well as a growing collection of cities, countries, and memories like “New Home”. 

In the search results for terms like “state candle” Homesick absolutely dominates. A pioneer of this growing trend, they rank high organically and utilize paid search to fill in any gaps in the SERP. If you’re searching for state scented candles on Google, you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a Homesick candle. 

Which is why when this tweet about a lesser-known competitor went viral, Homesick’s paid search skyrocketed: 

Ohio Candle

Searches for the term “Ohio candle” exploded. Google Search Trends ranks search saturation on a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being peak interest for a given term. At 10:00 p.m. on the night of June 4th, “Ohio candle” had reached maximum exposure. 

Which is why, when I checked in with the Homesick candle account at 8:00 a.m. the next morning, we had spent over TRIPLE our normal daily spend. 

Google Search Trends Ohio Candle Viral


Quick Google Ads lesson for everyone out there: even though you set daily campaign budgets Google will spend up to 2x your daily budget in times of high opportunity as long as your monthly spend totals daily budget multiplied by the number of days in the month. 

In other words, during high search volume moments, daily budgets mean next to nothing. It’s the wild west out there people.

Not only were searches for “Ohio Candle” at an all-time high in the account, but we were also seeing higher than normal volume for other states as Twitter users took to Google to see if this company had dissed their home state too. "New Jersey candles" saw a 2000% increase in impressions in our non-branded shopping campaign and "Michigan candles" were up 1000%. 

Once I identified where the traffic was coming from after examining the search terms (and a few quick Google searches myself), it was time to get to work. I added the other candle company’s name as a campaign level negative for all campaigns to limit additional spend on any looky-loos. I also lowered daily budget to curb overspending. 

When the floodgates were closed, we pivoted and started ideating on how to maximize the moment. We notified the client of the viral tweet so they could acknowledge it on their organic social accounts. We also took our learnings from paid search to build a marketing strategy on Facebook.

We created Ohio-specific creative for Facebook and display re-marketing on Google to try and recapture the huge volume of people who had visited Homesick’s site:

Homesick Candles Ohio Candle ViralHomesick Candles Ohio Candle


After all that, how did our paid search perform? Our ROAS in non-branded shopping increased by 34%. For all other non-branded campaigns, ROAS increased at least 20%. 

Beyond performance, we were able to utilize paid search to gain insight on a viral moment and update the client on an event in their industry. With Google ads, you have full transparency on what searches your ads are appearing in, which allowed us to quickly identify and react to a trend. 

I’ve always wanted to go viral on Twitter, and even if I don’t know if that will ever happen, going viral on paid search feels just as good.

If you want to go viral with your brand, contact us at CTC to take your paid search to the next level. 


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