Kesha – Creating an Overnight Sensation

Background:

Before “Tik Tok” made her a household name, people knew Ke$ha’s voice, thanks to her uncredited vocal performance on the chorus of Flo Rida’s hit single “Right Round.” In preparation for the release of her debut album, Animal, Gupta Media and RCA developed an early search campaign that leveraged Flo Rida and “Right Round’s” popularity to give the unknown artist real name recognition. Gupta Media’s multi-phased strategy branded Ke$ha, built interest, gained new fans and turned these fans into consumers. And, due in part to Gupta Media’s efforts, Ke$ha’s debut single saw the biggest single-week sum for a female artist in history—and Animal premiered at #1 on the charts.

Approach

Gupta Media completed the campaign in four distinct phases.

Targeted Search Ads to Start a Buzz

In March 2009, before the release of her debut single or official website and with only a MySpace presence, Gupta Media began their campaign by going straight to the source: fans of “Right Round.” Using a search-only advertising campaign, Gupta Media targeted ads, incorporating Ke$ha’s unique catchphrases, to people searching for “Right Round,” “Ke$ha” and “Flo Rida.” Searches for “Right Round” on Yahoo had an extremely high click-through-rate of 4.43%, proving the audience’s interest. At a cost of $0.125 per click, the campaign garnered 1.75 million search impressions and drove 15,964 unique visitors to Ke$ha’s multimedia MySpace page.

Free Downloads Increase Interest and Provide Measurable Data

Beginning in August 2009, Gupta Media drove traffic to Ke$ha’s official website by launching a series of text, banner, and Facebook ads. Gupta also increased site visits with ads offering a free music download, available exclusively to visitors in exchange for signing up for Ke$ha’s email list. This strategy captured interest in Ke$ha’s single and guided the evaluation and consideration phases of the campaign, generating 46.8 million impressions and 48,200 site visitors. In November, two months before Ke$ha’s album was released, Gupta Media employed Facebook engagement ads to increase her Facebook fan base by over 5,000 members.

Ads Spur Animal Pre-orders

In December 2009, as Ke$ha’s media popularity grew, Gupta Media turned its attention toward iTunes ads to push pre-order sales of both Animal and the smash lead single “Tik Tok.” By strategically leveraging press coverage, along with Ke$ha’s radio and video success in new ad copy, Gupta succeeded in generating over 22.8 million impressions and almost 49,000 unique visitors to the album’s iTunes pre-order page.

Targeted Messaging Drives Sales

After Animal’s release, Gupta Media supported online sales with iTunes, Amazon, and Best Buy across each campaign platform and used specific targeting and messaging techniques—including high-visibility Facebook homepage ad placements, pre-roll ads, and price-specific ad copy emphasizing Ke$ha’s number-one status on iTunes—in order to qualify clicks and push album sales.

Results

The results? They speak for themselves. “Tik Tok” sold 610,000 digital copies in its debut week alone and Animal topped the Billboard 200 with sales of more than 152,000 copies in its first week, 76 percent of them digital—the largest weekly digital percentage share for a #1 album at the time. But, that was just the start. Ke$ha has gone on to join the ranks of today’s pop icons, with numerous follow-up hits—including “Blah Blah Blah” and “Your Love is My Drug”—and has enjoyed consistently strong record sales, proving that—for this “overnight” sensation—her time in the spotlight has just begun.

Joe Schlesinger
Written By: Joe Schlesinger
Account Director
jschlesinger@guptamedia.com