Cost Savings Message Proves Effective for Retailers

A few weeks ago we wrote a blog about a case study on the effectiveness of two ads Kohl’s ran on the homepage of MSN and the homepage of AOL. Recall that the difference between the two ads Kohl’s ran was that the one on AOL was not the standard 300×250 but a larger IAB ad unit size of 300×600. The larger ad did in fact drive nearly 30% more visits to on the same day than the 300×250 on MSN. But how does the Kohl’s ad on AOL compare to other retail campaigns?

In the month of May, Walmart ran a few full day homepage ads on We compared the results for Walmart’s campaigns on AOL with Kohl’s. AOL homepage visitors were over 2x more likely to also visit on the days Walmart ran their ads compared to visitors to on the day that Kohl’s ran its large ad on AOL. The visitation overlap is higher for Walmart because it is a much bigger company getting nearly 6x more monthly visitors to its site compared to Kohl’s (29MM vs. 5MM in April). However, compared to the average visitation to these retail sites by AOL homepage visitors on non-campaign days, Kohl’s saw a greater increase in traffic to its site on the day it ran the homepage ad compared to the increase in traffic Walmart saw on its campaign days.

Site visitation and shopping cart activity on increased by 100% as a result of the homepage ad on AOL. In comparison, Walmart saw a lift of 25% for visitors to but shopping cart activity saw less impact when it ran homepage ads on AOL. The better results Kohl’s saw is probably due to a combination of both the larger ad size as well as its compelling offer for free shipping and measurable cost savings compared to Walmart’s call to action for "˜click to see more patio collection.’ The lesson learned is that in this economy, retailers who address cost savings will see the gain.

To learn more about Compete ad effectiveness solutions and to download the original ad effectiveness study for Kohl’s, visit