Apple Having a Little Fun

When you take a look at online display ads today, it is usually automotive or entertainment companies that have splashy eye-catching ads.  But leave it to Apple to pave the way for more exciting ads that standout in the Tech category.  Apple has made headlines before with creative video ads aimed at attacking its rival Microsoft on the front pages of top news sites like Wall Street Journal and New York Times.  These ads first appeared almost two years ago and have since ran several more times.

Most recently, we saw another creative implementation from Apple on the homepages of Wired and CNET last week where Apple advertised its iPod touch.  The large size of the ad unit itself was the first stop to getting consumers’ attention.  Then the animation tilted and shuffled content in the primary navigation bar at the top of the page, even turning the CNET logo upside down.  The page then turned into something akin to a video game which conveyed the message of "Next level fun".



So what does an ad like this actually do for a well recognized brand and product like the iPod touch?  We took a look at exposed consumers on CNET and measured their rate of visitation to anytime after exposure.  Then, we compared the exposed consumers to a control group of consumers with a similar online footprint who did not see the ad.  Of the group of consumers who saw the ad, 13% visited the Apple website in the same day and 30% visited the site through the week after the campaign.  These viewthrough rates are much higher than campaigns that have been measured across many categories where we typically see viewthrough rates in the single digits or even less than one percent.  Not only did Apple achieve strong double-digit viewthrough rates, but the accompanied lift numbers are also very strong with 86% lift in visitation for the same day and 46% lift through one week after the campaign.

Viewthroughs to - Exposed vs. Control of

Based on the impression data, we also know that nearly half of the exposed visitors on CNET saw only one impression of this ad, which reflects the power of the creative from just a single exposure  So what can other marketers learn from Apple?  Here are a few takeaways:

  • Marketing creativity will be rewarded with greater consumer engagement
  • Even well known brands can impact a large shift in consumer behavior with the right placement and message
  • Think beyond the box (I want to know how Apple keeps negotiating such unique executions!)