Homepage for the Holidays

Impulse buying is one of the core traits at the heart of the American psyche, along with poor foresight and gullibility; that’s how I ended up with my pom-pom roller skates and five piece Barbara Streisand commemorative plate collection. Yet with the advent of another holiday season, consumers and CMOs alike rev their e-commerce engines. The holiday shopping season brings with it an onslaught of electronics deals, thrust upon shoppers like fresh fish at the Agrabah Market. Thankfully, there are a few tried and true tactics that marketers can utilize to break through the madness and grab consumer attention. In preparation for the race to the bottom line, one first-mover has done its due diligence to capture as much attention as possible for a revolutionary oxymoron: ePrinting.

Hewlett Packard (HP), a long-time proponent in the computer and printer industry, first introduced ePrinting back in 2010, with few followers. For those times when you want to have a proposal, report, or pictures ready or remotely-printed, the ePrinter seems to have this convenience down pat. HP boasts being able to “print from virtually anywhere.” In addition, HP.com welcomes about 450,000 unique visitors on a daily basis across all subdomains.

In preparation for the 2011 holiday season, HP took an awareness approach: the reliable HPTO or homepage takeover. They bought up real estate on not one, not two, but three major portals (MSN.com, Yahoo.com, and AOL.com) on Friday, October 14th with 100% share of voice. With about 30 million unique visitors daily amongst the three of them (not de-duped for overlap), this is a smart way to get a lot of people’s attention really quickly.

The ad was an animated one that demonstrated the consumer need and solution, while highlighting the product capabilities. It also featured five e-tailer store logos at the bottom of the end frame, all of which deep-link to the ePrinter pages within each respective site. The HP logo is clear and distinct; and the call-to-action was a vague, yet succinct “Learn More” that drove to the ePrint section of the HP website. How did this ad move the numbers? Let’s take a peek.

If we look at Compete.com daily data with regards to reach, we indeed see a spike on the 14th, corresponding with the campaign.

Using Compete’s Ad Impact tool to measure the effectiveness of this placement, we found that on the day of the HPTO, HP.com recognized a 170% lift in viewthrough from consumers who were exposed to the homepage placements.

Another activity greatly impacted by exposure to the takeovers was visitation to lower-funnel ePrinting content on the HP site, with a lift of about 1,000%. This ePrinting content was the landing page for the ad, as well as the hub of all things ePrint related on HP.com. You can explore business solutions, personal solutions, explore the product features, as well as beginning purchase on shopping.hp.com. Amongst those exposed to the ad, more than 1/3 of consumers who visited hp.com also visited the ePrint section of the site.  The ad clearly resonated with consumers, establishing top-of-mind awareness and interest with the product.

Consumers also visited the online retail sites that were featured in the ad to find out more information. As a result, significant lifts to HP printer product page content on retailer sites were obtained, with visitation having increased 186%.

In light of the down economy, record-breaking sales have been ushering in the 2011 holiday shopping season. As consumers are more willing to actively seek out the bargains being offered online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is imperative that manufacturers capture consumer mind share by casting as wide of a net as possible through homepage awareness placements. On Cyber Monday, HP shared a Yahoo! (largest portal homepage by unique visitor volume) homepage roadblock with AT&T, again highlighting the ePrinter. Simultaneously, Amazon had the All-in-One ePrinter featured as a lightning deal for Cyber Monday. As these are presumably just a few placements of many, it will be interesting to see how this follow-through drives consumers to conversion over the next few weeks. The holiday season is as good a time as any (if not the best) to motivate consumer interest. We shall see how HP’s Q4 marketing efforts translate into sales for their ePrint technology.

About Nick Gaudio:
Nick is an Associate on the Online Media & Search team, specializing in digital media strategy and optimization.